By Elaine Lipworth, Content Writer at Thrive Global
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a massive and widespread spike in anxiety. To cope, family members and friends are leaning on each other for support and guidance — looking for ways to alleviate one another’s stress and fear, and sometimes simply seeking help to get through the day. We all need someone to listen to us, and fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional therapist to listen well and help improve someone’s state of mind.
“If you are fully listening to someone who is upset, whether that’s face to face or virtually, it allows that person to feel connected and less isolated,” Vanessa Jung, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in Torrance, California, tells Thrive. Listening with empathy is a gift. “We can’t solve the world’s problems, or an individual’s problems either,” says Jung, “but we can give someone the benefit of our time and our full presence.”
By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D., Bioethicist and writer
From early on — usually before we’ve even started our careers — we’re told about a magical thing called “work-life balance.” Essentially, this myth amounts to the idea that if we do everything right, we will somehow be able to achieve the elusive equilibrium of having a fulfilling and meaningful career, while keeping up an active social life, and being the ideal partner and family member. In reality, though, this perfect “balance” is nearly impossible to achieve.
That’s why at Thrive, we’re all about what our CEO and founder Arianna Huffington calls “work-life integration” — an approach focused on preserving your health and well-being and recognizing that there is no secret formula to “having it all.” In fact, the pressure we put on ourselves, and the stress that results from when we’re feeling as though we’re falling short in one or more aspects of our lives, can be a cause of burnout — precisely the thing that work-life “balance” is supposedly designed to avoid. Here are three small steps to help you aim for your own version of work-life integration: ...
By Jen Fisher, Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte
We do a really good job protecting our things: We lock our homes. We lock our cars. We put up gates to safeguard what matters to us. But while we are great at setting physical boundaries, we’re often much worse at setting boundaries that protect our physical and emotional health.
And yet these boundaries are crucial: They give you the time and space to take care of yourself. What’s more, upholding your boundaries sets the tone of what you allow and expect from others.
There are certain boundaries in my life that I am very good about keeping. I habitually protect time and space for exercise and sleep — it’s a core part of who I am and how I live my life. For me, these are non-negotiable. And if I let those boundaries down, I know that over a period of time I’ll feel exhausted and I won’t show up as the person I want to be.
By Alix Strauss
Judith Matloff, who teaches crisis reporting at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, has found herself in some tight situations, like being trapped in a hotel during a civil war in Angola. The experience, she said, was dicier than, say, staying inside a New York apartment to avoid a dangerous virus, but there were some similarities, too.
I was thinking natural disasters were on the rise, but I thought of them as being climate-related. I didn’t think about sheltering for a pandemic.
What do you predict the next two weeks will be like?...
By Leo Babauta, Creator of Zen Habits. Vegan, dad, husband.
For the last dozen years, I’ve been living a (relatively) simple life. At times, the complexity of my life grows, and I renew my commitment to living simply.
Living a simple life is about paring back, so that you have space to breathe. It’s about doing more with less, because you realize that having more and doing more doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s about finding joys in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.
I’ve learned some key lessons for living a simple life, and I thought I’d share a few with you. ...
by Suzie Doscher
Photo by David Kennedy on Unsplash
Change is not easy or simple. If you have been told you should change but are not really convinced that this is true, you are more likely to fail at completing the process. You stand a better chance if want, and are motivated, to change something. This could be a behaviour pattern, how you react, a communication style or how you view the world to name a few examples.
Change can only really take place if you are ready to take action.
Research shows 90% of the strategies designed for change assume people are ready to take action. In reality only 20% of the people already involved in some process of change are actually ready to take action. This helps explain why so many attempts to keep New Year's resolutions, lose weight, change behaviour, etc. are doomed to failure.
By Marina Khidekel, Editorial Director at Thrive Global
From a young age, we’re conditioned to look for physical warning signs. If we feel a cold coming on or spot a rash, we schedule an appointment with a doctor to get it checked out.
But we’re not nearly as attuned to warning signs when it comes to our mental health — and that has serious consequences on our lives, new Thrive research shows.
