Archive for the ‘Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup’ Category

Why should we be interested in developing gratitude?

September 17th, 2014
The evidence that cultivating gratefulness is good for us is overwhelming. Although some of us are naturally more grateful than others, gratitude is something we can develop. Let me tell you about some interesting research by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, leading American investigators of gratitude.

During a ten-week study, they randomly assigned a large group of people into three groups. Every week, one group wrote down what they were grateful for, another wrote about hassles and the third wrote about neutral matters. At the end of the ten weeks, which group do you think felt better about their lives?

Those who kept a gratitude journal not only felt more joy, happiness and satisfaction; they exercised more, had fewer physical symptoms like headaches, stomach upset and muscle stiffness, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week than participants in the other two groups.

Need more convincing? Look at these statistics. In comparison to those people who do not keep gratitude journals, people who keep gratitude journals:

· Are 25% happier

· Sleep ½ hour more per night

· Exercise 33% more per week

· See a reduction in their systolic blood pressure by up to 10% and

· Decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20%

Writing a gratitude letter and making a gratitude visit to a person who has made a significant difference in your life, but whom you have never properly thanked, is another powerful way to increase your sense of well-being. One study showed that simply writing and delivering one letter increased happiness more than any other gratitude intervention. A single gratitude visit boosted happiness for one month, but additional gratitude visits increased happiness even after six months.

Practicing gratitude has a positive effect on both the person receiving it and the person expressing it. It is hard to be upset or negative when we are being thankful. Hans Selye maintained that “among all emotions, there is one which, more than any other, accounts for the presence or absence of stress in human relations: that is the feeling of gratitude.” Moreover, study after study presents compelling evidence of the ripple effect of gratitude. So it doesn’t matter what we are grateful for, we will feel the benefit through all aspects of our lives, including work.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Purpose and Meaning In Work | Comments (0)

A Time of Review . . . A Time of Intention

December 31st, 2013

Traditionally, on the last day of each year, I  take the opportunity for reflection. What were the highlights of 2013? What did I achieve? Did I really make a difference in the life of another? Did I grow, personally and professionally? Did I live in alignment with what I say matters to me? Was I intentional? Purposeful?

Did I flourish? Did I get to the heart of what matters about my work? Did I work in a way that was meaningful to others? Did I make a contribution?

Overall, am I happy with how 2013 turned out? With my accomplishments? The risks I took? The lessons I learned?

What am I grateful for?

What are my desires for 2014? My intention? What do I want to change?  How will I get there?

Lots to ponder. This type of reflection is a great opportunity for closure of the passing year. To acknowledge the gifts and accomplishments of 2013.  And, at the same time, it generates excitement and energy for the coming year. It helps us set our intention and to take responsibility for the forthcoming year.

As 2013 comes to a close, I invite you to carve out some time to do a similar reflection. And would love to hear about your accomplishments for 2013 and your intentions for 2014. Something magical happens when we write our goals . . . whether that is the power of intention, a reprogramming of the brain, or the law of attraction . . . the research shows that we are more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down.

This process has helped me to appreciate the relationship that I have with you . . . whether that is through the eCourses or self-studies you participated in, the newsletters I have crafted for your reading pleasure, or the collaborative work we have done together. Thank you for that!

I have received a lot of positive feedback from you with regards to the online learning environment we are creating and plan to grow it in 2014. I look forward to connecting again in the new year.

Wishing you a flourishing 2014!

Tags: , ,
Posted in Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work, Mindfulness, Purpose and Meaning In Work | Comments (0)

Power Stress: A Leadership Reality

September 16th, 2013

While leaders often find their work stimulating and enjoy the challenges that come with the position, the work, as you know, can also be highly stressful. Clearly, the nature of the work: increased responsibility, ambiguities, pressure to achieve results by influencing others, and the loneliness inherent in leadership positions takes its toll.

As a result of these demands, leaders often experience what is known as “power stress,” a term coined by Boyatzis and McKee, which leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, if not adequately dealt with. So power stress is part of the experience that results from the exercise of influence and sense of responsibility felt in leadership positions.

We know about the impact of stress, on our health, our relationships, and on our leadership ability. The chronic stress that comes with leadership positions have been connected to a wide range of diseases and dysfunctions. It can also lead to a state of “dissonance” which we know drains the enthusiasm and energy of teams and organizations.

