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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”.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- Gratitude. Train your brain to look for the positive subconsciously.
- 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.
- 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.
- Connecting to others. Identify your “tribe” and check in with them regularly.
Credit: Helen Hawkes