The efficient trick of honouring sadness

sadness

We are told time and time again that focusing on the “good” is the best way to deal with depression or sadness.

However, this does not mean that we should suppress sadness in order to only focus on the good. In fact, we should treat feelings of sadness with the same respect we give to happiness. We should honour sadness.

Many people put pressure on themselves to be happy all the time. This is not realistic. Life is not a happy cartoon. Distracting yourself, or even ignoring sadness only makes it worse. Sadness can actually be beneficial if you deal with it correctly.

Why honouring sadness is good for you

1) Feeling sadness is the only thing that helps release it

Much like any suppressed feelings, you can only push them down for a short period of time before they shoot to the surface, at the most inconvenient time.

Instead, bringing a spirit of curiosity and compassion to sadness lets you explore feelings without getting stuck in them. Become your own detective, think about why you feel sad and just feel it.

Notice where the sadness is in your body. You might feel chest aches, heaviness on your shoulders or tears. Accept these feelings and let them rise to the surface.

2) Unpick the sadness 

Think about back to when you started to feel sad. Is there anything familiar about this feeling? Is it triggered by something in particular? What early life experiences felt similar? Start to increase your self-awareness around why you feel sad and this is a sure way for you to understand how to cope with it.

3) Invite Them In

What would you do if you allowed yourself to just be really sad? What would your day look like? Ho much would you cry? What movies would you watch? Would you sleep? What would you be in your pyjamas? If you let yourself just breakdown, would it help? What would you be thinking? Or doing? Even if you can’t take a sick day, or literally have the sadness breakdown you believe you’re on the brink of having, imagine if you did. Don’t live in fear of your sadness.

4) Get creative 

Emotion unlocks art and creativity that our rational mind tries to keep muted. It’s a great time to explore what you really have broiling under your veneer of reason. Use this time to write, draw or play an instrument. Do whatever skill takes your fancy or whichever you have a natural flair – just make sure you do something.

5) Be kind to yourself 

Often we can make ourselves feel a whole lot worse by our reactions to sadness. Thoughts such as “this is pathetic”, “I need to be stronger” or “Just snap out of it” – are particularly problematic – you are not a robot. Embrace your humanity. Just like being kind to others in their time of need we should equally be kind to ourselves. Not only does kindness make us feel better in the moment but it also helps us to deal with the sadness in a more efficient way. Instead of encouraging us to surpess feelings of sadness it encourages us to accept them.

The absolute best way to deal with sadness is to honour it and who knows, you may find something beautiful at the end of your blue tunnel.

 

 

How to combat the effects of stress

stress

Thankfully, according to researchers at Stanford, a meaningful life is almost always a stressful one; the more we care about the things in our life, the more stress we are likely to feel. We simply can’t have one without the other. So, for all of those finding that stress is a daily occurrence – at least it means we are having a meaningful life. Apart from this statistic, there is little advantage to stress only a heap of consequences, many of which, actively reduce the quality of our lives.

But imagine if you could have a meaningful life, with stress (as we can’t have one without the other, unfortunately), that didn’t involve health consequences or unhappiness? Sound too good to be true? Well, actually, it isn’t – we have a lot more control over our stress than we think. Here are the best strategies to overcome the consequences of stress.

Change your thought process 

How you think about stress ironically impacts you more than the actual stress. Positive attitudes about stress were correlated with better health outcomes even when stress levels were chronically high. Interestingly just knowing you can handle stress is a way of protecting yourself from its harmful effects. For more reading on how to rethink stress, see Kelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress.

Forsee your stress

Don’t let stress throw you into a tizzy. Instead plan when stress might hit you and foresee when it might reduce your ability to be as organised, eloquent or as efficient as you usually are. If you have trouble remembering things or spotting mistakes in your work during periods of stress be aware of this and make extra allowances or time to ensure it doesn’t impact your life.

Let stress motivate you

Stress is adrenalin, that can be put to good use. Rather than letting it crush you – use it to let you crush everything else. Knowing you are putting your stress to good use, or even thinking it benefits you actually helps you to avoid its negative consequences so, it’s a double win.

Social contact

Whether you walk with a parent, chat with your colleague or talk to your spouse during your commute, socialising helps you to cope and feel supported. Irrespective of whether you talk about the stress at hand – simply knowing you have people around you makes you feel stronger and more able to defeat consequences of stress.

Stress can be challenging, especially if you are career driven and ambitious. But, by simply changing your perspective, on how stress fits into your life, you can avoid its negative consequences and even reap a few rewards!

 

For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out this useful anxiety blog.

