Happy Soul Food Friday!
There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing– Adam Grant
The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.
At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure” again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.
It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that:
Second Guessing Yourself? You’ve Got This!
Why Leaders Need to Be Positive Thinkers- Jon G
It takes a lot of work to create a world-class organization. It’s hard to develop a successful team. It’s not easy to build a great culture. It’s challenging to work toward a vision and create a positive future. It’s difficult to change the world.
As a leader, you will face all kinds of challenges, adversity, negativity, and tests. There will be times when it seems as if everything in the world is conspiring against you. There will be moments you’ll want to give up.
There will be days when your vision seems more like a fantasy than a reality. That’s why positive leadership is so essential.
When some people hear the term positive leadership they roll their eyes because they think I’m talking about Pollyanna positivity, where life is full of unicorns and rainbows. But the truth is that we are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.
Positive leadership is not about fake positivity. It is the real stuff that makes great leaders great. Pessimists don’t change the world. Critics write words but they don’t write the future.
Naysayers talk about problems but they don’t solve them. Throughout history we see that it’s the optimists, the believers, the dreamers, the doers, and the positive leaders who change the world.
The future belongs to those who believe in it and have the belief, resilience, positivity, and optimism to overcome all the challenges in order to create it.
If you want to get control of your negative thoughts and stop the spiral into fear and pessimism, it’s simpler than you think and it’s a valuable skill for any leader to know.
1) First, be aware of your thoughts.
Observe your thoughts, keeping in mind that complaints, self-doubt, fear, and negativity lead to unhappiness, failure, and unfulfilled goals over time. When you notice these thoughts, it’s high time for an intervention.
2) Talk yourself through the fear.
Understand that fear is a liar. If you believe the fear-based thoughts you think (I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, the world is falling apart, etc.), everything around you will validate what you believe to the point where you eventually start to believe it. But know this: Just because you have a negative thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Don’t believe the lie.
3) Speak truth to the lies.
Instead of listening to the negative lies, choose to feed yourself with the positive truth.
Speak truth to the lies and fuel up with words, thoughts, phrases, and beliefs that give you the strength and power to overcome challenges and create an extraordinary life, career, and team. The truth is that no matter what is happening around you and regardless of what negative thoughts pop into your head, you possess the capability and power to take positive action.
4) Try feeling grateful instead of stressed.
Research shows we can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. If you feel blessed, you won’t be stressed.
5) Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself.
Dr. James Gills is the only person to complete six Double Ironman triathlons, and the last time he did it he was 59 years old. When asked how he did it, he said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself. If I listen to myself, I hear all the doubts, fears, and complaints of why I can’t finish the race. If I talk to myself, I can feed myself with the words I need to keep moving forward.”
6) Start a success journal.
At the end of the day, instead of thinking of all the things that went wrong, write down the best thing that happened to you that day – the one thing that made you feel great.
This is a great exercise to do with children as well. When you look for the good and focus on it, you will start seeing more of it. And you’ll teach your children to view their life this way, too.
Positive leaders invest their time and energy in driving a positive culture. They create a shared vision for the road ahead. They lead with optimism and belief and address and transform the negativity that too often sabotages teams and organizations.
Happiness: A Skill You Can Learn!
Western neuroscience has now confirmed what Eastern wisdom has known for a long time: happiness is a skill we can learn. Research shows that happiness, compassion and kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and enhanced through training, thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains.
Mindfulness changes your brain: Recent research has shown that an 8 week mindfulness meditation class can lead to structural brain changes including increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
Positive emotions make us more resilient: Our emotions affect our long term well-being. Research shows that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads to a tipping point beyond which we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things.
Happiness is contagious: Our happiness influences the people we know and the people they know. Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend’s spouse) by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%.
Happier people live longer: Happiness doesn’t just feel good. A review of hundreds of studies has found compelling evidence that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers. Anxiety, depression, pessimism and a lack of enjoyment of daily activities have all been found to be associated with higher rates of disease and shorter lifespans
Happiness is good for your heart: Harvard School of Public Health examined 200 separate research studies on psychological wellbeing and cardiovascular health. Optimism and positive emotion were found to provide protection against cardiovascular disease, to slow progression of heart disease and reduce risk, by around 50%, of experiencing a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack.
