Tag Archives: #de-stressing

How to de-stress in 7 minutes the scientific way


source: https://www.verywell.com/exercise-at-work-1229761

I still remember mom’s constant refrain, “go outside and play,” but, somehow, I always went “later” — often several days later. Change ‘play’ to ‘exercise’ and I still follow that template.

We hear constantly from early childhood that exercise is a major part of staying healthy and nothing deserves more attention than our health, but this simple truth is easy to forget when work/family/social media call.

Several days ago I ran across a Forbes article about Sam Hodges’ research on “time-starved” entrepreneurs who regularly workout. However, I had to laugh at his examples.

Hodges, co-founder of Funding Circle, held up Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Cinnabon’s Kat Cole, Jack Dorsey; GoPro’s Nick Woodman, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Duh. Sure, they are incredibly busy, but not in the same way as your average startup founder/worker. The difference is resources — money and people — in other words, the greater the need the less available the solution..

Anyone who reads knows the exercise lowers stress and increases serotonin production. Just what startup people (and that includes me) need most.

So I went looking for a solution. I wanted something that took very little time, was free (or close) and that I could do anywhere with, or without, company.

And I found it at the NY Times, of all places.

It’s a 7 minute workout that is scientifically vetted.

In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.

Plus, there is an advanced version and an app to make it even easier to do it where you are.

There is one other bonus — 7 whole minutes every day without thinking about problems, FOMO or anything else that is stressing our brains.

What more can anyone ask?

Use Brain Research When Hiring

How often has this happened to you?

  • Superb interview —> mediocre to lousy performance
  • Poor interview  —> superb to excellent performance.

Did it leave you wondering what the heck happened and, more importantly, how you could avoid it happening again?

At least part of the answer is found in 2103 brain research  on kids, but since it’s genetically-based it applies throughout life.

To a great extent, interview quality comes down to the genes and brain chemistry that regulates an individual’s response to stress.

The researchers were interested in a single gene, the COMT gene. This gene carries the assembly code for an enzyme that clears dopamine from the prefrontal cortex. That part of the brain is where we plan, make decisions, anticipate future consequences and resolve conflicts. “Dopamine changes the firing rate of neurons, speeding up the brain like a turbocharger,” says Silvia Bunge, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. Our brains work best when dopamine is maintained at an optimal level. You don’t want too much, or too little. By removing dopamine, the COMT enzyme helps regulate neural activity and maintain mental function.

There are two variants of the gene. One variant builds enzymes that slowly remove dopamine. The other variant builds enzymes that rapidly clear dopamine. We all carry the genes for one or the other, or a combination of the two.

The kicker that messes up the balance is stress, resulting in what the researchers call “warriors” and “worriers.”

Many companies intentionally create high stress interviews — multiple interviewers rapidly firing questions, adversarial questions, etc.—in the belief they correctly identify those who work well under pressure. But Those situations have little to do with everyday work.

Just as Google found its  algorithm didn’t predict candidate success, it has stopped using brainteaser questions, because they don’t predict performance.

What those questions (here’s a list)  do is increase stress resulting in false positives.

While you can’t change your candidates’ brain chemistry, you can interview in ways that allow the “worriers” to perform better and gives a clearer picture of the “warriors” true skills.

In addition to intelligent, meaningful questions, you can improve results by de-stressing the interview.

For instance

  • take time to put them at ease;
  • avoid multiple-on-one interviews;
  • avoid making it feel like judgments or tests;
  • inform them about the process and make it transparent;
  • avoid surprises; and, most importantly,
  • give them time to think

Keep in mind that the goal is to hire a person, with skills that compliment the team, who can contribute significantly and will stay for the long haul.

Image: Shutterstock