Beat the January blues with these happiness hacks

Happiness

Happiness impacts everything you touch. If you’re feeling down at work, you simply won’t have the motivation you need to reach your targets. Instead of struggling through your work days and annoying your family when you get home with your persistent moping, inject some much-needed happiness into your life with these foolproof happiness hacks.

Exercise

Getting your sweat on, releases endorphins throughout your whole body, ridding you of your negativity and generating a mood filled with happiness! Studies have shown that exercise can help to alleviate depression. The best time to hit the gym is first thing in the morning to get your pump on before you start work. Think about it, is that extra hour in bed doing you any favours? Instead, wake up a little earlier and start your day right.

Turn on a lightbox

Light therapy is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this can be a major cause of January blues, but even if it doesn’t, experts agree that it works to treat symptoms of most major depressive disorders as well. So whenever you’re feeling blue simply turn on the light box for 30 mins to an hour and feel instantly better. To feel its full effects, use it daily.

Go outside and walk

Starting to feel down? Head outside to take a walk in the closest nature you can find. Science research shows, again again, that spending time in nature helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety and phycological stress. When you feel your mood taking a downward spiral, simply step outside and bring yourself back to the surface.

Citrus scents

Citrus scents, such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit actually draw out positive chemical reactions in your brain. Not only this but they help to relieve symptoms of stress. If you want a quick uplift at work put a few drops of citrus essential oil on your pressure points. You can buy already made mixes at any health shop. You can also mix the citrus injection

Buy flowers for yourself

A team of Harvard researchers found that keeping fresh flowers at home does successfully keeps away anxiety and negative moods. People in the study also felt more compassionate toward others and they felt a boost of energy and enthusiasm at work.

Take microbreaks

Research shows that people who take short microbreaks at work, to break up their work day, for example, to watch funny videos online, get a high emotional payoff and report feeling more energetic and happy with fewer negative emotions. This is a great way to boost your mood in just under a minute. Cat memes anyone?

For even more helpful tips read CNN Health’s blog, on happiness hacks, here.

How to make every day mentally healthy

healthy

Sleep, wake up, work. Repeat. If this is your daily routine, you may be setting yourself up for a miserable existence.

We have to take action and create healthy habits today, otherwise, our lives can pass us by before we know it.

Creating healthy habits allows you to reign more control over your life and enjoy each and every day.

Being conscious and enjoying every day encourages a mentally, healthy existence.

1. Wake up with mental space

Don’t start checking your emails as soon as you hear your alarm. Allow yourself space to wake up. Even if it’s only 30 – 45 minutes – this non-tech, non-work related space, makes the world of difference to your day.

2. Work out

People tend to feel more depressed when they neglect their bodies. Make sure that you schedule time for yourself to work out, even if you don’t feel like it. It significantly boosts your health, self-image, and mind.

3. Get lost in fiction

Whether you prefer to read or watch, getting lost in another reality can help to reset your mind and flareup your creative juices. That stimulation makes your day smoother by thinking differently, solving problems in abstract ways and, most importantly, makes you happy.

4. Write poetry or a diary entry

However you prefer to mark a day, just make sure you do it. Some people like to write poems as they find it easier to recreate atmospheres than write objectively about their day. Other people write diary entries as they find it therapeutic – they can also compare entries to other days – to mark progress. Both writing styles can increase your self awareness and appreciate for each and every day. It keeps your mind open to the small details in life and is an incredibly healthy habit to have.

5. Check in with your family and friends

Surround yourself with your biggest fans. Create circles of support around you. Validate your friends and family and also make yourself feel stronger as they support you. These people are exactly who you need at the end of a stressful or upsetting day and visa versa. Make sure you schedule in time for these important people.

6. Don’t forget to play

Going back to your childhood can rejuvenate your soul. Take a walk in the woods and just wonder at the nature around you. If you are blessed by young people around you then play and laugh with them. Or listen to music from your childhood.

 

The best ways to fake it till you make it

fake it

You’re told time and time again to fake it till you make it, and what initially sounds quite absurd actually makes sense. Some 70% of people report feeling like a fraud at work. If you’re not careful you can give opportunities away to the more confident 30% simply down to your lack of confidence.

Therefore, the “fake it till you make it” advice, is a safety protocol, saving you from yourself, until you realise your own worth.

So, here are eight ways to fake it till you make it.

1. Remember your past success.

If you’re deliberating about whether you are good enough to take up a new opportunity then you need to think of your wins. Think of everything you’ve done to get where you are. Write it down if that helps, just make sure it’s fresh in your mind and ready to remember when you need it most.

