Focus. Slow Down. Take Your Time

slow down at work

Do you sometimes feel like things are moving too fast, that you’re always rushing and that you’re doing too much?

This video essay gives a stirring reminder of the need to slow down. It reminds us not to rush, but to take the time to do each task before us properly, slowly and deliberately.

The illustration is made of the space shuttle being loaded with the potential energy of rocket fuel, poised to achieve escape velocity. The important thing to remember is that space is not achieved in an instant, but in the powerful slow burn of the fuel accelerating the shuttle and launch craft, from the takeoff point and away from Earth into the atmosphere.

As the video essay progresses, it goes on to emphasize how birds do not instantaneously leap into the air, but must build up momentum from a resting position in order to achieve flight. Everything that will travel a greater distance or achieve a great height must first take it slow and prepare well. Archers draw back and hold their arrow, before releasing it on its flight path. A rifleman takes half a breath and holds it when he takes a shot.

After these illustrations are given, the essay addresses the viewers possible objections: how they may feel if they can’t slow down, or how their life does not allow them to take breaks, or that if they stop to think, then everything in their life will come crashing down.

This is followed by the quiet and confident reassurance that stepping back to catch your breath and assess your situation is not only healthy, but essential. It also goes on to posit the idea that no one should deceive themselves into believing that they can do more alone than they can with the help of others. If you are struggling to achieve something, slow down and find some friends, partners, or colleagues that can help you get where you are going.

In the end, the video reiterates its original point about going slowly and steadily to achieve great things. There are flashes and images of people achieving what they set out to do, moving over to the original advice of the video:

Be like the Tortoise, not like the Hare.

Take the time, make the time, or find the time.

Without taking the time to do things slowly and well, all you are accomplishing is losing the race.


Should something be done about the ‘always on’ workplace?

24/7 workplace no work life balance

In today’s business world the working hours are longer and demands are greater than ever before.

There is a culture of “busyness” and the expectation of availability outside of normal work hours.

This expectation to always prioritize work and to always be “on” is a daunting prospect and can erode your passion for your work, as well as impact everything from self esteem to family time.

Erin Reid, a professor at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, and Lakshmi Ramarajan, a Harvard Business School assistant professor, have done some interesting research on today’s high-intensity workplace.

Reid refers to the phenomenon as “Cult of Busy,” and says – “Our research shows that being always available is actually dysfunctional for everyone at some level. Yet, many workplaces encourage workers to always have their electronic devices to hand, even on weekends, to address work-related calls and emails in real-time. Those who are unable or unwilling are often subtly penalized. This setting of boundaries is often seen as a sign of unsuitability for the job.”

Such a work culture is damaging not only to workers, but also to companies. These companies often see higher turnover rates as employees burn out and move on.

This obsession, willing or not, is unhealthy, and people have developed a few different ways of adapting to the 24/7 expectation. Here are the most common ways, along with their consequences.


Accepting

Many simply give in and accept that they must be available to work 24/7 as part of their job.

However, conforming to the “always on” mentality is detrimental to our sense of self.

When you prioritize your work to the exclusion of nearly everything else (family, friends, leisure pursuits), as companies want the ideal worker to do, you are shutting out many of the aspects that make you a fulfilled/balanced individual.

It also increases the rate of burnout, while decreasing your ability to handle setbacks like job loss, illness, etc. because you have psychologically put all your eggs into one basket.


Passing

This term was originally coined by sociologist Erving Goffman, who used it to describe how people hide personal characteristics which would otherwise subject them to stigmatization or discrimination, such as disability or race.

In this case, it is used for workers who pretend to be “always on,” but pursue outside interests under the radar of colleagues. Basically, workers “fake it” so they can “make it.”

This isn’t ideal either.

Hiding oneself in this manner takes a psychological toll. Having to lie to colleagues, management, etc. to conceal outside activities and portray oneself as working more than one actually does, lends itself to feelings of in-authenticity and disengagement from colleagues and the organization.

It can also mean high turnover for companies. Passers do not actively challenge the concept of the ideal worker who gives their all to the company, and so they perpetuate the culture in the workplace – causing others to be judged on an ideal to which they do not themselves conform.