Ninety-one percent of Americans say ignoring or not knowing their warning signs of overstress has had a negative impact on their lives, according to a new nationally representative survey of more than 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 85. The areas that respondents said suffered most when they waited too long to address their stress are major contributors to our overall happiness and well-being: relationships with friends and family, mental health, physical health, and finances.
By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
Suzie Doscher - Life Coach and Executive Coaching in Switzerland.
I remember doing this exercise while I was studying to become a coach. What I loved about the Noble Manhattan Coaching training was that we had to do all work on ourselves. Talk about furthering your own personal growth and development. I loved the changes that I was making to my own behaviour patterns as I was learning how to apply them professionally.
14 years later I still believe it to be the best coach training even I had not become a professional coach. The benefits from doing the work for myself improved the quality of my life no end and still does...
Answer the following questions, giving each one a score out of 10 using the following scale:
Totally agree with the statement
As it is out of a total possible high score of 10 you will gain an insight into where your self-esteem is at.
If you want to start with some self-coaching consider these thoughts:
A few of the Characteristics of Low Self-Esteem:
If you experience any of these low self esteem signs consider improving the way you see yourself. Self-Esteem and Self Worth are closely connected. If you feel you are worth it you will automatically have increased self-esteem.
Some of the Benefits of raising your Self-Esteem:
One way to start is by exploring these three questions. Make lists.
by Marcel Schwantes
So much has been written about the burgeoning happiness movement. While combing through my own research and notes on what happy and successful people do, it struck me how intentional they are about choosing the right mindset to become happier and more optimistic.
While countless books have been written on happiness, I'm narrowing this article down to a working template for living life to the fullest.
Here are seven sure signs of the happiest people.
1. They choose to have healthy relationships.
I've learned to be picky over the years about whom I let into my inner circle of friends. Why? Because I believe close relationships are the key to sustaining happiness.
One profound longitudinal study proves this. For 80 years, researchers followed 268 men who entered Harvard in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age.
Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the current director of the study, told the Harvard Gazette: "The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation."
For participants, half of whom are still alive as of this writing, the only thing that really mattered was their relationships to other people.
Jessica Hicks, Assistant Editor at Thrive Global
If you had a dollar for every time you hear “new year, new you,” leading up to 2020, you’d probably be a millionaire by the time the clock strikes midnight. We all like to talk about starting fresh when January 1 rolls around, yet we often set ourselves up for disappointment by making resolutions that are products of wishful thinking, instead of focusing on realistic and achievable goals. The key to making goals that last is starting small, with Microsteps — and there are so many minor changes you can make in your daily life that will have a major impact down the line.
These eight science-backed strategies — implementing the very latest research — are simple enough to incorporate into your daily or weekly routines, and are sure to change the way you work and live in 2020.
Dr. Travis Bradberry
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.
Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.
“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.” – Jack Welch
Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.
By Rebecca Muller, Assistant Editor at Thrive Global
Carving out time for regular recovery is essential for your mental well-being and performance — but sometimes, planning a traditional vacation can feel overwhelming, or is simply unrealistic with a tight timeline. For instance, if you’re a new parent, an anxious traveler, or a caregiver for a loved one, you might not be able to book a last-minute flight to a far-off destination to unplug and recharge — and that reality alone can be stressful.
“The kinds of vacations we take are highly constrained by the demands of family, school and work calendars, and finances,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D., author of Rest and The Distraction Addiction, tells Thrive. “One size doesn’t fit all.” Pang notes that a getaway is often most valuable because it helps you tap into a mindset that allows you to relax — but you don’t have to go away to hone in on that vacation-focused mindset. In fact, even people who do go on traditional getaways can miss the point. “Too many people go on vacation and stay connected the whole time,” adds Arthur Markman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Bring Your Brain to Work. “They don’t give themselves a chance to recharge.”
By Jessica Hicks, Editorial Fellow at Thrive Global
Knowing how to delegate is essential to successful leadership, but it’s a skill that can be challenging. Some managers don’t like to hand over responsibility, while others might be nervous about appearing disengaged — but what these leaders don’t realize is that delegating can provide growth opportunities for their colleagues, and reduce stress for the entire team.
