Productivity Psychology – Part 2

How Food And Diet Affect Productivity
Diet and nutrition are large components of an individual’s lifestyle. The types of food you eat, the portion size, and what time of day you eat it all factor in – directly or indirectly – to productivity.

For example, there’s the argument for breakfast, commonly referred to as the “most important meal of the day.”

Experts say that eating breakfast provides the blood with glucose, which is needed for energy. Since people do not eat during the night, the body’s glucose levels drop during that time period and an early morning breakfast allows the body to break down food into simple sugars that are absorbed into the bloodstream where they travel to the body’s cells to produce energy.

So avoid skipping breakfast or you could be losing out on several hours of productivity until you take your first bite of food for the day.

But which foods encourage productivity? There has been much talk of brain foods – foods that have been said to improve brain function. Here are some foods that have been identified to bolster productivity:

• Berries: The antioxidants found in various berries are supposed to help counteract stress and researchers have found women who ate more blueberries and strawberries were more likely to display less rapid cognitive deterioration as they aged.
• Eggs: Eggs, the yolks specifically, are full of choline, a nutrient often classified with B-complex vitamins. Choline helps maintain the structure of brain cell membranes, which aids brain function.
• Salmon: This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory agents. These help build up the central nervous system in the brain and helps cognitive function overall.
• Dark Chocolate: Who said chocolate is bad for you? Studies have found that consuming dark chocolate can not only lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain, but it also contains caffeine which is a mild stimulant. In moderation please.

Exercise

It’s widely known that regular exercise can improve a person’s health, but it’s also known to boost productivity. “Exercising releases endorphins in the brain,” said clinical psychologist Ingeborg Hrabowy.

Endorphins are chemicals that are produced in response to certain stimuli and can originate in various parts of the body, including the pituitary gland, spinal cord and other parts of the brain and nervous system.

“Exercising four times a week for approximately 20 to 30 minutes is the equivalent of 20 milligrams of Prozac. What a boost!” Hrabowy said. “Exercising also de-stresses you, clears the mind, and gives a great break to work and play – all known to increase and boost productivity.”

Recovering from Illness and/or Injury

How productive an individual is often depends on his or her circumstance and certain factors such as illness and disability can hinder productivity.

For example, people who suffer from severe anxiety or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) would have a tendency to recheck their work, which may drag on their productivity, Hrabowy said. Their tendency to become stressed and overwhelmed can also be a barrier to productivity, even if the work is more accurate because the performance would be slower.

Psychological factors influencing productivity:

According to David M. Reiss

  1. Level of maturity and resolution of dependency issues: “Those who are more childlike, immature, or those who are openly or covertly needy and dependent are going to tend to unconsciously nurse an injury longer, and remain disabled longer than a person who has no conflicts regarding being autonomous and productive, or who highly values or even over-values independence and autonomy.”
  2. Family dynamics: Two different types of families: those that will overcompensate and overreact to a person with an injury, providing more attention and caring than would otherwise be available, thus increasing unconscious motivation to maintain the injured role; and dysfunctional families who may react in a negative or hostile way to an injured person, seeing them as useless or worthless. “While at times this will motivate the person to ‘get better’ more often, it will engender anger and a defensive rebellion which will lead to the person unconsciously wanting to prove that they are indeed injured/disabled.”
  3. Peer relationships/enjoyment of work: “People who enjoy their work and have good relationships with peers at work will obviously be better motivated to return to normal functioning; whereas those who are resentful at work, uncomfortable with peers, feeling put-upon or taken advantage of, etc. (even if not intentionally or consciously), will perceive an injury as a ‘ticket out’ and tend to ‘make the most of it.’
  4. Sincerity: “A certain percentage of overtly manipulative people or people with antisocial tendencies will see an injury as an opportunity to intentionally manipulate and misuse the disability system. As opposed to what is commonly assumed, in my experience, among people with who do not respond well to injuries, this group of outright ‘malingerers’ is far, far smaller than those who have difficulties in one of the other three areas.”

A person’s productivity level can be influenced by numerous psychological factors. With the U.S. being a society that is inherently focused on productivity, knowing ways in which to improve productivity can be beneficial in the workplace as well as to a person’s overall health and well-being.

One’s psychology does effect one’s productivity.

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© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

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