Wednesday Wisdom: Lost in the Forest

Five friends had gone for a morning trek in a dense forest and somehow managed to get completely lost.Struggling to find their way out of it for good 8 hours, there came a point where they were hungry, thirsty and tired. They desperately needed to get back now. It was getting dark. They decided to strategise a right plan to find the quickest way back.

The first one thought, we must turn around and attempt to go back in exactly the same direction that we came in.
The second one said his gut feeling said, the exit is to their left.

The third one said, I remember in which direction the sun rose when we came and based on that, technically we must turn right.

The fourth one thought, we must keep marching in the same direction as we were already walking since they had already covered a few miles and there has to be an end to the forest soon.

The fifth one, who was the wisest of all, said we must climb a tree, rise above and take a view from the top and find the shortest way out.

In frustration, they all never came on the same page and each one thought he is right, and the others are wrong. None gave up their point of view, disregarded others wrong opinions and went with their own respective ‘rights’.

Each chose his own path.

  • The fifth one did find the shortest way to a nearest village, he was wise indeed.
  • The fourth one, found a pack of wolves but fought them and learnt how to survive in a forest. He started loving it out there.
  • The third one, found another team of hikers, eventually found his way out with them and made new friends too.
  • The second one, found a farm and was hosted by a lovely family and spent few of the best days of his life before he headed home.
  • The first one, struggled for a good 7 hours, but remembers it as his best night trek ever.

This story reminded us, that everything in life is not about right and wrong.

Rights and wrongs have broken many friendships and spoiled far too many relationships.

A 6 from my side, looks like a 9 from yours. Let’s not impose our views on others.

We may be the wisest one, and may know the quickest fix, but wisdom is, in letting each one, find their own path.

Suggestions are welcome if they aren’t imposed. We must never judge or label those who disagree with us. Agree to disagree, respectfully.

All roads lead to Rome. And all roads have one common outcome, a worthy experience. _

Every time the dice is rolled, a new experience unfolds. And each one enriches us, in its own unique way and eventually adds to our maturity, wisdom and growth._

Let life unfold for each one of us in its own way. Who are we to conclude who’s right and who’s wrong? Everyone is right, in their own way.

Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there.

Written By: Anugya Dixit. Content Writer

Life Lessons of Rudolph

 

Story of Rudolph

Rudolph, a young reindeer, lived at the North Pole, was a lively, happy reindeer, and loved playing in the snow. 

One day the other reindeers noticed his large and bright red nose. His glowing bright red nose was overlooked at the wrong time, made Rudolph the brunt of all jokes. Friends dismissed him from games, and he was publicly humiliated.

So, Rudolph was sad because it was also Christmas Eve. And he was afraid that, because of his shiny nose, he would never be chosen to pull Santa’s sleigh. 

He set out to visit Santa and Elf, who was always kind to Rudolph and never mentioned his funny nose. They were busy with all their presents, and he started helping them. While they work, the day turned to night.

At last, Santa was ready to leave and asked Elf to pack up the sleigh. 

The Team of 8 reindeer proudly took their places in front of the sleigh. Santa looked around and noticed how foggy the night had become. So he was worried that he would not be able to see his way. Suddenly, he looked at Rudolph, and a bright idea struck him. 

 “Rudolph,” Santa said, “I want YOU-with your shiny nose- to light the way for my sleigh tonight!”

The Team of Reindeer made way for Rudolph. From then onwards, Rudolph was Santa’s first choice every Christmas Eve.

This little story gives us a smile on our faces with some life lessons of success.

Christmas Lessons

  1. 1. Don’t let someone else define our value.In our life, we all hear various kinds of voices in difficult situations. Often we listen to the wrong voices.

    However, like Rudolph, we must value ourselves as who we are, not because of what others say about us. Always there will be people who want to pull us down. They dislike differences and wouldn’t want us to succeed.

    2. Be a light to others who have criticized or condemned us

    Rudolph gave his light to all, even to those who made fun of him. The light was for all. Same way, forgiving somebody who could be the cause of our pain is difficult yet essential because we all go through some darkest times in our lives and come to the brighter side. Hence, we should be light to even those who have criticized or condemned us sometimes. 