Plus, managers need additional support. A recent Gallup report found that managing various types of employees and stakeholders can escalate stress for managers, who “need protected time to think, do their own work, and respond to requests.”
If you’re a manager who’s unsure how to hand over a task, check out these tips to make the process more thoughtful and effective:
By Alexandra Hayes, Multimedia Reporter
While at work, I find myself looking for ways to be a productivity wizard. Often, I tend to hit a wall around 4 p.m., but my job, which consists mostly of writing, requires my brain to function like a well-oiled conveyer belt, delivering fresh, coherent thoughts as they are needed (and I like it this way!).
Not all assignments require the same level of focus, so one way I’ve learned to optimize my time is by doing the labor-intensive tasks first. I’ll start whatever it is early in the morning, and I’ll chip away at it for however long my brain continues to produce quality work for. For the most part, this strategy works for me. I dedicate my most productive hours to my most demanding tasks, and getting a head start on those items alleviates the anxiety that can be induced by intimidating deadlines, and the disappearance of time.
by Celeste Headlee
How many hours do you work every week?
Take just a moment and figure out your average. Be careful, though: I want you to include all of your time spent working. Not just the hours that you’re in the office, but the time it takes to check your email while watching TV, or responding to a quick text from a co-worker.
You’re not done yet, though. Now add up all of the time that you spend doing non-work activities while on the job. Any time that you’ve scanned through movie reviews or celebrity news on the internet, or done a little online shopping, or called your partner to ask what they want to have for dinner. More than half of all online purchases are made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and almost two-thirds of traffic on porn sites happens during the work day. When you add all that up, subtract it from your working hours. What is the final total?
By Carina Bonasera, Student Editorial Fellow
Human beings are hardwired to be social creatures. We are built to crave contact with other people and thrive when surrounded by friends who support and care for us. In fact, relationships can actually help you live a longer, happier life.
With the average full-time American employee spending about 43 hours per week at work, your job is one of the best places to get the recommended six hours per day (yes, six hours!) of social contact. Unfortunately, it’s also the place where many people tend to fall short in making friends.
When Gallup surveyed more than 15 million employees around the world, less than a third reported having a best friend at work — meaning that about 70 percent are missing out on the multitude of benefits that work friendships can bring.
by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach, Life Coaching and Self-help Author
Knowing you have the skills to bounce back, not only on an intellectual and but also feeling this on an emotional level is true strength. Resilience in my opinion is knowing that no matter what comes your way - you can handle it. You know you have the strength and confidence to get up, dust yourself off and move forward. Your self-esteem is strengthened by this ability. You have the confidence to figure out and fix, or change whatever has set you back.
This might sound easy so it is important to remember that when emotions are present (have been triggered) I can handle this is not necessarily the first thought or feeling that might occur.
Neuroscience has proven when emotions are present the brain’s cognitive resources are the first to be disrupted. In other words emotions overpower thinking in that moment.
When a situation results with you feeling stressed, kicked down, frustrated, angry, unsupported, alone, confused, overwhelmed etc. - these feelings are the emotions triggered by whatever happened in that moment.
By Michael Schneider
The transition from individual contributor to manager is not an easy one. In many cases, the skills that got you the promotion will not be the same ones that make you effective as a manager. Luckily, we have organizations like Google that have spent years researching this transition, to help us demystify the secrets to new managers' success.
Using Project Oxygen, an internal study that analyzed more than 10,000 manager impressions including performance reviews, surveys, and nominations for top-manager awards and recognition, Google identified eight habits of highly effective managers. Google also designed a management training workshop to share its newfound knowledge with its bosses and now the world.
Through the company's Re:Work website, a resource that shares Google's perspective on people operations, Google posted this training presentation in hopes that it could benefit all.
Let's take a look at the six key attributes that Google instills in its managers.
by John Rampton
Take a moment to think about the best boss, manager, or leader you’ve ever had. Why did you enjoy working with her? What made you admire her? Did she play a hand in helping you grow personally or professionally?