Revealing

These are people who do not conform.

They do not hide their lives outside of work, nor allow work to dominate their identities. They set limits and ask for concessions such as reduced schedules, time off, or flexible working conditions.

In today’s high-intensity workplaces, workers who ask for concessions are often seen as being less worthy of advancement. They are penalized, their careers stall, they are sanctioned for not conforming.

Revealers in management positions often do not encourage subordinates to challenge the culture because they know the consequences, having felt it themselves.


What can you do?

Reid and Ramarajan offer advice to managers to help break the cycle, such as developing their own identities, moving away from time-based rewards, and helping employees protect their personal lives.

An extra effort needs to be made to not shun reasonable work hours, vacations, and regular leave time. By easing the pressure to constantly be the ‘ideal’ worker, companies/managers will see an increase in employee creativity, resilience, and job satisfaction.

Employees themselves can work to change the culture within their companies by speaking up when colleagues judge each other on the expectation of being “always on.” However, don’t try and fight it alone. Make it a collective effort. Find allies within the company, such as bosses who don’t work weekends themselves and encourage realistic timelines and workloads.

Are you rested enough to be an inspiring leader?

sleep deprivation leadership

Sleep deprivation happens to all of us at one time or another.

Many of us will have a night when the work we bring home takes a lot longer than expected, or a little one is up sick, or you just can’t sleep for one reason or another.

The next day was pretty ugly, wasn’t it?

You were constantly yawning, your mind wasn’t able to focus, and you were downright grouchy.  That was because of only one night of less sleep.

Imagine being a person whose work or life constantly leaves them with little time for sleep.  Now imagine trying to do well and enjoy the workday, when you’re always sleep deprived. If all of this sounds familiar and you’re also a team leader, then there are some things to think about.

Recently,  Christopher Barnes, an Associate Professor at the University of Washington, undertook some research to explain the link between sleep-deprived leaders and uninspired teams or followers.  The study showed not only the negative effect sleep-deprived leaders had on their underlings, but also the positive effect of leaders working on regular sleep.


When the leader is working on a full, restful night of sleep, he/she has a more natural, positive mood.  The leader’s positive state makes the management and display of emotions better.

These signals are picked-up and seen as positives by team members, and cause the leader to be seen as more charismatic.

Teams will often pick up on cues provided by the leader, and, as a result, will be happier and have a more positive outlook themselves. A more positive attitude for team members means a higher level of confidence not only regarding the leader, but also for their own performance.

Of course, not all environments are blessed with a rested, charismatic leader.  What effect can a tired, unfocused, and grouchy leader have on his/her team?

Exactly the opposite. If the leader is working on less than an optimal amount of sleep, his/her emotional regulation and display suffer.  This results in them being perceived as less charismatic and inspiring.

If you have subordinates who are sleep deprived as well, then that becomes a double-edged sword. Sleep deprived subordinates are lower in positive emotion and are grumpy. This makes them difficult to inspire and increases the chances of them seeing you as less charismatic. Just like you would need the best machete if you were in the bush, you need the sharpest mind to lead your subordinates out of the woods.


Many leaders are sleep-deprived most of the time. Furthermore, they might cause their team to be low on sleep as well, by expecting them to engage in work at odd hours.

The lesson is simple. If you want to be a better and more charismatic leader, make an extra effort to ensure you and your team are well rested.

Why vacation time is good for you

take more holidays time off

If you’re working in one of the cities in Asia where work-life balance is not very good, chances are you’re not taking much time off.

However, it might be a good idea to take more vacations.

This is because holidays can help you:

  • Boost your brain power.
  • Recharge your brain batteries.
  • Improve your problem solving abilities.
  • Live longer.
  • Strengthen your heart.
  • Prevent disease.
  • Improve your work quality and performance.
  • Be more creative.
  • Improve your sleep quality.

why holidays vacations are good for you

Are you smart enough to be happy?

Success, Happiness, Reflection

Most think that professional success is equivalent to happiness and contentment. However, they often find that even with a fat wallet and platinum credit card, happiness can be elusive. History has repeatedly shown us that just because you are rich and famous doesn’t mean you are also happy. Robin Williams is a tragic example.