    3. Our uniqueness is our gift to the world. 

    Santa’s squad of reindeer was complete, but Rudolph had a unique quality. Due to this quality, he could make his own place in Santa’s gang. 

    Similarly, discovering our unique gift is a part of the success journey. We are born with phenomenal potentials, and uncovering them is our responsibility. It’s certainly easy to see in others and difficult to look it into self. So reflecting on our thoughts, behaviour, and action will help us to uncover our gift. 

    4. Find someone who believes in you.

    It was Santa who changed Rudolph’s future when he brought to light his unique bright red nose. Santa knew that this gift would make a difference in the mission.

    So, we must have somebody who could believe in us. It’s, no doubt, a little troublesome to find a person who would believe in us. But we must continue searching for this person. When we find that one, it will fuel our success.

    5. Difficulties are always opportunities in disguise.

    It’s complicated to recognize an opportunity in difficulty. 

    The way the foggy night paved a new way for Rudolph to be a part of the sleigh team. In the exact same way, we might face trouble thinking of how things can work out when we feel helpless and trapped. Yet, during those dreadful times, creativity saves us. Hence, we need to learn to focus on positives in mid of negativity. It’s a skill that will keep us going.  

 Conclusion

Rudolph’s story is an imaginary tale, but it gives us impactful lessons about life.

Apart from it, it has lessons for leaders. It shows that leaders must provide help to group members to identify their strengths, support them, and help them shine. When each one of us brings our unique talents to the goal, everything falls into place.

 Kindly share what you learned from the story?

GOOD or BAD

We all do it. Isn’t it? We quantify situations hastily.

The parameters of quantification may differ from person to person and depend largely upon the situation, but majorly it is divided into the two …….

No, we are not here to discuss if this polarization is good or bad, but rather to help you understand whether we need this classification or not. See, classifications can make things simpler for us. Undeniable for sure!

It helps us to make decisions faster, and this is how life can keep going without too much analysis or introspection. It is crucial in some cases to classify “good or bad”.  For instance,

                                                                        OR

But in most cases, we look at a situation only at its extremes, which is immature because then you will have only two pictures in your mind, either good or bad, black or white. Clearly, no space for grey(balance).

For an example, assume that while dusting today, you broke a vase! Now, what would you think instantly?

And now your mood becomes a slave of events which happen in your life, and gradually, to your surprise, you will fall prey of low self-image or self-doubting!

If you notice keenly, you can detect that all this process of polarizing events into “good or bad” majorly depend on materialistic influx or efflux because they provide short term pleasure or pain.

Hence, we can say that the parameters of classifying events are based on materialistic illusions, which will change now and then, but can significantly hamper your mental health.

Either there is a need for multiplying the dimension of classification as “good” or “bad” or, we need to look at the entire situation in harmony, by just being mindful of all the odds and accept it as it comes.

Now, you may wonder, as to why did I suggest to “accept as it comes”? Okay, so when we classify the situation into either of the two categories, we generally get carried away by emotions attached to it.

Striking a balance between these two, therefore, becomes a matter of utmost importance for our

Connect with us to  access our Mental Well Being packages @ www.samunnati.org or cal us @ 9899880845.

 

 

 

 

 

Naturopathy the new lifestyle

Are you naturally healthy?

Ask this question to yourself and if the answer is ‘NO’ than this write-up is for you.

“Nature itself is the best physician.” Hippocrates

Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived 2400 years ago, first formulated the concept of “the healing power of nature”. This concept has long been at the core of medicine around the world and remains one of the central principles of naturopathic medicine.

FounderBenedict Lust c. 1902, the founder of naturopathy in the U.S.

In North America, naturopathic medicine traces its origins to Dr. Benedict Lust. He used the term “naturopathy” to describe a clinical practice, which integrated such natural healing methods as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, manipulative therapy, acupuncture and lifestyle counselling.

Naturopathic medical education began in Canada in 1978 with the founding of the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine (OCNM) in Toronto.

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a procedure of alternative treatment.