2. Surround yourself with people who reinforce you.

We can’t do everything ourselves. Make sure in your life you are surrounded by people who believe in you. Limit your interactions with toxic people, in so far as is possible. Make sure that you have enough genuine love and support towards your goals. Without this, it’s very hard to get by on a very low day. This can be anyone, family, friends even coworkers.

3. Exercise 

Exercise is a confidence-boosting natural drug. Before a high-stress situation such as an interview or presentation sweat it out. Put your power music on and don’t stop till you hurt. Not only does it help you to build your confidence by flushing happy endorphins through your brain but it helps you to mentally focus and not get so sidetracked by worries or fears.

4. Don’t forget your bigger picture 

Have faith that you are on the right path. Nobody is perfect and you are here to learn. So, if you feel out of your depths, think about everything you have done before and how capable you are. Think about your journey, where you want to be and how close every new challenge will take to your goals. Instead of feeling fear, feel gratefulness.

5. Give what you want to receive.

Validate other people and in turn, validate yourself. When Derek Doepker, the author of Why You’re Stuck, began his journey, he felt like a fraud. His answer was to identify a role model He researched authors, podcasters and bloggers who resonated with him. Go and tell them how much they mean to you – he advises, and it helps you find your own worth in the process.

6. Never let ’em see you feel like a fraud.

Typically, when we exhibit equanimity and confidence, it makes the situation much better. Think about how awkward it is to watch a nervous speaker? Think about how strange it feels to have an unsure leader? No matter what, do what it takes to fake it till you make it. Remember feeling like a fraud is normal and every scary moment will pass. Just give your best performance regardless of how you feel inside. Make people think you can handle it.

 

Are you ready for Generation Z?

generation z

Generation Z is about to take over the “millennial” hype. They consist of the generation born between 1996 and 2010 – and are set to make up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.

Unsurprisingly Generation Z differs quite significantly, to their millennial predecessors and bring a whole new set of ideas to the working world. Unlike Millennials, who are driven by purpose, Generation Z has grown up through a recession and the fear of it happening again means they are motivated by money and security.

Their new set of ideals mean they will make waves in the workplace and if employers wish to retain them, they should respond accordingly. So, if you want to be well-prepared for the new wave, consider three core Gen Z traits and how they can benefit your business.

1. Make tech your priority 

Generation Z lives and breathes tech. They don’t know a life without it. To reckon with this new wave you need to make your workspace a truly digital environment. This not only pleases Gen Z but it also makes your workspace the most efficient space possible.

Forward-thinking organizations like PwC are making digital fitness (as they call it) a business imperative (read more here)

As a rule of thumb, anything that can reduce the friction of getting work done or smooth workflow is fair game for an upgrade.

2. Feed the Generation Z hunger for competition 

Generation Z is fiercely independent and competitive, They’re not afraid and even like some healthy competition with their teammates.

A great way to create cohesion amongst Generation Z and your team is to run some in-house competitions among your staff. Technology again provides a creative solution but equally, anything that proves their worth, within the context of your organization will quench their competitive thirst.

Investing in their competitive side could provide value for your organisations future. think about innovation projects or think tanks which, if liked, could see some incredibly beneficial ideas being implemented.

3. Design your space to encourage “togetherness”

Interesting statistics to take into account, if you really want to understand Generation Z, are as follows;

  • They have startlingly high levels of loneliness within Generation Z, which topped the UCLA Loneliness Scale with a score of 48.3in a recent Cigna study.
  • Other research shows high levels of anxiety and distrust among Generation Z, pointing to their social media childhoods and being raised during the recession.

Designing a space that encourages collaboration, openness and a feeling of togetherness will help this new generation to do their best work which may provide instrumental value to their growth.

Over the past two decades, organizations have paid attention to the unprecedented mindset of Millennials. Now it’s time to do that again for Generation Z. Getting the most out of employees does take investment, but in the long run, it reaps rewards for organizations who have created the perfect space for success.

 

Read more on this from William Arruda 

How to keep your attitude in check during a bad work day

attitude

A toxic attitude can spread faster than distasteful gossip.

A bad mood is infectious and if you don’t nip it in the bud it can be impossible to work. Before you know it, the rest of your colleagues will be feeling your negative energy. Even worse, you risk giving a bad impression to your superiors who will be less than impressed by your bad attitude. Something that, (especially if it happens more than once) can really tarnish your reputation.

So, you need to get your attitude in check—and fast.