Why is that? Raj Raghunathan has written a book titled “If You’re so Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?” Here is what he learned:

Measuring Mastery

One section of Raghunathan’s work talks about ambition. We all strive to find something we’re good at, something we can master. High achievers often have a plethora of skills and accomplishments, but they usually don’t feel the “high” that success should give you. According to Raj, those people are not happy because they measure mastery incorrectly.

They use social comparisons to define their level of success. Of course, this approach helps no one. So, instead of focusing on one’s own achievements, he or she will concentrate more on earning that cash and getting recognized for his or her work (extrinsic factors) instead of just reaping satisfaction from doing a good job (intrinsic factors).

These types of people (like many of us) define their success and worth by comparing themselves to others and using others’ judgments of themselves. Furthermore, the never-ending thirst for bigger and better is another reason why such folks never truly achieve happiness.

Forgo Success for Mastery 

As materialistic as we are, if we keep chasing external signs of success (i.e. a luxury car, a big house, or expensive gadgets), we will keep on chasing them without ever achieving a state of bliss. Buddha’s teachings show us that wanting is the root of suffering. Instead, opt to pursue mastery. Raghunathan says that when you don’t have a need to compare yourself to others, you find yourself instinctively leaning towards things you like to do and that you are good at, which translates to you reaching mastery anyway – along with the power, the fame, and the money as a bonus. You should aim to find something you like regardless of how others see you or what others do, master it, and reap the rewards rather than just relying on the rewards to make you happy.

You can have your cake and eat it too, but bake it because you like the process of baking — making something with your own two hands.

And to Elevate your Mood Right Away:

Messed-up at at work? Try this technique to get past it and do better next time

mess up mistake at work

When we fail or mess up at work, our thoughts and moods generally head in 2 directions:

  1. Self-pity – where we blame other people.
  2. Self-flagellation – where we put the blame on ourselves.

The direction that presents a greater risk, is Self-flagellation.

Often we can take self criticism too far, to a place where we learn nothing from the experience. All we do is overthink things and keep beating ourselves up, which lowers the levels for our morale, sense of achievement and performance.


Instead of going down this spiral, take 15 minutes to think through things positively and practice a bit of self compassion.

Use the 15 minutes to consider that:

  1. The task might have been too hard.
  2. You weren’t properly equipped.
  3. Failure is more common than you think.
  4. Lady luck exists.
  5. Your entire sense of self worth is not dependent on external factors/things.
  6. You might be able to turn the failure into a success.

We’re not trying to wipe our hands of all responsibility here. What’re we’re doing is trying to take it a but easy on ourselves, get into a positive mindset, learn from the experience and improve.

Have a look at this video for more details.


Bad Days At Work: What Squashes Happiness at the Office?

happiness at work asia

WooHoo Inc. released some interesting findings in a survey it conducted involving 700 people from around the globe.

The survey was about bad days at work, how common they are, and what qualifies them as “bad days.”

Some might argue that a bad work day has nothing to do with the actual job itself. And, that’s probably true sometimes.

The survey specifically asked, “The last time you had a bad day at work, was it bad because of the factors at work or the factors outside of work?”

Seventy-four percent of respondents said it was factors at work.


So, here’s the ultimate question. What about our work makes us unhappy? According to the survey, these are the top five ways to kill happiness:

  1. Horrible bosses (lack of support and communication).
  2. Negative relationships with coworkers (complaining and bullying).
  3. A lack of direction (uncertainty about vision and strategy).
  4. No praise for work (lack of recognition).
  5. A huge workload (stressed and busy).

The lowest ranking factors for bad days at work, were lack of perks and also bad physical work environments. This fact confirms that workers are more interested in meaningful work than, for example, doing nothing all day or goofing off.

Something that should also be taken into consideration is that pay didn’t make the list. Is there a relationship between pay and happiness?

A study done that involved more than 200K employees suggested that a 10 percent increase in pay is only associated with a 1-point increase in satisfaction.


So, are you wondering how to not kill happiness at work?

According to a research study from Professor Teresa Amabile from Harvard Business School, it actually comes down to everyday things that managers and leaders do and say.