It is a practice which promotes “natural”, “non-invasive”, or “self-healing” procedures for patients. The naturopathy follows a philosophy and methods which are based on harmonizing vital energy of body and traditional medicine,rather than evidence-based medicine.

Principles of Naturopathy

We naturopathy practitioners help patients to regain their self-healing power with combination of diet, exercises and by alternative healing practices.

Few prominence therapies are listed below.

  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen technique
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
  • Western herbal medicine
  • Yoga

All the above are very effective therapies and if guided by trained practitioners it gives an enormously good results for sufferer.

Protection facts –

Most harmonizing and alternative therapies are measured to be harmless when conducted by a trained and experienced practitioner. However, there may be times that a certain therapy may carry higher risks for you.

It is always advisable that instead of getting dependent to drugs for longer time and become a chest full of chemicals, detoxify yourself by natural practices and therapies and live NATURALLY HEALTHY, STRONG AND LONG.

Connect with us for well being workshops, webinar, coaching, counselling (individual and group) and well being packages @ 9818105631 or mail us at training@samunnati.org.

 

 

Art of story telling

“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” — Jon Westenberg

What is Story telling?

It is an ART!

Yes, storytelling is an art form that uses narrative to communicate something to your audience. It may be factual or facts that are improvised and embellished to make the narrative more appealing and relevant.

When done correctly, research shows the powerful impact storytelling can have on us:

  • Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts & figures alone
  • Our neural activity increases 5X when listening to a story
  • Storytelling lights up the sensory cortex in the brain, allowing the listener to feel, hear, taste, and even smell the story

Storytelling is an incredibly valuable tool in marketing, and sets apart vibrant brands from simple businesses and loyal consumers from one-time, casual shoppers.

https://www.referralcandy.com/blog/ultimate-storytelling-guide-infographic/

Storytelling is an art form that is timeless and has a place in every culture and society. Stories are a universal language that everyone — regardless of dialect, region or heritage — can understand. Stories stimulate imagination and create a sense of community among listeners and tellers alike.

There are two ways to persuade people.*One is to use rhetoric, power point slides, statistics and quotes. This is an intellectual process. The second is putting forth the idea by combining it with emotions. This is done through story telling in which you not only weave lot of information but also appeal to their emotions by arousing the listener’s passion and energy.

A good story has the following aspects:

  1. Entertaining
  2. Informative
  3. Relatable
  4. Well organized
  5. Appeal to emotion and
  6. Memorable

Preparing for the storytelling

Like any other art form, storytelling requires creativity, vision, skill and most important of all practice. To make your storytelling a success you need to keep in mind the following requirements:

  1. Know your audience: To tell a compelling story, understand your target audience, who is going to respond and take action.
  2. Central idea of your story: this should be clearly stated in six to ten words. Your story will unfold around this core message.
  3. What is the outcome you are expecting: Your story will change according to the outcome you expect – expecting some action, creating human values, collaboration or simply educating. Your story and the narrative will change accordingly.
  4. Call to Action: this is similar to your objective but your CTA will establish the action you’d like your audience to take after reading.

What exactly do you want your readers to do after reading? Do you want them to donate money, subscribe to a newsletter, take a course, or buy a product? Outline this alongside your objective to make sure they line up.

Often a good story comes from your customers. All you need to do to find your story is to ask your customers to speak for themselves. User generated story telling is creditable and easily relatable. You could use their stories as they are or spin a fictional tale based on the reality. In my experience as a trainer I have mostly got my stories from my audience and built on it. I have also used these experiences of my audience as the base for my stories for narrating elsewhere.

Remember “the best stories are not your own, but of your customers and your fans”

Once you’ve found your story, tell your story in the most memorable and impactful manner possible. Be authentic and stay true to your brand message. To make it authentic you can even use real names, settings, and outcomes if it’s possible. Every story has its heroes and villains. In brand storytelling, villains should be problems and hero should be your brand’s solution to these problems.

Our brains recall information better when we associate it with a sensory experience. Stimulate the senses with beautiful visuals, objects, handouts and whatever else you can, so that the listener engages more than one sensory organ.