Here’s how:

1. Avoid Venting

It’s human nature—when you’re having a terrible day to want to vent to those around you. Unfortunately, this creates a domino effect in the workplace and only achieves to spread negativity. Even worse, imagine if it gets back to those in charge that you’ve been bad-mouthing their business? There are little benefits to venting at work, about work. The key to keeping your unpleasant mood in check during the workday is to say, as little as possible. By staying quiet, you avoid the risk of opening your mouth and saying the first snarky thing that comes to mind.

If you absolutely need to get something off your chest speak to someone that doesn’t work with you.

2. Take a Break

The downward spiral of negativity moves quickly. A bad exchange with your co-worker turns into a bad morning, which turns into a bad day. Nip the bad experience in the bud and don’t let it take over your day.

One of the best ways to do just that is to get up and take a break. Go outside and take a walk, run an errand, or head out for a quick cup of coffee. Do anything that will get you away from your workplace and change your environment.

Research shows that attempting to continue to stay focused on the task at hand will only lead to an even worse mood. So, the absolute best thing to do is to stand up and take a break. In the end, that’s much better than trying to power through.

3. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

One of the very best ways to get yourself out of your funk is to perform a random act of kindness. In fact, research shows that these small kind acts actually raise your dopamine levels—making you feel a lot happier.

Your random act of kindness can be to anyone – at work – on the streets – it’s your choice.

Doing something nice and unexpected, can stop your bad mood, and help you to feel empathy, over anger, allowing you to cool down.

4. Fake it ’Til You Make it

Don’t let your bad mood rule your entire day. Instead, put on your most convincing happy face and push through.

This might not be easy but it’s far better than potentially ruining your reputation with a sour attitude.

Even better? Science says that smiling (even when you don’t feel like it) can actually help to improve your mood. So, it might be just what you need to turn that awful day of yours around.

Bad days happen to everyone. For a long and successful career, you really have to manage your mood to make sure your reputation does not suffer.

The four work personality types

four work personality types

A workplace is a dynamic environment with a diverse range of people. Not everyone, in the world, works, reacts, or communicates in the same way. Typically, you can find four work personality types. Each of these personality types exhibits common characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses that benefit from being managed and communicated with in different ways.

Understanding these four work personality types will help you to successfully lead a diverse team to increase your team’s job satisfaction, performance, and reach organisational goals.

The four work personality types

1. Analytical

The analytical personality type is very introspective. They’re serious individuals that act with utmost deliberation. They have high standards which are reflected in their working styles. They are process driven and highly organised. They also often tend to have a dry and witty sense of humor.

Analytical strengths are that they are perfectionists. They produce a high standard of work. They’re organised, economical, and self-disciplined. They are risk-averse (which can arguably also be a weakness).

Analytical weaknesses are that they can be moody, negative and critical of those with different working styles. Their disposition towards analysing everything can make them indecisive. Their desire to be perfect can produce negative results as it can overshadow the point of their task.

The best ways to interact with an analytical:

  • Ask rather than tell
  • Don’t make demands or rush
  • Give them time and space to think about things
  • They like encouragement and feedback for good work

2. Driver

Drivers have strong and energetic personalities. They exude confidence and naturally gravitate toward leadership positions. They shoot into action, but they can overlook details. Drivers are blue sky visionaries. They see where they want to take a team but they can lack the preparation of the interim steps.

Driver strengths can be found in their tenacious determination. They are independent and highly productive. They are visionaries and they’re decisive. A driver would rather make a bad decision than no decision. They just want actions toward their goals.

On the weak side, the driver can be insensitive, unempathetic and sarcastic. Drivers are stubborn and typically do not like to admit when they are wrong. They can also rush into decision making without thoroughly thinking through the consequences of their decision.

The best ways to interact with a driver;

  • Get straight to the point
  • Give them responsibility
  • Give them independence when they execute their tasks
  • Show appreciation

3. Amiable

The amiable personality type is a well-balanced individual, calm and patient. They’re typically quiet. They’re empathetic, kind, and inoffensive—amiables are people pleasers.

Amiable strengths are that they are very easy going. They fit well into teams, do not cause disruption and get on with their work. They’re diplomatic and calm and can be very supportive of those around them.

On the weak side, an amiable’s need to people please can be self-defeating and consequent in them feeling resentment. It can also cause complications if they do not really say what they feel for fear of upsetting those around them. They can be stubborn, selfish and easily overwhelmed.

The best way to interact with an amiable;

  • Be gentle
  • Do not overwhelm
  • Show support and empathy
  • Encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone

4. Expressive

The expressive is also known as a social specialist. They are exciting, popular and naturally draw people to them. They want to be included and are excellent team players. Expressives want to be involved in everything from projects to social teams.