Amabile studied the diaries of 238 professionals in 26 project teams from seven different companies, in order to learn about their personal work lives.

Overall, she found that people are enriched by a fulfilling daily work life and are powerfully influenced by particular daily events.

Her study found that the top five leader behaviors that have a positive influence on people’s feelings are:

  1. Emotional support.
  2. Positive feedback.
  3. Public recognition for good performance.
  4. Active listening and respect for individual opinions.
  5. Collaborating on work.

Results from Globoforce’s new WorkHuman Research Institute support the Harvard Business School results – especially the emotional support when it comes to employee happiness.

Workers who know that their company/leader cares about them as a person are 17 percent more likely to be happy at work and are nine percent more likely to be happy at home.

This survey shows that appealing to workers’ humanity and also trying to build a more positive work environment can provide rewards when it comes to employee happiness.


All of these studies confirm one thing, and that one thing should really be obvious to most people today — a miserable work environment can put a serious drain on time, money, and resources.

Companies and managers who want to stand out and make their employees happy should focus on the leader behaviors that are outlined above, if they want to experience the benefits of a happier workforce.

Making employees happy isn’t a hard task. It doesn’t take much time, it just takes some thought and dedication. Having a happy, positive work environment will be healthier for both leaders and employees, so why not make it a priority?

Use Ambient Music/Sounds To Create A Private Space For Productivity & Creativity

work better productive music ambient singapore malaysia, thailand indonesia

Open concept office spaces help to facilitate discussion and collaboration.

But the fact remains that independent work needs to be accomplished at the office as well and that open plan offices can be counterproductive.

Fortunately, technology provides some answers to the quandary of accomplishing focused work in a sea of chatter and movement.

One such solution plays through your headphones.

Ambient noise sites/apps whisper to your individuality and transform a public space into a private one. Ambient music/sounds can help you relax, focus and also be more creative. It can also increase your productivity.

Below are a few options to check out.


RAINYMOOD

The soothing sound of rain washes away the chatter of the office.

As a widely popular ambient noise website, Rainymood sits you next to that open window or on the back porch, as rain rushes from the sky drowning out distraction.


SIMPLYNOISE

White noise laid claim among buzzwords for years, as the sound to drown out all other sounds.

SimplyNoise takes this concept further by adding pink and brown noise.

And for those wanting a weather change, SimplyRain, a SimplyNoise website, grants your desire.


SOUNDROWN

A clean, organized web experience, Soundrown offers rain and nine other sounds, including crickets, coffee shops, fountains and kids.

Mixing of the sounds creates a personalized atmosphere to meet your workplace needs.


NATURESOUNDPLAYER

Campfire and wave sounds play among the eight feature sounds of NatureSoundPlayer.

The simple interface allows for personal sound mixing to suit your style or mood of the day.

Slip to a quiet place that calms your rat race and focuses your mind.


NOISIL

With buttons for productivity, relax or random, or for the ambivalent, Noisil addresses your situation, whether the workload needs tackled or stress holds you captive.

The presets move you to your best place quickly by creating a perfect mix for you.

Or, personalized settings allow you to tailor the experience.


COFFITIVITY

For those who work best amid the buzz of a public setting, Coffitivity offers coffee shop low sounds and chatter.

Choosing your coffee shop experience from morning to evening personalizes the atmosphere.

Claiming science backing, the sounds of this site boost creativity and productivity, caffeine-free.


CODING.FM

The sound of others quietly working inspires you to work.

This motivation brings Coding.fm and its keyboard clicks and taps to your office.

Filter out all of the noise and hear only the work being done to increase your productivity.

Excellent Apps to manage stress, anxiety and happiness

stress management apps anxiety singapore, indonesia, malaysia, thailand

Everyone experiences stress to some level, especially in the workplace.

Sometimes stress is tolerable, sometimes it is intense, and sometimes it is downright debilitating.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the body can become adversely affected if stress symptoms are left unmanaged. These symptoms can affect one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It can even lead to serious repercussions.

In the 21st century, we can combat stress the same way we approach other issues – with technology.

The are many apps that are designed specifically to help us manage stress. However, it is important to keep in mind that these apps should not take the place of medical advice. Their primary function is education. It is important to consult your healthcare professional before making any important decisions based on the information derived from these apps.