Brand Storytelling Example 1: The Land Of Land Rovers Campaign**

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNXU1IR2LR8

Land Rover Showcases Why the Best Stories Come From Others

In celebration of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary, the company brought to life the true story of, “The Land of Land Rovers,” a remote area in the Indian Himalayas. The video tells the story of the local drivers who rely on a fleet of meticulously maintained 1957 Land Rover vehicles to provide transport and supplies along the treacherous mountain roads between two small villages, Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu.

To bring this remarkable story to life, Land Rover’s team made the village of Maneybhanjang their home for ten days in order to get to know these brave drivers and experience their everyday life. The end result delights the viewer with its stunning cinematography, while hearing from the drivers and villagers only further reinforces the incredible off-road capabilities of Land Rover vehicles.

Brand Storytelling Example #2: Ikea’s Improve Your Private Life Campaign

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dYpJaAmJj0

IKEA Singapore Highlights the Power Of Humor In Storytelling.

IKEA Singapore’s Shelf Help Guru video campaign stars a ‘Shelf Help Guru,’ who wants to take IKEA customers on a journey of ‘shelf discovery’ to improve their private lives in their most private areas: their bedrooms and bathrooms. It uses humour to captivate the audience and illustrates practical storage and furniture solutions from IKEA positioning it as the go-to retail store for improving your home.

Brand Storytelling Example #3: Sanlam Bank’s #OneRandMan Campaign

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLY_tGjm-9Y

Sanlam Bank Showcases How Storytelling Can Spark Change

In South Africa, research shows that most people do not save much of their salary. So much so, that household debt averages about 75% of their after-tax income. To educate South Africans about the importance of saving money, Sanlam Bank launched a 5-part web series called One Rand Man, featuring a young professional who embarks on a social experiment – getting paid only in one rand coins. For context, one rand coin is about seven cents in U.S. currency. The video series documents his trials and tribulations of paying for everyday expenses in coins. Each week, Sanlam Bank also joined forces with respected local personal finance news outlets to share advice and tips based on the issues faced by the One Rand Man.

The Results

Telling the story of One Rand Man, combined with valuable personal finance thought leadership, sparked a chord in South Africans. The video series was watched over 900,000 times, making it the most-watched ad on YouTube in South Africa during the time of the campaign. Furthermore, the effort generated over 74 million media impressions, earning over 41 million rand worth of media exposure for the company (approx $2.8M U.S. dollars). The wild success of One Rand Man spawned One Rand Family and other similar episodic spin-offs, further inspiring and educating South Africans around the importance of personal finance and saving money.

Storytelling is a trial and error process and no one masters it in the first try. However it is worth mastering for building your brand. Today’s consumer doesn’t decide to buy based on what you’re selling, but rather why you’re selling it. Storytelling helps you communicate that “why” in a creative, engaging and fun way.

 

References

* https://hbr.org/2003/06/storytelling-that-moves-people

** https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/brand-storytelling-examples/

***https://www.hubspot.com/marketing/storytelling

Incomplete without Compassion

Today’s blog I will like to start with a Facebook post (Treasureside.com), shared by a woman who lost her baby during delivery. The mother used social media to convey her gratitude to all the compassionate nurses.

In her ‘thank you’ letter, she shared all the loving and compassionate acts they displayed during her trauma. Here are a few of her expressions of appreciation toward the nurses:

The post is dedicated to not just one or two compassionate nurses; but a full team of caring individuals who seemed to work together in fully embracing a devastated family’s emotional, psychological, and physical needs. These skills go well beyond medical training; they reflect a depth of understanding and sensitivity that is the epitome of kindness, generosity, and love.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama refers to the emotional benefits of compassion to both the giver and recipient.

Compassion is not an automatic response to another’s plight; it is a response that occurs only when the situation is perceived as serious, unjust and relatable. It requires a certain level of awareness, concern and empathy.

Importance of Compassion in our toady’s hectic life 

It is extremely painful to feel compassion as it requires empathy for others and at the same time it is equally essential to create positive action.

