Monday, October 13, 2014

Feeding Your Performance

Your performance on the job is a factor of many variables.  Do you know what to do?  Do you know how to do it?  Do you have the necessary skills to do it?  Is training and support provided?  Are you capable of learning it?  Are you interested in learning it?  All of these elements will influence your performance and productivity.

Additionally, we know that your physical health is also associated with your performance; those in good physical health tend to out-perform those who are not.  Let's face it, to get things done you have to have the energy to do it.  But we also need to have the right mental mindset to get things done, which means that your mental health and well-being is also a key factor in determining your success, in life and at work.

New studies published from the University of Warwick Medical School demonstrate a high correlation between the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed and your level of Mental Well-Being.  Yes, it turns out that your mother was right to admonish you to eat your vegetables.  In a study with over 14,000 people they determined that those participants deemed to have a high level of mental well-being consumed more fruit and vegetables each day than did their low mental well-being counterparts.  In fact, of those classified as High on the mental well-being scale, 33.5% consumed 5+ fruit and vegetables per day and 31.4% ate 3-4 portions.  Those in the low well-being group typically consumed little to none.

It seems that, along with not smoking, eating fruit and vegetables is the behaviour most consistently associated with maintaining a high degree of mental well-being.

If you consider that previous studies have forged a firm link between low mental well being and mental illness and mental health problems, then we definitely want to ensure that we fall on the opposite end of the scale.

High mental health and well-being is associated with feelings of optimism, positivity, happiness, higher self-esteem and better relationships.  These are all typical characteristics of high-performers. Top athletes know that they need to consume the right fuel for their bodies if they want it to perform at its peak, but they also know that their success is determined as much by their 'mental game' as their physical.  However, as it turns out, eating right for their physical conditioning already helps them improve their mental game.

For those of us that aren't requiring our bodies to 'perform' for us at that level, we may not be as consciously focused on the connection between our diet and our on-the-job performance. Research such as the above makes it clear that what we fuel ourselves with each day not only has an impact on our physical capabilities but our mental capabilities as well.

Really, as it turns out it is quite a simple equation.  Do you want to be happy?  Eat your broccoli!

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