Pacifica — Available for iOS | Android — Free

This app is fairly low-maintenance and helps you address your stress at a gradual pace.

It is based on a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation/wellness techniques.

The app helps you track your daily activities in writing or via an audio recording. It then uses the information to help you understand which activities are causing you stress or anxiety.

Once you identify these sources, you can take action to break the cycle. It also allows you to set goals and emotional homework.


Happify — Available for iOS  — Free

This app uses positive-thinking activities to help you improve your mood.

Their scientifically-based philosophy is that everyone has a genetic set point for happiness — but we have the ability to offset it.

That essentially means that even though we might not realize it, we have a great deal of control over our happiness.

With that in mind, those who engage in actions that promote happiness and other positive emotional qualities will eventually develop those actions as habits, and ultimately become happier.


GPS for the Soul — Available for iOS  — Free

This app was created by emotional well-being advocates Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra.

The app is designed to help you manage your stress by connecting you with “guides.”

The guides are fairly simple actions such as looking at pictures of nature or engaging in breathing exercises, meditation or yoga. If you don’t want to use one of the prescribed guides, you can create your own by uploading photos or adding music or quotes.

Once you launch the guide, the app will use a breathing pacer to measure your breaths. There is also a feed that allows you to see your friends’ progress and what strategies are helping them.


Self-Help Anxiety Management (SAM) — Available for  iOS | Android — Free

The expert team that created this app consists of university psychologists, computer scientists and student users.

The app can help you figure out what the causes of your stress are and also suggests ways to combat them.

It provides a good amount of valuable external information ranging from anxiety to relaxation techniques. It also provides guidance on how to put the techniques to work.

You will be able to graph your anxiety so you can self-monitor your progress.


Acupressure: Heal Yourself — Available for iOS | Android — $1.99

This app helps you practice the ancient art of acupressure on yourself.

It helps you locate the proper pressure points to alleviate the pressure that is caused by stress. There are both physical and mental benefits to this practice.


Breathe to Relax — Available for iOS | Android — Free

This app is based on the proven fact that focusing on and controlling your breathing can help to calm you down, relax you, and reduce your stress.

It was originally developed for the purpose of helping soldiers and their families. However, the same techniques work for everyone.

It also provides excellent information about depression, anxiety and stress as well as other related topics.


Headspace — Available for iOS | Android — 10 free 10-minute sessions. Upgrade needed after that

This is one of the best available apps for guided meditation.

The sessions will teach you how to block out distractions and meditate effectively.

This app is especially helpful for beginners. The free version includes a starter course, and the subscriptions give you access to longer sessions and sessions for more specific purposes such as reducing stress.


Gratitude Journal — Available for iOS (Android alternative: Attitudes for Gratitude) — $1.99

Many studies have proven that keeping a gratitude journal results in higher alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy.

This app guides you through the journal-keeping process and prompts you to record the highlights of your day. You can even take pictures of objects for which you are grateful.


The Worry Box — Available for Android (iOS alternative is Worry Watch) — Free

This app provides you with a virtual “box” in which you can put all of your worries and stressors.

Then, you can think them through and learn how to manage them.

If the worry is not controllable, you can choose from a list of coping statements to help you look at it from a different angle.


If you are looking for a way to relieve some of your stress, then try out one of these apps to get you going in the right direction.

Sweat and the Biology of Bliss

emotional benefits of exercise

Have you ever felt like snapping at your children or co-workers, tailgating the person who cut you off, or ranting about the latest political news?

You aren’t alone.

Not only is this behavior becoming more typical in society, but it’s also increasing. Presidential candidates, government and business leaders, and media mavens are just a few of the many groups publicized for trading professionalism for public outbursts, and tact for temper tantrums.

A new study released by Harvard University may have found a remedy. The study shows that aerobic exercise may enhance emotional regulation, confirming what philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt said in the 1700s.

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united,” von Humboldt said.


Just Add Sweat: Exercise Can Keep You Calm

Yes, we all know that one person — or maybe we are that one person — who regularly updates their status post-workout and is inevitably feeling fantastic. Even going for a walk can help to clear your head, re-focus on the task at hand, and better regulate emotion.

