Posts Tagged Mines and Associates
Happy Holidays from BizPsych! We typically have several requests this time of year to present our “Thriving with the Holidays” seminar for client companies. Surprisingly, this year we have had only one request, from our sister division in Las Vegas. Is it possible that there may be less acute stress this year in many organizations? Is there still much stress, but no time? Perhaps our past years’ efforts have cured all holiday stress (Nice fantasy…)? The holidays are a wonderful time for so many of us. Yet, for many people, the holidays bring an increased stress level that can take away from that delight. For some it’s actually a depressing time of year for a variety of reasons.
The cornerstone of our recommendation about coping or thriving with holiday stress has to do with setting balanced and reasonable expectations of ourselves and of others. There are cultural expectations that can lead to stress and disillusionment, i.e. “we should all be blissfully happy, have beautiful and significant presents for all, and be ever cheerful.” This probably does not work for all of us 100%. We can, however make meaning, be grateful, have authentic interactions, and celebrate what we believe in. One of the ways we can accomplish this is to set meaningful and realistic expectations for the holidays.
A number of years ago I worked out an optimal holiday stress management strategy formula called “Holiday Stress Math.” It is not rocket science, so please enjoy:
Holiday Stress Math
Holiday Stress is a function of: Expectations (E) vs. What Really Happens (WRH)
If E are H (High) and > WRH = HS (High Stress Holiday)
If E are L (Low) and < WRH = LS but DOL (Low Stress) (Depends on Luck)
If E are L (Low) and = WRH = LS but NGT! (Low Stress) (Negative Good Time)
If E are H (High) and = WRH = MS, PGT but HRI(Medium Stress) (Positive Good Time) (High Risk Investment)
BPRE (Best Possible, Realistic Expectation) = WRH(What Really Happens) = GRE (Good, Realistic Holiday)
Have a meaningful and reasonable stress holiday.
Peace and Joy,
Vice President, BizPsych
What do the holidays mean for your employees and organization? Well, for some it means taking time off, family and friends coming in and out of town, donating to charities, end of year deadlines and the list continues! What can your organization do to support your employees during this time of the year? Get them into “the holiday spirit!”
Here are some quotes that may embrace your impression of the holiday spirit:
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. — W. C. Jones
This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays” — D.M. Dellinger
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness. — Helen Keller
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. — Harlan Miller
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice or nothing at all, you may be familiar with some of the themes in these quotes. These themes found and promoted as the “holiday spirit” can be found year round in your organization!
Since I am especially thankful and proud of my organization’s approach to the holidays, I’d like to take a few moments and describe why being in HR at MINES has jumpstarted my holiday spirit! This year, we have had incredible interest and proactive initiatives in making the MINES culture something to be proud of. Employees from all over the organization, in numerous departments and of varying tenure have informally stepped up and offered ideas and proactive approaches to making MINES a fun and enjoyable place to work. This holiday season has been no exception!
What began as a simple holiday party planning committee grew into a committee that wanted to ensure a memorable experience for not only our employees but also our clients. We first brainstormed a completely different approach to our holiday party… how did this happen? We had a newer employee who was not boggled down by assumptions of the “way things have been done” do some homework and elect a different flavor for the party. The committee also wanted to ensure that the other members of the staff had input in components of the party and they did partake! Above and beyond the holiday party, other great ideas became reality including two drives incentivized by a spirit week and raffle as well as a card signing potluck lunch. The reason that this brightened my holiday spirit is not necessarily the activities themselves; it was seeing the enthusiasm and these great initiatives by our brilliant staff becoming a reality. What was most impressive was the decision by our committee to make it a goal to continue this proactive morale-boosting initiative throughout the year. Of course, we could not have implemented reality without our executive team being on-board!
This year, be proactive about making your holiday season special for yourself, your colleagues, your organization, your community, and for everyone that you touch. Let THIS holiday season be a springboard for the rest of the year! Be the one who helps to spark your organization’s “holiday spirit” and keep it burning all year long! Giving, caring, spending time with family and friends, easing others’ loads, generosity, appreciation, and sharing your contagious smile and energy can make a difference in the morale of your organization all year! This difference and spirit spreads and benefits everyone who you touch whether it is clients, family, colleagues, customers, or friends! I believe that this is why MINES makes such a tremendous difference in our clients’ lives.
Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources
In the past, I have had a hard time remembering how daylight savings worked. Why? Because I would always recall the time I insisted on wearing my tennis shoes to go bowling and I flew down the alley and landed flat on my face. In my mind, falling was forever synonymous with falling forward and making face plants. Hence, the reason why I‘ve had such a hard time learning (and remembering) that it was fall backward and spring forward.
Then, I finally came up with an easy way to make the distinction clear. The word “fall” has four letters in it and so does the word “back.” Ever since I discovered this handy-dandy way to remember, I’ve been able to get it right!
Now that we’re into daylight savings time, I’ve had to ask myself:
Are there any other areas of my life that could benefit from a slight recalibration?