On the strong side, the expressive is very good at communicating and managing those around them. They are charismatic and persuasive. On the weak side, they can be disorganised, undisciplined, loud, and incredibly talkative.

The best way to interact with an expressive;

  • Have a sense of humor
  • Make sure they check their facts
  • Show excitement and participate in their conversations

Of course, these are generalisations and many people will exhibit some amount, of any number, of these four work personality types. However, everyone will possess more characteristics of one type over the others.

How to fail intelligently

fail intelligently

Failure is a core component of our learning process. If we truly want to reach our full potential we should go beyond the concept of embracing failure and we should be learning how to fail intelligently. This means that we accept full responsibility for the failure, learn all of the lessons it affords us and ensures that we don’t make the same mistake twice.

Some of the most successful people in the world will tell you that failure is a precondition to success. A good example is Thomas Edison. He failed no less than 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. He obviously didn’t let that perturb him, instead, he saw it as the 10,000 ways that didn’t work.

Another great example is J.k Rowling who said “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”

Whilst there is no one rule for how to fail intelligently – it’s entirely relevant to your personal goals and journey – there are certain common characteristics shared by those who know how to fail intelligently.

1. They maintain their confidence and enthusiasm in the face of failure

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

Failing doesn’t feel good. However, those who know how to fail intelligently, can maintain their confidence in the face of failure. This is what allows them to keep moving forward whilst their competitors stop. Its a tenacious part of their character that is fueled from failure.

2. They have a long-term goal

People that fail intelligently, don’t fail randomly. They have a long-term vision. They know what they are looking for and failing takes them one step closer to it.

3. They know how to fail in the right way

They fail fast and cheap. They don’t put too much time, money, and energy into something that’s uncertain. Instead they put in the bare minimum, so that they can validate their idea and then move on to the next without too much damage.

4. They see failing as a science experiment

When a failure occurs, they extract everything possible from it. They use it to predict future outcomes and they want to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes in their next attempt. They see it as the ultimate learning opportunity.

5. They don’t mind tearing up their idea at any point

There are times when a failure will show them that their ideas are, on the wrong track. In this scenario they aren’t afraid of, tearing up their plans and going back to the drawing room. They don’t get trapped by their ego, they simply start again, knowing that they found a valuable lesson.

6. They experiment a lot

People that want to succeed understand that they have to “double their rate of failure”. As being successful means experimenting (and failing) a lot. Experimenting repetitively also allows them to perfect their method of failing intelligently. They have the right processes in place so that failures advance their purpose instead of destroy them. This is what differentiates them from others and this is what allows them to get up in the face of several failing attempts.

 

 

 

How to gently push back at work and encourage a work-life-balance

work-life-balance

Work doesn’t have to be a battlefield. We live in a collaborative, forward-thinking society where employees and employers can be happy. It’s possible to get our work done and also have a happy home life. We just need to put the right work relationships in place, with our superiors, to enjoy the work-life-balance possibilities. Work can be a win/win for everyone and here are 4 proven ways on how to gently push back at work and set the tone for a healthy work-life-balance;

1. Clearly, understand the criteria on which you are judged

Are you marked on output or hours logged? The later causes problems for flexible work and may also disadvantage your employer. Encourage open discussions about how you are expected to work and be crystal clear on these points. This obviously helps you to impress your employer but also to open meaningful discussions about how different work practices could provide a win/win for you and your organization. It’s typically much more beneficial for employers and employees if work is judged by output as opposed to hours logged.

2. Create a goals/objectives document

If this document hasn’t been created by your boss, then use your initiative and create it yourself. Set up a meeting with your manager and use the information to create a document clearly outlining employer expectations. This is a document where you’ll list and then track the progress of all your projects, initiatives and key tasks. You’ll use this document during progress review meetings with your manager. It’s a crystal clear benchmark to asses your progress and can help you to make huge leaps of progress in your career. If you meet all of your objectives then it’s much easier for you to negotiate a more flexible working style.

3. Embody your superiors communication style

Establish a positive working relationship by learning about your superiors communication style and preferred method of working and communicating with you. How do they like to receive updates? Do they want weekly, bi-weekly or monthly updates? Once you have the perfect mode of communication than your working relationship is built for success.

4. Schedule progress meetings

If this isn’t already in place work, with your superior to schedule regular review meetings on both your calendars (based on how often your boss prefers to meet). Schedule them on a repeating basis, at least six months into the future. During these meetings, come prepared with an updated Goals and Objectives document and be ready to discuss your progress on each item. During these meetings you might like to request different working times/ flexible work policies – it’s a good idea to discuss how these policies would be a win/win for both you and your employer.

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