Researchers, Emily Bernstein and Richard McNally put evidence behind the colloquial wisdom that suggests an association between exercise and emotional health.

The researchers hypothesized that aerobic exercise may affect the way individuals respond to their emotions.

For the study, they gathered 80 individual participants — 40 men and 40 women — who were regular exercisers. These people were associated with Harvard, either as students, employees or area community members.

They watched an upsetting video clip and were then tested about their emotional response tendencies, mood, and anxiety. They were then randomly assigned to either stretch or jog for 30 minutes.

The jogging group members were allowed to jog at their chosen pace following specific parameters:

  • Increase in breathing.
  • Able to speak without difficulty.
  • On a scale from 0 (sitting) to 10 (breathless, running as fast as possible), effort should be a 5.

The stretching group participants were still physically active but without the aerobic exertion.

Following the 30 minutes, they watched another sad movie scene — a clip from the movie “The Champ” — and completed the same assessment to report on their emotional responses.

They then watched a positive clip from “When Harry Met Sally” and answered questions on the final evaluation.

The study showed that acute aerobic exercise didn’t necessarily prevent an increase in sadness, but did indicate that aerobic exercise may help individuals recover.

“Participants who had recently completed 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise were less affected by these initially perceived difficulties with emotion regulation as they reported less sadness at the end of the study than those who did not exercise,” wrote Bernstein and McNally. “Aerobic exercise can improve emotional health by strengthening emotion regulation or recovery.”


Whole-Body Betterment

Cicero, the Roman philosopher, may have been onto something more than 2,000 years ago.

“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor,” he wrote.

Another study at Penn State University of 1,022 patients with coronary heart disease, analyzed their emotions, physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence, cigarette smoking and alcohol use.

Five years later, the researchers measured these same things again in 662 of the original participants.

They found that people who were more active, reported more positive emotions, sleep quality, medication adherence, and were also less likely to smoke.


The Exercise Equation – Getting Started

Improving cardiovascular health and creating a better mindset both sound like great benefits. Where do you start?

Either one will put you on the path to improving the other.

Should you decide to start by focusing on a positive outlook, or behaviors, you should also concentrate on improving your lifestyle, including nutrition, sleep, and physical activity.

Likewise, starting a fitness regimen that includes aerobic activity can raise your self-esteem, improve your mood, and help you better regulate your emotions.

If you don’t exercise much at the moment, it’s a good idea to pace yourself.

Start with a brisk 30-minute walk that will raise your heart and breathing rates. Build up to jogging, take up swimming, cycling or a different aerobic activity and improve more than your health.

Also consider getting on the fitness tracking wagon. Tracking your activity, along with family and friends, is extremely motivating and fun. It’ll also help you stay on track.

I use Fitbit at the moment, along with their excellent app for training and yoga – Fitstar. They are absolutely brilliant!

The Value of Friends at Work

benefits of friends at work

In a bustling world, where the tasks of one day run into the next and the next, work becomes a place to get the job done and leave.

Couple this with the extended hours that flood into evenings and weekends, and we all need to de-stress and blow off steam during the weekend.

That’s where our ‘non-work’ friends come into the picture. Keeping friendships outside of work permits us to take an often-needed mental break to rest from the office.

But what about having real/good friends at work?

Jobs represent productivity and often relationships do not fit this paradigm. Current research indicates that, as employees, we favor this productivity over the niceties of interaction.

There are several reasons for this preference:

So logically, it makes sense to keep work at the office and forge relationships beyond its walls.

However, valuable benefits are lost with this work-friend separation.


Value of Friends at Work

Studies conclude that 70 percent of employees report having friends at work as the most crucial element to a happy work life.

A good friend at work leads to a person being 1.2 times more likely to claim their job is an opportunity to do what they are best at every day.

These types of positive results speak boldly to forging friendships, even with shortened job tenures. Also, relationships can extend past working as colleagues and lead to a lifetime of connection.

Friendships via social media do not carry positive impact into the office. But, a friend having your back in the office promotes individual health in ways social media cannot reach.

