I listened to a thought-provoking podcast recently with Drs. Andrew Huberman and Alia Crum, during which they talk about Dr. Crum’s research on how our beliefs and mindsets can affect our health.
Dr. Crum described a study she did as an undergraduate at Harvard in which a group of hotel housekeepers were surveyed about how they feel about getting enough exercise. Despite working full 8-hour days on their feet, climbing stairs, pushing carts, and cleaning rooms, most of them reported feeling that they did not get enough regular exercise. However, according to the CDC, they satisfied the recommendations for an active lifestyle. The housekeepers were then divided into two groups: one half was educated that they were, in fact, getting enough exercise, whereas the other half was not. Four weeks later, without any changes to their activity, the group that was educated showed significant improvements in their health compared to the other group (e.g. decreases in systolic blood pressure). The results suggest that having a certain mindset in combination with adequate exercise can enhance the effects of exercise on health.
This study made me think: What beliefs or mindsets might I have that may be hindering my own performance? In what aspect of my life might I already be doing enough, but, for whatever reason, I convince myself that I am not?
Allow me to extrapolate:
I tend to be ambitious and put a lot on my plate. Even if I’m doing a lot of good things, I often feel like I should be doing more, or that I could be doing better. However, this added pressure that I inflict upon myself may actually have a negative effect. If, instead, like the housekeepers, I tell myself that what I’m doing is, in fact, enough, then this new perspective alone could potentially improve my performance without even changing my behavior regarding what's on my plate.
I think that I could be kinder to myself.
I am doing enough and I’m doing a good job.