The market upheaval of late has many advisors juggling with potential stressors, including dealing with demanding and impatient clients, worrying about this market turbulence lasting for a long time, and re-considering their core values in order to try to take advantage of the current market conditions.
Advisors who consult with me for help, complain about symptoms such as insomnia, irritability (which puts strain on their home as well as office relationships), increased alcohol intake, and an overall inability being able to relax. They find themselves dreading Sunday evenings (anticipating another Monday morning market upheaval) and longing for Fridays, as a break from the market roller coaster, the phone calls and mandatory explanations to their clients.
Here are 7 critical steps to build permanent stress resilience, despite the markets, economy, etc. These are all strongly research based neuroscience concepts (see John Arden, “Brain2Brain,” 2015). Even if you have never engaged in even one of these critical steps, we now know from the emerging science of Neuroplasticity that you can quickly re-wire your brain in very positive ways by conscientiously practicing these skills.
Step 1: Take Charge Of Your Diet
Yes, you read it correctly. Your diet has a lot to do with your resiliency to stress. The old adage of starting the day with a healthy breakfast is true. It is necessary for problem solving, working memory, attention, concentration and energy.
Skipping breakfast (a common habit of stressed advisors) contributes difficulties in all of the above, plus it leads to mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
Because so many of us tend to overeat or eat quickly satisfying food when we are stressed, it is critical to keep control of your diet by eating fewer calories, and eating smart. If this is an issue for you, consult a registered dietician.
20% of our brains is made up of essentially fatty acids. This is why the international recommendation of consuming 650 mg. essentially fatty acids daily is important, and the average American consumes only about 130 mg. daily. Omega 3 fatty acids are a really healthy option.
Good hydration is another habit that advisors frequently ignore as they are consumed with their computers and phones. Poor hydration is related to impaired mood, including depression and anxiety, and impaired cognition, including attention and forgetfulness. Consuming alcohol (at lunch, for example), contributes to dehydration.
Step 2: Take Charge Of Your Blood Sugar
Closely related to our diet is our blood sugar level. Diabetes 2 is rampant in the U.S. and probably under diagnosed in advisors because so many of you “don’t have the time” for regular physicals, including blood work.