Operating at Peak Performance Levels

reduce your stress
Dr Rich Blonna - Your Guide To Less Stress and Better Sex

Written By Dr. Rich

For more than 30 years, I have devoted myself, both professionally and personally, to helping people just like you stress less, have better sex, and enjoy life more.

Learn more about Dr. Rich

I am a university professor, author, and a world-renowned expert in how the mind and body work together in creating and managing stress. I’m proud to be one of the creators of Acceptance and Commitment (AC) Coaching, an exciting form of cognitive psychology that combines mindfulness, acceptance, and commitment to help people stress less and enjoy better sex and a more fulfilling life. I’m certified in Naikan and Morita, two forms of Japanese psychology that emphasize mindfulness and acceptance training respectively. I’m also a Board Certified Coach (BCC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). My eclectic approach combines the best practices from all of these disciplines. I’ve helped thousands of people from the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Asia through my books, audios, and adult training courses. My home is in Marco Island, Florida where I live with Heidi, my wife of 48 years. I love writing, tennis, running, kayaking, swimming, biking, weight training, meditation on the beach, and anything that gets me outdoors in the sun.

July 7, 2022

I’ve been writing a lot recently

about reducing stress and how this ties into one of my strategic lines of defense against stress, Reduce. I try to be mindful of how being overbooked and over-committed plays out in my own life. Lately I’ve been feeling a little overbooked and overwhelmed by fun, stimulating activities, that I am passionate about.

As you might recall from my other posts, the goal of Reduce, one of my Five R’s of Conquering Stress, is to find your optimal level of stimulation and demand, that point where you get the most out of what you choose to do without becoming overloaded and therefore stressed. This is the point where you are operating at peak performance. Too little or too much stimulation causes boredom or overload and put you in the stress zone.



Operating at peak performance means that you are getting the most out of your life and fulfilling your potential. To find your personal level of peak performance you have to push past it and then be mindful of the effects. In other words, you have to keep taking on more stimulating activities and demands until you go past your peak performance level and notice a drop off in your efficiency.

I wish there was an easier way to do this; a chart or table you could go to and look up your gender, height and weight. You could get the exact level and say, “Ah ha, here is what I have to do to operate at peak efficiency.”

Unfortunately, no such chart exists because we all differ in terms of how much stimulation (fun activities we love to do) and demand (work and other time and energy-intensive activities) we require to operate at peak performance. On top of this, your requirements will change over time as the context of your life changes. I call this a cycle in your life.

This is what I have experienced the past year. I reached a point in my life cycle where I was finally living a truly balanced and holistic life. Each day was filled with stimulating activities and focused demands. I honestly feel that I was getting the most out of every 24 hour period of my life.

I had made a conscious decision to integrate fun activities (kayaking, running on the beach, meditating, leading a meditation group, reading, spending intimate time with my wife etc.) and demands (serving as a City Council Member, blogging and doing other marketing activities for my online business, etc.) into my new semi-retired life.

I did this willingly and intentionally, and managed to integrate stimulating activities and demands into all seven dimensions of my health (physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, environmental, and occupational).

All year long I was very mindful of the results of this plan.

For the most part I felt challenged, not stressed. There were days and weeks where I felt that I had taken on too much and needed to back off from an activity or demand.

The other thing I have noticed is that I could reduce the intensity or effort I put forth but still be engaged. For example, some mornings it was harder than others to lace up my sneakers, get out of the house at 5:50am, and bicycle down to the beach for my sunrise run. Instead of not going at all, I just cut back on the activity; ran slower or went a shorter distance, etc. I also realized that I could serve on a City Councilor without having to be involved with every committee, activity, or discussion.

The constant ebb and flow of my life and the adjustments it created was a fascinating thing to observe.

You’ve also probably seen that at different periods in your life you required different levels and types of stimulating activities and demands to operate at peak performance. In addition, these variables changed within those periods (as my sunrise runs demonstrate).

This is why mindfulness is so important in conquering stress. We need to be aware of the signals that our bodies and minds tell us about our performance.


The past few months saw that happen to me.  My body ( a little more tired and achy than in past months) and my mind (a little more frazzled than normal) had been telling me , “Rich, you need to cut back a little. You need to do a little less and rest a little more.” The cutting back involved saying no to people who had expectations of me and tried to persuade me to change my mind.

It also involved admitting to myself that I was not superman and needed to simply do less to feel better.

If you loved this post, learn more by…


Reading the Reduce Book –

Listening to the Relaxation Audio Collection

Taking the Reduce Course

Signing Up for Executive Coaching




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To get a sense of what it looks/feels like to be truly relaxed, watch your dog seek out a warm spot in the sun. She finds a quiet spot away from the main traffic of the house, circles it a few times, stretches her legs, rolls her head and neck, lies down and fully arches her back, takes a deep breath and exhales deeply, and then curls up or sprawls in the warm rays.

How do You Reduce Stress?

How do You Reduce Stress?

In my Five R’s of Coping Model I identify five different levels of defense against stress; Rethink, Relax, Release, Reduce, and Reorganize. Reduce works as a level of defense against stress by learning how to find your optimal level of stimulating activities and demands (what some people incorrectly call stress).

Change Your View of Stress and Coping

Change Your View of Stress and Coping

In a previous blog (What is Stress?) I described the three components of stress: (1) a potential stressor, (2) what your mind tells you (your self-talk) about it and your ability to cope with it and (3) a stress response that kicks in if you feel unable to cope with it.

When you start to view stress this way you begin to change. You no longer see stress as something that just happens to you, and is beyond your control. Stress becomes more than just “bills, traffic, the government,” or other things that exist independently of you.




My free report will show you how to relax your muscles, calm your runaway mind, and get more energy and time to live a life filled with passion and purpose.

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