Having a workplace friend, people perceive that their opinions are more highly considered, greater than 27 percent higher than those without friendships at work. These befriended individuals benefit from 137 percent more personal development support, 1.4 times more high-five praise in a week and 1.3 times more feedback about their progress in the last six months.

Experts studying workplace interactions often look at salaries, feedback, mentorship opportunities and a variety of other factors when determining what makes workers thrive.

The bottom line: Relationships trump meaningful work, leisure time and positive emotions, when it comes to achieving a thriving life. In fact, having friends who we see daily at work, increases our happiness as much as an extra $100,000 per year would.

Fifty-eight percent of men and 74 percent of women would turn down a higher paying opportunity if it included not getting along with coworkers.


Forging Relationships at Work

With all the data illustrating the value of friendships at work, how do you navigate the choppy waters?

After all, relationship building in the workplace proves challenging for adults and can make use feel exposed/vulnerable. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • According to Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, “Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial and meaningless.” Use opportunities to rely on other people, and have them rely on you to achieve this. For example, relying on one another during projects and activities/games during corporate offsites, can help to foster bonding and friendships.
  • Share meaningful conversations and not just small talk. A number of research studies have shown that going beyond the comfort of small talk and engaging in a bit of self disclosure around non-workplace topics, can break down emotional and social barriers in as little as 45 minutes.
  • Avoid oversharing. Experts recommend avoiding topics relating to money, sexual history even romantic relationships (at first), illness or health concerns, and work performance reports and reviews. Also, start with simple lunches or commuting, before diving into longer outside-of-work engagements.
  • Relationship building fails if not viewed as a long-term process. Katherine Crowley, author of “Working for You Is Killing Me,” reminds us that a time investment over the long haul is the building block of relationships. Forcing or rushing the relationship dooms the process.
  • No gossip. Gossip creates a negative work environment and forms an unhealthy foundation for any relationship. “You may be finding rapport with some people, but you’re alienating everyone else,” says Jane Sunley, founder and CEO of the HR consultancy Purple Cubed.

4 Ways To Leave Your Regrets Behind

overcome regrets

Every person reading this article has regrets.

We are able to move past some regrets. But there are others that just don’t seem to go away.

Whether those regrets came from being too afraid to take on an opportunity, or from a lack of information going into a decision, they cannot be changed now.

Due to this, you have to learn how to begin moving forward again, in spite of any regrets you might have.

To help readers out, here is are some steps that will help you move forward, as suggested by author and Organisational Psychologist, Marcia Reynolds.

After all, just because you’ve had regrets in the past, does not mean you have to continue dwelling on them today.


Accept that You Will Experience Regrets

There is no way to know how a situation will play out, making it impossible for you to make the right decision every time.

According to Daniel Gilbert (Harvard professor and author), we are not very good at estimating what will bring us happiness in the future. You might think you know what you want, but that’s often not the case, as you might learn when things play out.

With this in mind, some of your choices will be good, and others may even be disastrous.

Ask yourself this: what if you are in the exact place you need to be?

Maybe life is more about learning?

After all, how else will you gain the wisdom that will help you to get what you really want later on?


Try Not to Overemphasize the Negatives Aspects of Your Choices

At some point, when you made a choice that you now regret, there was something about it that inspired hope or positivity in you.

Instead of focusing only on the negative aspects of a choice, try and address what you learned about the choice, and examine how the positives of the choice affected you.

By doing this, you will begin to move toward a healthier way of getting on with the next chapters in your life.


Take Time to Consider Things You are Grateful For

Try out this exercise at the beginning of each day: simply list three things, objects, people, or opportunities that you are thankful for.

By doing this, you will open yourself up to being grateful. With gratitude in your heart and mind, you will be much more motivated to face the day ahead.


Change Something Instead of Dwelling On the Past

When you find it hard to get out of a funk, you need to take some sort of step toward changing your situation and outlook.

Even the smallest steps help.

All you need to do is progress in some way.

Even something as simple as forcing a smile can release chemicals that will help you feel more energized and optimistic. Volunteer work is a great way to feel better about yourself and learn from other people’s experiences and perspectives.

Whatever you choose to do, just take that first step and you will be on the way to a happier life, in spite of your regrets.


move past regret