Work. We spend most of our lives there but rarely give thought to how or why, caught in a constant cycle of to do lists, interruptions and demands. If you’re feeling the strain as a leader, little wonder. Organisations and individuals are struggling to keep up with the pace of constant change. Research from prof Mark Williams at Oxford University’s Mindfulness centre suggests that we’re more stressed today than we were 40 years ago. Workplace studies into mindful leadership demonstrate promising results suggesting a realistic antidote to the chaos. So how do you become a mindful leader? Here are our top 3 hacks.
Hey There Friends,
Welcome to Resilience at Work, the ninth episode of The Positive Change Guru Podcast, the podcast for a positive community. We want you to be inspired, achieve your dreams and take action. Our mission is to help you achieve your goals and unleash your awesomeness by providing you with practical, actionable tools for positive change. So what better place to start than with the subject of our ninth episode, the resilience at work podcast all about resilience, what it is, what gets in the way of it and how to get on down and develop some.
Resilience at work toolkit? Why do we need that? We spend a huge amount of our lives at work and yet often it’s cited as one of the major sources of stress. We know that the world is changing rapidly and frequently organisations and individuals are unable to keep up with that unprecedented pace of change. The result? Stress and burnout. Working for a Healthier Tomorrow the 2008 report authored by Dame Carol Black recognised business as a key player in promoting adult health and wellbeing. But still we lose an average of 17 million work days due to stress, anxiety and depression according to the Mental Health Foundation. The World Health Organisation has named stress as the ‘health epidemic of the 21st century’ The antidote? Resilience. Take a walk through our resilience at work toolkit where we examine what it is, the latest resilience research and how to develop more of the stuff. Step inside and we’ll show you how to keep calm and carry on.
What is cognitive reserve? It’s one of the key factors in brain resilience and the concept of cognitive reserve, or CR, is pivotal to the health of your brain. We take a deep dive into what it is and how you ca create more of it. Join us for a foray into cognitive fitness.
Could you really increase your wellbeing & resilience with sleep? Can you remember the last time you had a really good night’s sleep and woke up feeling well rested? Are you burning the candle at both ends and feeling it? Or wondering why you’re tired all the time? Maybe you’re constantly cranky? Or perhaps you’ve never really considered how your sleep affects your health but you frequently feel rundown?
Poor sleep is linked to an array of health problems from weight gain to depression and diabetes. Lack of sleep wrecks our immune system and is linked to an increased risk of cancer, alzheimers and cardiac problems. We spend a third of our lives asleep and yet the World Health Organisation has declared a sleep loss epidemic in the western world. Just why is sleep so critical to wellbeing and resilience?
You’re an Imposter. That’s right, you’re a fraud. Everything that you’ve ever achieved is down to dumb luck. You’ve blagged your way to where you are. How come nobody else has noticed except you? You’ve conned them all. Sound familiar? If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome you’re in good company. Research suggests 70% of us will experience the phenomena at some stage in our lives. Look around you, is it really true that everyone else is smarter than you? Perhaps they’re shiftily looking sideways in your direction and wondering the exact same thing? But how to get rid of that constant fear that you’re so fake? Imposter syndrome & how to beat it.
Sacrifice Syndrome: The Cycle Of Wellbeing Deprivation
Sacrifice Syndrome. The cycle whereby leaders are caught in a corrosive pattern of workplace behaviours; working late, skipping lunch, catching up on weekends….the list is endless. The result? Dissonant leadership, bleeding into the rest of your organisation causing stress and burnout.
Mindfulness? Pah. You don’t have time to sit around doing nothing. Or maybe you’ve read the research and you’re sold on the idea of mindfulness but you just can’t find the time. You’re not alone, this is something that we hear frequently at Positive Change Guru. So what can you do to make mindfulness part of your day? We’ve put together six painless but powerful practices to kick start your Mindfulness journey. We show you how to start where you are, adding mindfulness into your day with just a few minor tweaks.
You’re working on a project and desperately need to concentrate. At that exact same moment a colleague decides that they need to ask you something. They interrupt. It’s urgent – for them, but not for you. Try as you might to politely signal that you’re busy, they’re not for budging. Your flow, your task and your patience have been mightily tested. How do you deal with colleagues unable or unwilling to decipher your subtle (and not so subtle) “Can’t you see I’m busy?” cues. Fanfare. Meet the ‘FlowLight’
Using words to increase wellbeing? Writing for wellbeing as a method of reducing workplace stress? We bring you the lowdown. The latest estimates from the HSE Labour Force Survey shows the total number of work related stress, depression and anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases with a staggering 224,000 new cases. The cause cited? Workload, tight deadlines and poor management. An increasingly stressful corporate environment means that employees are feeling stretched across all sectors. But where do words fit in this corporate conundrum and how can you use them in your anti-stress arsenal?
A growing body of research has demonstrated the power of words upon wellbeing. Yes, writing is fun but is also has a meditative effect upon our stressed minds. Let’s take a look at the science:
Writing has been linked to a whole host of health benefits;
“Expressive writing influences attention and habituation to stressful stimuli and to negative emotions and … it may influence restructuring of cognitions related to stressors and stress responses.” (Lepore et al, 2002, p.114)
An analysis of preliminary findings linking expressive writing and reductions in blood pressure (Davidson et al, 2002)
A recent meta-analysis showed that “experimental disclosure is effective, with a positive and significant” effect (Frattaroli 2006, p. 823)
Reduction in resting blood pressure levels (Crow 2000)
Psychological effects, such as lowering of depressive symptoms, rumination
and general anxiety (Lepore 1997)
But what does this mean for workplace wellbeing? Here’s what the evidence
suggests so far. Workplace writing for wellbeing sessions;
▪ Reduce levels of stress
▪ Staff recover more successfully from traumatic events
▪ Result in fewer days lost to sickness, absenteeism and presenteeism
▪ Improve working memory
▪ Increase flow
▪ Strengthen immune system
▪ Improve creativity and innovation
▪ Increase wellbeing
▪ Build stress management capacity
▪ Improve confidence
▪ Increase mindfulness
1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year so it’s likely that there’s someone in your team, department or organisation who is experiencing a mental health issue right now. That figure is compounded by a recent Shaw Trust survey which found that 72% of workplaces had no formal mental wellbeing policy. In addition to this, 23% of managers were unable to name a single mental health condition.
So what can you do right now to introduce writing for wellbeing into your day?
Keep a journal. Make time each day to journal about whatever is important to you. Commit to 10 minutes and go wherever the muse takes you. There’s increasing research to suggest that journalling provides improved leadership insight resulting in greater clarity of thinking and better decision making.
Connect to your authentic self:
Brene Brown describes authenticity as
“The daily practice of letting go who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
Set time aside to ‘check in’ with how you are feeling. Are you able to sum it up in one word? Good.
Now take five minutes and without censoring yourself, expand upon that word. Don’t worry about style, spelling or grammar. Let go of your inner critic and just go for it. Unleash your creativity.
Take a look at what you’ve written. What does it tell you about how you really feel? Writing for ourselves in this way can tell us a lot about who we are. Perhaps something you’ve written resonates or provides an insight into some aspect of your day, your life, or a project you are working on.
Turn down the volume on the constant chatter, press pause on workplace pressures and tune in to your authentic self. This exercise will help to ground you creating a mindful space for you to reflect before you continue with your day.
For more information or to talk to us about our Workplace Writing For Wellbeing training courses contact us at email@example.com