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7 steps to peak performance

Adopt rituals that integrate and optimise body and mind, says exercise physiologist, nutritionist and neuroscientist Paul Taylor.

In order be a peak performer, it is necessary to adopt rituals that integrate and optimise body and mind, says exercise physiologist, nutritionist and neuroscientist Paul Taylor, director of  The Mind-Body-Brain Performance Institute.

For those looking to excel, the former elite soldier has identified seven rituals to enhance mental vitality and what he terms “psychological capital”.

  1. Exercise. “If you do not currently engage in regular, vigorous activity two to three times a week you have a snowball’s chance in hell your brain is operating at full functionality.”
  2. Cold showers. “What’s missing today is willingness to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Thirty seconds cold water minimum at the end of a shower will help condition you to deal with stress and improves immune function.”
  3. Mental sculpting. Imagine two different characters. One is your inner gremlin – full of self-doubt and victim mentality. The other is your inner warrior or sage. “Decide to pay attention to the second.”
  4. Gratitude. Train your brain to look for the positive subconsciously.
  5. Breath work. Taylor recommends box breathing to calm the brain and make you more focussed. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4 and repeat.
  6. Digital sunset. Turn off devices at night and give your brain time to decompress and recover. You’ll also reduce blue light that interferes with your circadian rhythm.
  7. Connecting to others. Identify your “tribe” and check in with them regularly.

Credit: Helen Hawkes


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