Compassion and empathy are fundamental components of our personality for quality relationships as they enable kind and loving behavior. Hence our associations in volunteer activities has been associated with positive result like increased academic aspirations and self-esteem among adolescents

Compassion has two elements: showing compassion for others and also self-compassion which is an important for well-being. However in this stressful time we often find people who are unable to forgive themselves for various unpleasant incidents of their lives.

 Where in when we condition ourselves to see beyond our flaws and treat ourselves with forgiveness and understanding, our psychological health and well-being increases.

In extensive studies on Compassion have shown self -compassion is more beneficial than self-esteem. It strongly enhances emotional resilience without fostering some of the negative aspects associated with self-esteem by researchers.

In  2018 a 17-year long study on HIV patients  were concluded by the researchers Ironson, Kremer, & Lucette. They found out that practicing compassion for others and being self compassionate towards oneself are the predictors of longer survival. This finding is shows the power of compassion.

The power of compassion is essential within the medical field as patients feel pain, anxiety and fear. In such a situation handling their emotions helps them to both heal and cope with the situation.

8 Proven Benefits of Compassion

  • Society: Compassion promotes social connection among adults and children. Social connection is important to increase self-esteem, empathy, well-being; and higher interpersonal orientation
  • Over all Well Being: Compassion is related to increased happiness . Compassion is related to higher levels of well-being
  • Self-compassion during smoking cessation training is associated with reduced smoking among participants with low readiness to change, high self-criticism, and vivid imagery during the treatment program.  It is linked to various aspects of general well-being,

Self-compassion reduces burnout and fosters important adaptive qualities among medical professionals. It buffers the negative impact of stress.

Self-compassion: have a number of proven psychological benefits, such as reduced PTSD symptom severity. Self-compassion is linked to more positive aging.

  • Parenting: Compassion promotes positive parenting by improving parent-child relationships.
  • Medical professionals: Brief expressions of compassion expressed by doctors decreases patient’s anxiety. Compassionate love is associated with higher patient survival rates, even after adjusting for social support and substance use effects

Patient-reported clinician empathy and compassion is related to increased patient satisfaction and lower distress.

  • School: Compassion within classrooms is related to increased cooperation and better learning (Hart & Kindle Hodson, 2004).Compassion for teachers as expressed by colleagues is linked to increased teacher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and sense of emotional vigor.
  • Compassion-focused therapy:  is reported as a promising therapeutic approach for individuals with effective disorders characterized by high self-criticism .Depression: The combination of self-compassion and optimism is beneficial for depression-vulnerable people. Low habitual self-compassion and high self-criticism are related to a higher risk of depression

Voluntary Associations: Compassion expressed as a function of service work is related to improved health and well-being among volunteers

While some of us behave more consistently compassionate than others due to our conditioning as compare to others and compassion is teachable.  However there needs to be a structured series of intervention to do so.

Naturally, teaching compassion should begin with young children in order to inculcate empathy, compassion, and kindness at a time when personalities and beliefs are still developing.

Positive Psychology Coaching on Compassion

The field of positive psychologyis founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fullling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play” (International Positive Psychology Association in Donaldson, Dollwet, & Rao, 2014, p. 2).

Positive psychology focuses on the promotion of positive emotions, traits, and behaviors that ultimately foster positive well-being. Well-being was the most prevalent topic studied field of positive psychology since 1999.

One to mention is Donaldson’s colleague’s study in 2014 on compassion which was spread across 46 countries.  The researchers reported a number of studies indicating that compassion and gratitude were predictors of increased well-being with scientific evidence.

Additionally, mindfulness was the most frequently researched intervention, and intensive mindfulness training.  It increases several positive outcomes, including self-compassion.

There are numerous proven benefits of both self-compassion and compassion toward others, such as increased happiness, improved medical outcomes, reduced stress, reduced psychopathology, and increased social connection.

If you wish discover the power of Self Acceptance with Compassion, you could  book  an individual, or  group  Coaching session ‘ Rediscover Your Purpose’. It’s an innovative, comprehensive session focusing on both self-compassion and compassion toward others, such as increased happiness, improved medical outcomes, reduced stress, reduced psychopathology, and increased social connection. 