Giving is good for you: When we give to others it activates the areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for us as well as the people we help. Studies have shown that giving money away tends to make people happier than spending it on themselves.
Together we are stronger: Having a network of social connections or high levels of social support has been shown to increase our immunity to infection, lower our risk of heart disease and reduce mental decline as we get older. Not having close personal ties has been shown to pose significant risks for our health.
Optimism helps us achieve our goals: Research shows that people who are optimistic tend to be happier, healthier and cope better in tough times. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined” – Henry David ThoreauOur happiness is not set in stone: Although our genes influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (like income and environment) affect only about 10%. As much as 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. So the good news is that our actions really can make a difference.
Happiness leads to success: Most people think that if they become successful, then they’ll be happy. But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we’re positive, our brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive.
Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 7 Habits Lead to Great Outcomes
It’s not just one study. It’s study after study after study.
Practice Gratitude to Gain Resilience:
APRIL 08, 2021
THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE:
When facing as much uncertainty as we have over the last year, resilience comes to mind as an increasingly critical skill. Resilience enables us to remain optimistic amidst disruption and destabilization. But what effect does focusing on the positive have on resilience?
Expressing gratitude in a meaningful way requires thoughtful reflection. It means not only processing an event or situation and identifying those who were involved in it, but also making connections between those people, their actions, and the impact. Instead of checking a box when you complete a task then moving on, expressing gratitude encourages you to focus on outcomes collaboratively, acknowledging that we can’t do everything solo.
The expression of gratitude has some fascinating science behind it. Studies show that taking time to reflect on your work can improve your performance. And in other studies, we see a potential link between gratitude and increased happiness and good health. So it’s critical to not just pause to reflect on our work, but also to practice gratitude.
GRATITUDE AT WORK
How does this show up at work? Whether you’re working remotely, in the office, or a bit of both, the link between gratitude and resilience makes a compelling case for more gratitude at work.
PositivePsychology.com writes that emotional resilience comes from five components: social competence, problem-solving, autonomy, forgiveness, empathy, and – according to more recent studies – gratitude. HBR suggests that to build resilience, you should write down what you’re grateful for to tap into the benefits of a positive outlook and regularly expressing gratitude.
Aside from the benefits for yourself, never underestimate the power of a simple “Thank you” and the impact on the engagement and motivation of your employees.
BUILD YOUR RESILIENCE BY PRACTICING GRATITUDE
What better time to practice a way to build your resilience than right now, as we slowly yet steadily emerge from a pandemic? You have a great opportunity today to begin practicing a new habit to increase your resilience.
Here are some ideas for practicing gratitude:
- If you’re a leader of a team, dedicate time in your regular team meetings to thank a team member for their effort or work with specific examples.
- Encourage your team to express gratitude to their peers and help them build resilience by building connections and prioritizing their relationships and wellness during this time.
- Write a thank-you note or email. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy summary, but putting into writing your gratitude towards someone and sharing it with them starts a chain of positivity for both you and them.
- Reflect at the end of every day, week, or month about your work and what you’re grateful for. Whether it’s a development opportunity, a coworker’s friendship, a stretch assignment, an exciting project, or even a small detail, take the time to think about it intentionally.
- Get in the habit of expressing gratitude spontaneously and frequently. When someone does something you’re grateful for, don’t wait! Let them know on the spot with a heartfelt acknowledgment of their action and the impact.
- Ask a direct report how they prefer to be appreciated and thanked – and use that information!
- Be honest and vulnerable about the appreciation you value hearing from others. Watch this Ted Talk “Remember to Say Thank You” by Laura Trice for more.
One leadership lesson for tough times is to focus on our vision, relying on our “why” for direction and stability. Resilience helps us continue to move forward toward that vision with the result in mind and gratitude is an integral part of that. As you take time to reflect on gratitude and resilience, ask yourself: Who has helped you recently? How will you thank them?
31 Vintage Images from the Nat Geo Archives that Take You Back in Time:
Thanks this week go to Adam G, Jon G, Larry H, Sanya D, Paula M, Cathy J, and the entire Mission Fed team for caring about the wellbeing of our extended community!
Please pay it forward!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”