But, the problem is not simply power stress. It has always been a part of leadership reality. The issue is too little recovery time. While the pressure and stresses will not relent, the key is to take steps in which recovery can be achieved. Mindfulness meditation is a key in this renewal process.

We would love for you to join us in one of our forthcoming  mindfulness courses. Both start on October 5th. Click on the titles to learn more.

The Mindful Leader: Cultivating a Leadership Presence

An Introduction to Mindfulness

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Inspired Leadership, Mindfulness | Comments (0)

What makes social workers happy and what keeps them in the field?

April 6th, 2011

Social workers experience higher than average levels of attrition, stress and burnout than other helping professions such as nursing and teaching. Whereas 6 per cent of American nurses and 8 per cent of teachers left their occupations in any given year from 1992 to 2001, the figure was 15 per cent among social workers. Researchers at the University of Calgary suspect similar findings in Canada.

Common issues faced by social workers include scope of practice, perceived freedom and flexibility, work-life balance, support mechanisms in their workplaces, the physical workspace itself, as well as their relationships with clients and colleagues, including supervisors.

“Social workers, by their very nature, care about people,” says John Graham, a U of C social work professor. “People in human services . . . suffer from high caseloads (and) need the support to do their jobs.”

Given this concern, Graham, along with PhD Candidates Andrea Newberry and Micheal Shier teamed up to investigate what made social workers happy and what kept them in the field. This positive and affirmative approach is in high contrast to the traditional problem-based approach such as studying sources of stress and burnout.

Surveys were sent to 2500 social workers in Alberta. Of the 700 returned, the researchers completed in-depth interviews and job shadowing with the 13 “happiest” social workers.

The happiest social workers reported higher levels of fulfilment in areas such as flexible work schedules, better work-life balance and a stronger sense of engagement.  Having a high degree of freedom built into their jobs gave them the flexibility to manage the demands of their jobs with their personal lives including the opportunity for “self-care.”  This behind-the-scene support made a big difference and enabled them to do their jobs well.

“We’re much better at helping others when we’ve learned to find satisfaction and happiness in what we do, and to develop organizational cultures that reinforce these principles,” says Graham.

Their findings have implications for a variety of career fields. Our experience and research tells us that when employees get to the heart of what matters about their work, when they feel like they are making a difference, and they feel like they are part of a community, employee spirit at work –that sense that we are fully engaged and fulfilled by our work – increases. When employers create the conditions to foster spirit at work, the effects can only multiply.

We have demonstrated that not only can you increase spirit at work, as it increases so too does personal well-being, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Client service and productivity goes up. And absenteeism and turnover goes down.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore spirit at work and its contributing factors in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps renew employee wellness and increase performance and retention by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Creating organizational conditions, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

Just how positive are you?

March 18th, 2011

What would you say your positive to negative ratio is? Five to one? Three to one? One to one? The vast majority of us hover around 2:1. Unless we are mentally ill, most moments in our lives are at least mildly good. But that is not good enough to flourish. Barbara Frederickson’s research shows that we need a positivity ratio of at least 3:1 to flourish.

The tipping point – that sweet spot in between where a small change makes a big difference differs depending on the situation. Where we need a 3:1 positivity ratio to flourish, happy marriages have a positivity ratio of 5:1. And high-powered teams have a positivity ratio of 6:1. That is six positives for every negative!

Why do we need so many positives to counteract the negative? It is something called negativity-bias. Simply put – the bad (or the negative) is stronger than the good. Just think about how we are drawn to the negative. Whether it is TV or the newspaper, negativity sells.  We become engaged when we hear about something bad that has happened to someone. Gossip draws a crowd. Unfortunately, the negative is way more powerful than the positive.

Two ways to increase our positivity ratio: Increase the positive and decrease the negative. So what can you do to reduce the negative and increase the positive in your life? And at work?

Spirit at work and positivity goes hand-in-hand. Actually, happiness in life and positivity goes hand-in-hand. The more we can reduce negativity and increase positivity in our lives and at work, the more we will flourish. The first step is to be mindful. So in the week ahead, I invite you to become a witness of your thoughts. Then once you have this awareness, I invite you to see how you can reduce the negative and increase the positive. And observe how you feel. And how others begin to respond to you. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

Be Happier and Live Longer

March 9th, 2011

My last blog asked if you were happy at work. I listed several reasons as to why we should be interested in increasing our happiness and why organizations should jump on board – quickly.