We organize well being workshops/webinar, group counseling sessions @ organizations, There are many ways in which individuals/ groups/ teams  can practice compassion such as by being altruistic, avoiding judgment, being grateful, to create a productive workplace.

Connect with us @ 9818105631  email us @training@samunnati.org

 

Put your SELF on the top of To Do List

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

Our most important partner in our life is ‘me’ and we often spend more time in  understanding others wherein we must focus on creating a positive relationship with ourselves.

Relationship with myself

We all have a specific explanatory style, which decided how we view the world around us which includes day to today situation, relationships, definitions of life like success, failure, happiness etc.

In our growing up stage we often get conditioned by our parents, community, society, religion, and place where we reside. All these aspects condition ourselves and builds our value system. In this process we often take over the values which are being transferred by all of them\ and make our blue print of viewing the world.

Why values are important?

Values are set of guidelines which help us to scan the situation, relation, events and life journey. For instance it is the value system which decides whether ‘I am a successful person or a failure’ or whether ‘the event in my life is positive or negative.’

Self image and self criticism

The three elements of a person’s self-image are:

  1. The way a person perceives or thinks of him/herself.
  2. The way a person interprets others’ perceptions (or what he thinks others think) of him/herself.
  3. The way a person would like to be (his ideal self).

 However the common problem we all face is Self-criticism. The optimum level of self criticism helps us to improve our areas of improvement but we often fail to control the level and it slowly absorbs us silently.  

It’s a problem which should never be overlooked because the way we talk to ourselves play a vital role in well-being. The problem of the self-critic is fixable and needs to replace by Self Love.

Research supporting Self love in Positive Psychology 

Researchers Ed Diener and Martin Seligman (2002) conducted a study of both happy and unhappy people to determine what factors set them apart. It turned out that happy people didn’t necessarily exercise more, participate more often in religious activities, or experience more (subjectively) positive life events. The difference between the groups was that happier people had better social relationships.

If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.  The Dalai Lama

Definition of self-compassion in Buddhism is ‘offering patience, kindness, and nonjudgmental understanding to others as well as oneself’. It is contrary and not equivalent to selfishness.

Make peace with our inner critic

So the biggest question is how we turn our inner critic inti and supportive narrative? Traditional cognitive skills training have been found rather ineffective in this area.

Positive Psychology coaching in self Love and Compassion

Everybody deserves self love and situations and events which do not happen as per your expectation, we only need to pause and reassess.
Be mindful of the difficult emotions that a rise. There could be events in our life where we need to forgive ourselves and recognize that we can commit mistake.
With growth mindset we redesign ourselves to identify various options of doing differently. Use gratefulness as the opportunity to increase the positive ratio and coping with difficult event ion life.
Finally, accept ourselves that we are not perfect. However there is always scope to be better. We must focus on the areas where we performed fine and that’s more than enough.

Coaching Package
Rediscover your Purpose: to Practice Self-Compassion
The coaching session is complimented with scientific studies, self assessment and positive intervention to have self compassion for better well being.
• Step 1: Practice Forgiveness
• Step 2: Employ a Growth Mindset
• Step 3: Express Gratitude
• Step 4: Find the Right Level of Generosity
• Step 5: Be Mindful

Connect with @ 9818105631 to take coaching session for well being.

Reference: Positive Psychology research of Martin Seligman @ Pen University,U. S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

Empathy

 

Many of you would have read Harper Lee’s “To kill a mocking bird” or watched the movie starring the very handsome Gregory Peck. This book is a classic on Empathy and I would recommend everyone pick it up to understand the true meaning of Empathy.

What is Empathy?

“Empathy is like a universal solvent. Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble” -Simon Baron-Cohen, British clinical psychologist, and professor of developmental psychopathology, University of Cambridge, in his book “Zero degrees of Empathy: A new theory of human cruelty”

In its simplest form, empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others, and to understand other people’s perspectives on a situation. At its most developed, empathy enables you to use that insight to improve someone else’s mood and to support them through challenging situations.

How is Empathy different from Sympathy?

Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but they are not the same thing. Sympathy is a feeling of concern for someone, and a sense that they could be happier. Unlike empathy, sympathy doesn’t involve shared perspective or emotions.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, empathy is one of the five key components of emotional intelligence – a vital leadership skill. The five components are

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Social skills.

I’m not going into the details of Emotional Intelligence here. That’s for another time. But suffice is to say that in order to be a successful leader one needs to be empathetic to one’s subordinates and team members.

Empathy is developed through 3 stages.

  1. Cognitive Empathy: It is the ability to understand what another person might be thinking or feeling. It need not involve any emotional engagement by the observer. Managers may find cognitive empathy useful in understanding how their team members are feeling, and therefore what style of leadership would get the best from them today. Similarly, sales executives can use it to gauge the mood of a customer, helping them to choose the most effective tone for a conversation.
  2. Emotional Empathy: It is the ability to share the feelings of another person, and so to understand that person on a deeper level. It helps to build trust between managers and team members, and to develop honesty and openness.
  3. Compassionate Empathy: It is the most active form of empathy. It involves not only having concern for another person, and sharing their emotional pain, but also taking practical steps to reduce it.

Exercising Empathy

According to Stanford Psychologist Jamil Zaki empathy is like a muscle — it can be strengthened with exercise and it can atrophy when idle. So how does one “exercise” Empathy? Prof Zaki writes in Harvard Business Review that the first step towards building empathy is acknowledging that it is something that can be built.

Minter Dial in his book “Heartificial Empathy” lists out the following five activities for flexing empathy muscle.

  1. Listen actively Practice active listening by reformulating the message to the person who just said it. Observe the nonverbal cues. The key is to focus on the intended meaning and feelings of the person you are interacting with. Use your ears, eyes and “gut instincts” to understand the entire message that they’re communicating. Start with listening out for the key words and phrases that they use, particularly if they use them repeatedly. Then think about how as well as what they’re saying. What’s their tone or body language telling you? Are they angry, ashamed or scared, for example? Take this a stage further by listening empathetically. Avoid asking direct questions, arguing with what is being said, or disputing facts at this stage. And be flexible – prepare for the conversation to change direction as the other person’s thoughts and feelings also change.
  2. Explore differences. Put yourself in environments where people are from different backgrounds. For example, you might want to join a local community outreach group or volunteer for some charity work. It is one of the best ways to learn from the diversity of others’ experiences.
  3. Read fiction. According to Prof Zaki, “There’s a fair amount of evidence now that the more fiction that people read, the more empathetic that they become, because fiction is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people who are different from us who we might not have a chance to meet otherwise.” Fiction apparently tricks our minds into thinking we are part of the story, and the empathy we feel for characters wires our brains to have the same sensitivity towards real people. If Obama, Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg can make time for reading fiction, why can’t you?
  4. Practise mindfulness. Mindfulness and meditation are all about focusing on the here and now. And one certainly needs to be “present” when listening to someone else in order to empathise with them.
  5. Remember why. If you know why you need to be more empathetic, you will create the environment, set aside the time and make the effort. So create the necessary awareness within yourself.

In addition to the above, I would like to add the following if you aim to be an empathetic leader.

  1. Consider other people’s perspective/be non-judgmental. Keep an open mind. Placing too much emphasis on your own assumptions and beliefs doesn’t leave much space for empathy! Even when the feelings of others are directly opposite to yours, don’t judge. Let go of your biases and be open to new perspectives. Look at it as an opportunity to better understand what they’re experiencing and expressing.
  2. Encourage the quiet ones. Make it a point to encourage people to have a say. The simple act of encouraging the quiet ones will empower everyone around you.
  3. Take a personal interest. Show genuine curiosity about the lives of those who work with you, show your interest by asking questions about their lives, their challenges, their families, their aspirations. Showing personal interest without sounding intrusive is the strongest way to build relationships. 

Ref: Minter Dial, Heartificial Empathy: Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence

Hidden Brain. You 2.0: The Empathy Gym.NPR.org

HBR, Emotional Intelligence: Making Empathy Central to your Company Culture by Jamil Zaki, May 30 2019

* For Training,Workshop, Counseling and Coaching please connect with us at 9818105631 or mail us at training@samunnati.org

 

 

 

Sibling Rivalry

 

 

 

As long as families have existed “Sibling rivalry” has existed too. The moment we say Sibling, rivalry seem to follow it automatically. Despite the fact that there are many solid sibling relationships in families, it’s typically rivalry that gets the most attention.