Am I getting a less than desirable outcome than I would prefer? And if so, is it because I am perpetually stuck in thinking the same way in a given situation?
Do I need to change my perspective and see things in a different light?
Is there a better way for me to think about things that would make my life easier and create less heart burn? Am I still making unnecessary “face plants” because of my stubbornness?
Daylight savings creates a slight shift. The nights become longer and the days become shorter. We’re reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. We start to notice that the mornings are a little chillier while the grass and car windows show slight signs of frost. We grab our sweat shirts and start looking for our favorite sweaters. We even begin to notice the displays in the grocery store are different. There are multiple signs and signals shouting: “change is in the air!”
So, I ask, “Why wait until the New Year comes to make resolutions that promote positive change and wellbeing?” Daylight savings is a great reminder that we can always make recalibrations and adjustments and, there is always time to make a slight shift to get a more desirable outcome. How often do you feel as if you’ve just won the lottery because you’ve been given the luxurious “gift of time?” Even though it’s just a slight move on the clock’s hand that creates the change, I encourage you to think of it as an invitation; an invitation to stir things up a little, create a shift in your thinking, change your rhythms, and challenge your beliefs. Then, during the long hours of the night, as you watch the hands on the clock go by, you can celebrate all of your successes that will make it easier to spring forward into action the next time we change the hands of time.
Just remember, if your organization needs a few recalibrations or you want support with making a few refinements the professionals at BizPsych are here to support you with executive coaching, training, and organizational development.
Marcia Kent, MS
We are a cool species, engaging with our world in a very different way than any other species of which we know. We shape our world physically, mentally, and socially to suit myriad fantasies, individually and collectively. This results in a shifting landscape of reality in which we, as Daniel Kahneman points out in his final chapters of Thinking Fast and Slow, are subject to our cognitive biases that may have positive or negative sway in any given situation. The key to best engage with that reality on a day to day basis is to recognize these imperfections in our cognitive wiring in a reflective way.
In those final chapters, Kahneman points to a need to recognize, that as remembering beings, our memory often fails us. It’s subject to outside influence and shortcuts on our own behalf. Taken together, this means that there is an opportunity for each to shift our remembering self towards a different understanding of an event than our experiencing self, the one that’s actually present during an event. This is because our memory is subject to duration neglect and a product of our episodic memory – we are prone to ignore duration as opposed to intensity. If we were to have a true recording of events, we might not remember correctly that vacation taken last year, when it rained for the first three days, but the last day was so gorgeous (and all of our pictures were from that day) that we may remember it more fondly than we experienced it.
What effect does this have on adherence? Quite a lot actually, and this is where perception has a great opportunity to hop into the world of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse treatment. Simply by altering the treatment protocols to take into account this remembering self, it is possible to focus on the peak-end rule. The peak-end rule says that when we are remembering an event, we more heavily weight the experience of the most painful or pleasurable event (peak) and the last thing (end) that occurred in a timeline. If a treatment protocol were to decrease the peak of a particular episode and include a positive, context-provoking end to the episode, the remembering self will have a different memory as it progresses towards more positive outcomes.
There is another major implication of this very important understanding of the remembering self vs. the experiencing self and it is related to a concept called Salutogenesis (basically “from health”). Salutogenesis is a concept coined by Aaron Antonovsky, a Medical Sociologist, as a counter to our current health model, which has a pathogenic slant to it. I would venture that our health system is as much a product of our two selves as potentially influenced by a change in the approach. Our duration neglect and base-rate neglect lead us to an imperfect memory of the picture of health that we have for ourselves. This leads us to looking at healthcare as episodic – we go to the doctor in a self-encapsulated event, we get ill, we deal with symptoms. These are all pathogenic experiences of our overall wellbeing. If we had a tool that helped our experiencing self more accurately engage with our health reality, that we are always to some level healthy and to some level ill, duration neglect would be mitigated, increasing our ability to engage with our health as if in two realms, time and space, rather than simply in a given moment in time.
So what does a salutogenic framework look like? Mindfulness, resilience, focus on daily health-promoting activities that increase our ability to get healthier, rather than fend off illness. Of course, a fee-for-service model doesn’t bode well with this concept, so unless you’re enrolled in a highly visionary health promotion healthcare system, you’re probably on your own – for now. If so, here are some resources we’ve seen that might be helpful for you to consider when you begin working towards your healthiest self:
SuperBetter.com – This site allows you to engage in a number of different challenge “packs” to help increase your emotional, social, mental, and physical resilience. You can even invite your friends to help you complete these challenges!
FitBit – not simply a pedometer, this device will help track your sleeping patterns, too, giving you the opportunity to analyze some of your base-rate metrics and progress in your fitness.
Various apps and websites – there are literally thousands of apps out there now for tracking everything from heart-rate to nutrition to fitness to mental resilience to even sobriety (check out sober24, an online community for alcoholics in recovery!). Keep in mind that when you are looking at these programs, you are more likely to be successful if you are doing it with someone else. And if you invite someone else to participate, they are as likely to make you healthier as you are to make them healthier!