I received a request for research that would substantiate this claim. My first recommendation is to pick up a copy of the How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2007. Penguin Books. Sonja cites tons of research (including her own) and includes 40+ pages of notes. I am so impressed with this book that I created a home study based on it.

The second book is called Positivity. Here is the reference: Barbara Frederickson, PhD. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive, Crown Publishers, New York.  Barbara’s research has shown that in order to flourish, we need a positivity ratio of 3 positives to 1 negative.  (Even more at work!)

Last week, I came across a news article called, “Don’t worry, be happy – and live longer.” Researchers Ed Diener and Micaela Chan reviewed more than 160 studies on the connection between a positive state of mind and overall health and longevity. They found “clear and compelling evidence” that happier people enjoy better health and longer lives.

Here is the abstract for the article. The reference follows.

Seven types of evidence are reviewed that indicate that high subjective well-being (such as life satisfaction, absence of negative emotions, optimism, and positive emotions) causes better health and longevity. For example, prospective longitudinal studies of normal populations provide evidence that various types of subjective well-being such as positive affect predict health and longevity, controlling for health and socioeconomic status at baseline. Combined with experimental human and animal research, as well as naturalistic studies of changes of subjective well-being and physiological processes over time, the case that subjective well-being influences health and longevity in healthy populations is compelling. However, the claim that subjective well-being lengthens the lives of those with certain diseases such as cancer remains controversial. Positive feelings predict longevity and health beyond negative feelings. However, intensely aroused or manic positive affect may be detrimental to health. Issues such as causality, effect size, types of subjective well-being, and statistical controls are discussed.

Here is the reference: Diener, E. and Chan, M. Y. (2011), Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3: 1–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x

Enjoy . . . and be happy.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup | Comments (0)

Are you happy at work?

March 1st, 2011

Not too long ago, happiness was considered “fluff” and not worthy of attention. People would laugh if your spoke about happiness at work! But not anymore.

Google “happiness” today and you will see how that has changed. You will find tons of web sites and blogs claiming to know the secret to happiness. Universities are offering courses on happiness. Researchers are specializing in the area and are writing books about how to increase your happiness level.  Even academic journals are dedicated to the subject. And “happiness” conferences are popping up everywhere. Including a happiness at work conference in Copenhagen this spring.

And why wouldn’t they? Happier people, well, they are just happier. They are more fun to be around and are more likely to have more spirit at work. All of which positively impacts productivity.

Need more convincing? In comparison to less happy people, happy people:

  • have more energy and are more motivated
  • are more optimistic and more resilient in the face of hardship
  • are healthier, have stronger immune systems, and take fewer sick days
  • are more cooperative, better liked by others at work and have richer friendships
  • make better and more informed decisions and are more productive in their jobs
  • are better leaders and negotiators
  • are more open to learning new things and show more flexibility and ingenuity in their thinking

How could this not have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity? So what is holding us back from promoting happiness, and particularly, happiness at work?

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

What have you done to be kind this week?

February 14th, 2011

Today is the start of Random Acts of Kindness Week. What have you done to be kind? At home? At work? In your community? To yourself?

We used to believe that only the person receiving the act of kindness was the one who benefited. Now we know that in addition to the person receiving the kindness, the person expressing kindness and anyone observing the act benefits in the same way. Scientific research has demonstrated that acts of kindness towards others result in a strengthened immune system and an increase in serotonin levels for both the person receiving and the person extending kindness. (Serotonin is that all-important substance that occurs naturally in our body and contributes to feelings of calm and peace.) More surprising, the benefits extend to anyone witnessing the act of kindness. Hence, the “ripple effect of kindness.”

Want to try it? Start by making a list of ways you might be kind throughout the week. Then choose one act of kindness each day. Notice how you feel as well as the reaction you get.

Here are a few simple ways to express kindness:

  • Let someone go ahead of you.
  • Greet the receptionist by name.
  • Hold the door open.
  • Pay for coffee for the next person in line.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Take a senior for lunch.
  • Greet someone with kind words.
  • Plug a person’s parking meter.
  • Pick up a piece of garbage in a public area and take it to the trash.
  • Volunteer to help someone.
  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Offer the seat next to you to a stranger.
  • Surprise someone with flowers, a fruit basket or a box of chocolates.
  • Bring a coffee to a colleague who is working late.
  • Send a birthday or anniversary card.
  • Offer to take some of the load from a colleague or staff member.
  • Listen, really listen to understand.
  • Donate blood.
  • Invite a new member for coffee.
  • Ask your supervisor how you can help.
  • Share a kindness story with others.
  • Hold a kindness day at work.

We never know when our act of kindness will have a profound effect. A smile, letting someone go ahead of us at the grocery till when they have just a few items, being present in the time we have with another person, making a phone call to check how someone is doing – these are simple but effective ways of touching another person’s heart. Acts of kindness are definitely a pathway to spirit at work. So, go ahead and find a way to make someone’s day, every day.

Adapted from my book Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

What are you thinking?

February 7th, 2011

There is never a moment when we are not thinking — and our thoughts are either positive or negative. Unfortunately, we tend to have more negative than positive thoughts. In fact, we have at least 65,000 thoughts a day and sixty-five percent of them are negative.

Negative thoughts can eat at our confidence, our self esteem and our spirit. They can prevent us from doing what we really want to do. Moreover, “negative self talk” impacts the immune system. It takes a great toll on our bodies and sense of well-being.

On the other hand, the power of positive thoughts to affect our experience of life has long been recognized, embraced and promoted as a path to wellness. Several books have been written on the effect of positive thinking. Norman Vincent Peale is one of the best known for his book The Power of Positive Thinking.

More recently, scientists are proving that the power of positive thought impacts our health, well-being and motivation. A study at Northern Arizona University showed that a group of runners was able to achieve an overall twelve percent increase in the test group’s strength just by thinking and speaking positively about their muscle systems.

In another study about visualization in the mid-1990s, Stanford University took two groups of basketball players through an experiment. One group practiced shooting baskets. The second group didn’t step into the gym; instead, they only visualized taking shots. Amazingly, the group that used visualization improved their shooting skills by thirty percent over the group that physically practiced shooting hoops with a basketball. Both of these studies demonstrate the power of the mind-body connection.

This discovery is not limited to sports. Many successful people credit their success to their positive thoughts. When we think positively and visualize a positive future, we tend to have positive experiences.

It is no surprise that positive thoughts are associated with spirit at work. That which we give our attention to grows stronger. When we begin to think positive, we begin to see and act positive, and, as a result, we attract positive people and experiences to our lives. It is time to rethink our thoughts and our work.

So what are you thinking? And how are you thinking? Are your thoughts positive? Or are they negative? What will you do, starting right now, to increase your positive thoughts?

[Excerpt adapted from Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters.]

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

Have you made your New Year’s commitments public?

January 4th, 2011

Have you made any resolutions this year? If so, did you tell anyone? People who make their New Year’s resolutions public are ten times more likely to succeed at their goal. Are you surprised?

The first day of the first month of a new year. What better time to stop and reflect on where we have been and where we want to go. How we want to be in this world. Many of us join in the tradition of creating New Year’s resolutions. Many of us do so knowing that the likelihood of follow through is slim.  Are we really committed to change or is making these resolutions just a fun tradition?

Passionate commitment carries many positive effects. It fulfills our need to connect with others and to belong as our commitment often involves social duties like helping others out. It empowers us as we take charge of our destinies and gain insight into ourselves. It reinforces our sense of autonomy.

The likelihood of pursuing and achieving our goals (including New Year’s resolutions) increases as we make our commitment public. Another reason for increased success is our desire to appear consistent to ourselves and others and to avoid embarrassment or awkwardness. Part of the reason is the increased support we receive from others.

Choosing an accountability partner will go a long way to helping you achieve your desired goals. The idea of having an accountability partner is to find someone who you respect and trust to give you feedback, a new way of looking at things, and a supportive nudge to move forward.  You will want to commit to working with someone who will question, challenge, encourage, and inspire you to achieve positive results.

Want to make those resolutions stick? Make your goals public and find an accountability partner.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Follow ValKinjerski on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Tags: ,
Posted in Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)