If you were fortunate enough to work with someone like that, I bet she wasn’t just your boss. She was also a coach who clearly explained what was expected of you while encouraging you to play to your strengths. She educated you and helped you work on your weaknesses. In other words, she empowered, motivated, supported, and trusted you.
At the time, that may not have seemed like a big deal. But research has found that organizations with a strong coaching culture “reported that 61 percent of their employees are highly engaged, compared to 53 percent from organizations without strong coaching cultures.” What’s more, 46 percent in organizations with strong coaching cultures notched “above-average 2016 revenue growth in relation to industry peers.”
By Michael Coren
Life coaches’ careers are taking off. The occupation, which hardly existed a few years ago, has now become indispensable to the careers of everyone from Oprah Winfrey and members of the (formerly wildly dysfunctional) Metallica, to average professionals trying to improve their lot.
While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on life coaches just yet (it groups them with other types of trainers and counselors), the International Coach Federation estimates (pdf, p. 8) that there are now 17,500 coaches (outside of sports) working in North America alone as of 2015. Working with a mix of business and private clients, they earned an average income of $61,900—nearly twice the US median annual wage.
Since the late 1980s, Google’s Ngram index shows the mention of life coaches growing exponentially.
Google Ngram estimate of frequency of “life coach” in books scanned by Google
Life coaches help their clients identify goals, remove barriers, and encourage regular progress for days or years. Most clients, according to the ICF (pdf), are managers who use coaches to help them in their career, but the number of clients using coaches in their personal life is growing as well.
By Elizabeth Yuko, Staff Writer/Editor at Thrive Global
We all have days that are more productive than others, but there are some people who seem like they’re in the zone all the time. What’s their secret? Two scientists at MIT wondered the same thing, and, using the results of a survey they conducted in conjunction with the Harvard Business Review last year, they’ve narrowed it down to three habits.
Before we get to those, let’s take a look at that survey. According to Robert C. Pozen, Ph.D. and Kevin Downey — the authors of the survey and subsequent HBR article — the aim of the survey was to help professionals assess their own personal productivity — meaning, the habits they associated with accomplishing more each day. It focused on seven habits: developing daily routines, planning your schedule, coping with messages, getting a lot done, running effective meetings, honing communication skills, and delegating tasks to others.
Early in the The Path Made Clear, the media mogul describes the moment she discovered her purpose. It was August, 1978, and she was working as a news anchor and reporter on People Are Talking, a Baltimore talk show—but it didn't feel right. "I knew I was not my authentic self," she writes. "And my bosses certainly made no secret of their feelings. They told me I was the wrong color, the wrong size, and that I showed too much emotion."
BY DR. JOSH DAVIS
Most tasks, at least for professionals and knowledge workers, lead to some mental fatigue. After all, we are constantly engaging in activities that involve decision making and self-control. The key to limiting mental fatigue is recognizing the work that is most likely to deplete your resources in a substantial way and, when you have any say in the matter, to simply not engage in that work before you want to be at your best.
So how can you identify the tasks that lead to mental fatigue and keep you from being incredibly productive? If you feel spent after doing a task, there’s a good chance it is tapping into your self-control. The degree to which tasks take a toll on self-control, decision making, or other executive functions varies with each person.
Here are some examples of common activities that can lead to mental fatigue:
Guest post by Nate Regier for the Seapoint Center
Ask anyone about “conflict” and you’ll most likely hear negative descriptions such as: painful, damaging, draining, upsetting, disrespectful, demeaning and relationship-destroying.
Most people dread conflict and can’t imagine how they could turn conflict into an energy source because they don’t understand what it really is.
Conflict is simply energy – the energy caused by a gap between what you want and what you are experiencing. The energy of conflict can be misused in “drama” or it can be harnessed to create something positive and useful.
The Cost of “Drama”
Drama is created by “struggling against self or others, with or without awareness, in order to feel justified about our negative behavior.”
Raise your self-awareness with this: