Using Prosocial Emotions to Lift Us Up!

We are learning, stretching, growing even if it feels that we are isolating and folding in on ourselves. The global pandemic is creating a new normal in the world that includes social distancing and voluntary isolation. Many of us feel some anxiety and potentially the beginnings of depression as we are uncertain about our future and cut off from our fellow humans. 

To combat these feelings, we can cultivate positive and prosocial emotions. Prosocial emotions provide a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and offer us a way to connect and lift each other up.  These emotions include curiosity, surprise, amusement, gratitude, kindness and awe. Interestingly, these emotional states also spark creativity and lift us out of boredom which may be feeding the depression settling in.  Try some of these action items to boost your mood and lift others up!

  1. Look for acts of moral elevation.  What are people doing right now that is inspiring you. I have seen people sewing masks for healthcare workers, donating time in food drives, live streaming yoga and meditation sessions, and shopping for elderly neighbors.
  2. Create small rituals at home and throughout your community. Rituals help to ground us in the present and can foster a sense of belonging in a community. Community rituals lead to collective effervescence where the energy in one person bubbles up and inspires another person to shine. In my neighborhood people have been going outside their homes at 8pm to “howl in support” of our healthcare workers. The neighborhood becomes alive with collective effervescent howling washing over everyone listening!
  3. Control what you are able to control right now, the amount of news that you consume, what you eat, how you are exercising and sleeping.  These small acts of self-care really do go a long way!
  4. Practice gratitude. Write down or share with your family the things that you are grateful for each day. You will begin to start looking for things that you appreciate and that are going well.  We need gratitude practice now more than ever as we walk this unknown path together.
  5. Be kind and share compassion…especially with your teenagers at home. Everyone is effected by our shelter in place practice and some more than others. Having a compassionate heart will help you relate to another’s experience and find solutions in a creative way. Sometimes the solution is doing nothing, but listening to another without judgement.

And remember to reach out if you are able to help someone or lift someone up!


Tips for transitioning to WFH

Proven techniques for working from home

I would love to share some techniques I have been using to coach clients for a successful transition from the office to working at home. I spent the better part of last week helping people who are used to lots of social activity move to social isolation and social distancing and for many of them, it was harder than expected. Let’s all remember to keep our distance so that we remain healthy and safe.

It’s getting more challenging to maintain focus and keep anxiety to a minimum as Covid-19 comes closer to our homes. I compiled 10 tips to ease your transitions and help you all thrive in the new normal at home.

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Everyday Awe

In the wake of some recent tragic deaths I have been doing some soul searching about my place here on this beautiful planet we inhabit. I am also about to turn 50 and realize that I have been blessed to live an abundant life thus far and plan on experiencing and participating in so much more! I am struck by how, during these times of contemplation, we can feel small and understand how precious life really is. I learned recently that this feeling is actually associated with the emotion of Awe and that experiencing Awe can make us feel more connected to one another and the natural world.

Awe experiences are self-transcendent. They shift our attention away from ourselves, make us feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves, and make us more generous toward others.

Dacher Keltner

What exactly is Awe?  It is a complex emotion that gives you a feeling of vastness and connection at the same time.

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How to Own Your Ask

Have you ever asked for something and heard nothing back?  Are you getting tired of asking and hearing nothing but crickets?  It may be because you are not really asking for what you need. On balance, people like to help one another. Helping someone else actually boosts your own happiness. So, if all this helping is good for us, why do we sometimes not receive what we are asking for?

When you are asking and not receiving a response, take a look at the question you asked.  Are you calling out an action?  Are you giving a deadline?  Is your voice authentic?

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For every two parts happiness add one part meaning

If you want to find more fulfillment in your work follow this equation
 
Passion projects aside, the search for fulfilling work does not need to center around your personal happiness. It is important to feel good while in your work environment and for your work to be in alignment with your values, but happiness as a goal for work may be leaving you a bit shortchanged. Here’s why, happiness is found in the present whereas meaning transcends time to include past/present/future.

Meaningfulness is something we invest energy in without expecting a return.

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Bringing your retreat home

WHY DO WE RETREAT?  

We retreat to get away from it all and collect our energy that is otherwise spread out in multiple directions for inner growth. All the stress, noise, responsibilities and distractions of everyday life melt away and we are able to get back in touch with who we are and what is important to us. We use the fresh perspective that a new environment provides to reconnect with ourselves and find our flow. Sometimes we learn something new or understand a situation that has been troubling us. Sometimes we meet someone who inspires us. Most often we are simply reset and reinvigorated and return home hoping to keep this fresh perspective alive.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE RETURN HOME?

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Cultivating Executive Presence: What it is, Why you need it and 5 steps to get it!

I have a purposeful walk. I have heard this statement many times in my life and sometimes I reflect on how my walk is perceived as purposeful. My head is held high, my gait is quick and I am often not taking in all of my surroundings. I have somewhere to go and I am focused on getting there. People perceive that I am in alignment with my purpose to get there.

But what if my response to the statement was, “Really? I don’t have anywhere to be. I was just walking.” 

The observer who made the comment about my purposeful walk may feel uneasy.  My cavalier response may cause them to question my authenticity. Social science has taught us that when we meet someone, we almost instantaneously begin to create stories about them. We are experts at reading faces and stereotyping based on appearance. But we don’t often discuss that we are also perceiving how aligned someone is with their authentic self. If we meet someone dressed in a formal wear we assign them a certain amount of power and influence. Inside this person may be feeling insecure, tired, or otherwise off, but if they maintain eye contact and have a firm handshake, we buy into their power.

This is the foundation of executive presence.

When we are aligned with the image we project, we have presence that is experienced by another human being. I’m not sure how many of you watched Mad Men in it’s heyday..if you did, you know that Don Draper sets the gold standard for executive presence. He embodies power and influence even if he was not feeling it inside.

Now that we know what executive presence is, how do we cultivate it? 

5 tips to cultivate Executive Presence:

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Unstuck

I know I’m stuck when I have no answer for the simple question, what’s going on?  My honest answer would be, not much and everything at the same time…I am exhausted and not getting anything done!  But to be more PC, I give a standard answer about the usual life stuff: work, kid, travel, house, etc.

Does this sound familiar?

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Reframing Can Set You Free

Are you facing a seemingly unsolvable problem?  Are you stuck, spinning, not knowing what action to take?

You may need a Reframe. 

Do you have a problem? If you have been losing sleep over the same problem for a long time, you may be trying to solve the wrong problem. Try this simple exercise to reframe your problem into something you can solve.

A good way to know if you are working on the wrong problem is to ask yourself, “what would your life look like if you solved the problem?”

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