Your EAP – while most people think of their EAP (Employee Assistance Program) as something they use when things are bad, keep in mind that MINES has many programs that may help you no matter what level of health you’re at – including career coaching, financial coaching for learning to save, and more. You don’t have to be in pain to give us a call; we’re here whenever you want to talk.
To our health,
We have all been touched in one way or another by the recent rash of violence in our communities. One tragedy seems like an anomaly and we tend to be able to put it in context as such. But when another occurs we start experiencing it as out of control and as a new norm. We start to carry a pervasive ill-ease. The experience of these tragedies may trigger a variety of stress reactions for different individuals. Some of these could be profound and require the need for professional help, be it medical or psychological. At the least, the general ill-ease most of us are experiencing may also compound the numerous other external stressors we encounter in our work and personal lives.
These stressors especially compounded by the senseless violence of recent shootings cannot help but affect us, in many ways, as well they should. In our modern world, stress is here to stay. We can learn to set more effective boundaries, we can better manage our time, we can shut out the painful images, but in most of our work and personal lives we will continue to be barraged by external demands and stressors. By focusing on stress, we often invite stress.
We offer a new approach. As we have learned in the Critical Incident Support Services (CISS) field, promoting emotional resilience gives those experiencing a specific trauma a more positive response than focusing on the trauma and stress. Emotional Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from adversity and challenge. This does not mean we can remain unaffected by stress and setbacks. What it means is by strengthening our resilience we improve our ability to cope with set backs and recover more quickly. Emotional resilience traits can be learned and practiced. We would like to share some of the characteristics of emotionally resilient people as an invitation to practice – especially at this time of shared sorrow and tragedy. Some of the characteristics of emotionally resilient people are:
- Emotional and Physical Awareness: They understand what they’re feeling and why. They understand how their emotions are affecting their behavior and performance. They understand the absolute connection between mind and body – emotions and physical health. They support physical health by practices such as exercise, relaxation, healthy nutrition, and increased mindfulness in the moment – awareness of emotional and physical states.
- Perseverance: Whether they’re working toward outward goals or on inner coping strategies, they’re action-oriented – they trust in the process and don’t give up. They carry on in the face of setbacks and obstacles.
- Internal Locus of Control: They believe that they, rather than outside forces, are in control of their own lives. They know the limits of control and focus on the areas of life they can control.
- Optimism: They see the positives in most situations and believe in their own strength. They are able to view events as time-limited versus permanent. They are able to view events as specific and not pervasive. i.e. “all or none.” They are able to not personalize negative events by defining themselves by these negative events.
- Support: While they tend to be strong individuals, they know the value of social support and are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family.
- Sense of Humor: They’re able to laugh in spite of life’s difficulties. They are able to respond to serious situations with appropriate seriousness, but not take themselves so seriously that they get in their own way.
- Perspective: Resilient people are able to learn from their mistakes (rather than deny them), see obstacles as challenges, and allow adversity to make them stronger. They can also find meaning in life’s challenges rather than seeing themselves as victims.
- Sense of Mission: Being connected to your spiritual side has been connected with stronger emotional resilience. This has to do with being connected to a higher purpose than oneself, and could be a sense of purpose or mission.
This is not an absolute list of Emotional Resilience traits. However, focusing on one or all of these traits and developing ways to practice them may be a positive way to help cope with the recent trauma that we all have experienced, as well as the common and extraordinary stresses we experience regularly. It may prove more effective to focus on strengthening one’s positive resilience than “combating” stress. Over the past couple years, BizPsych has offered emotional resilience programs in a large variety of settings and situations with very positive results and response. Please consider what you might need to enhance and exercise your resilience at this time.
Patrick Hiester MA, LPC,
Vice President of BizPsych
A division of MINES and Associates.
I recently attended an annual dinner/forum for a local non-profit group which focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. We’ve all heard, or experienced first-hand, the devastating effects of drug abuse on family, employment, education, and just about every other facet of human life. What we don’t always hear about are the amazing efforts by some making an incredible impact on prevention. By taking small steps to identify risk factors, especially for our youth, we can have a tremendous impact. At the forum, one of the panelists made a great point about how parents and doctors don’t ask the difficult questions, and often times because they are afraid of the answer, or maybe they are suffering themselves. Why do our doctors have no problem asking us about our diets and suggesting cholesterol screenings, but very seldom ask us a simple question like, “How are you feeling emotionally?” or, “Does your child seem to be fitting in, and participating in a healthy way?” When we look at diabetes and heart disease compared to major depression or substance abuse disorders only a small fraction of those suffering from behavioral disorders are actually being diagnosed and treated compared with their medical counterparts.
As the prescription drug epidemic continues to rise we need to do more in the area of prevention. Here are some wonderful resources for prescription drug abuse prevention from our friends at Peer Assistance Services:
Manager, Business Development