What causes Sibling Rivalry?

Siblings may be of different genders, of different ages and temperaments, and worst of all, they have to share the one or two people they want most for themselves: their parents.

  • Position in the family. The older child may be burdened with the responsibility of looking after the younger ones, or the younger one may be burdened with living up to the image of the elder one, or catch up with him all the time.
  • Daughter may resent what she perceives as the preferential treatment being given to her brother by her mother or the son may resent his father treating his sister more favourably.
  • A five and an eight-year-old can play some games together but when they become thirteen and sixteen, they will likely have very different interests. Parents may have been told all along that they should treat their children equally, but it is not always possible. Different rules will have to be set for different age and requirements but this can cause resentment among the children. If parents allow a nineteen year old to stay late in the evening with friends his sixteen year old sister will resent it if she is not given the same privileges.

Here are some do’s and don’ts that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Don’t make comparisons(e.g., “I don’t understand it. When Hamsini was his age she would pack her bag herself). Each child feels he is unique and rightly so; he is his own person and resents being evaluated only in relation to someone else. Instead of comparison, each child in the family should be given his own goals and levels of expectation that relate only to him.
  • Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Anger is not something we should try to avoid at all costs. It’s an entirely normal part of being human, and it’s certainly normal for siblings to get angry with each other and have the impulse to physically fight. Parents need to assure them that they get angry too, but there are ways to express it and it is not permitted to behave in cruel and dangerous ways. Sit down with them, acknowledge the anger (e.g., “I know you hate Akash right now but you cannot kick him.”), and talk it through.
  • Whenever possible, let brothers and sisters settle their own differences. However, use your judgment to step in and mediate if the contest is between unequals or if the situation looks like it is getting out of control. Sometimes this could result in long-lasting grudges among grown siblings. Bullying could be another fall out if the fights between siblings are not monitored. Bullying is discussed in detail in the next section.

Some Useful Sibling Conflict Resolution Strategies

  • Don’t take sides. You don’t know how long the child who is founding pounding on his brother was putting up with his taunting before taking this drastic measure. However when the sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal violence OR when the number of incidents of rivalry becomes excessive, take action. Talk with your children about what is going on. Provide suggestions on how they can handle the situation when it occurs.
  • Reward appropriate behaviour. Parents often don’t notice when children are putting up their best behaviour and notice only fights and arguments. Behaviors that are ignored or unrewarded decrease while behaviors that receive attention or rewarded increase.
  • Introduce a family plan to help with the situation that provides negative and positive consequences for all concerned. When there is a fighting or shouting as a consequence you can introduce temporary withdrawal of screen time. If a day goes without fighting you could give them a reward that you consider appropriate like play a game with them or give them a favourite snack etc.

Sibling Bullying

Sibling bullying is not necessarily an isolated moment of anger. It might reflect an ongoing pattern in a sibling relationship in which one may be emotionally or physically abusive toward another. It may take the form of denigrating, shaming, embarrassing, or threatening behavior.

Consequences of Sibling Bullying

Victims of sibling bullying may minimize, suppress, or deny the emotional pain caused by their abuse–with regard to their anger, hurt, fear and anxiety. They may also internalize their anger, viewing themselves as being at fault.

A child who is the victim of sibling bullying develops a sense of helplessness and isolation, feeling confused, frustrated and powerless. When such suffering is ignored, a child does not feel safe within his own home and may withdraw seeking connection with his parents.

Such a child who is neglected at home may turn into a bully himself outside his home. He may develop a longing for connection with others which may, in turn, lead to associating with peers who similarly feel isolated, angry and powerless–whether seeking affiliation with gangs or resorting to addiction. On the other hand the hurt and anger may completely inhibit their desire to connect with others.

  • Be attentive to how siblings interact with each other. Closely monitor them if you suspect bullying is occurring.
  • Privately address any concerns you have about a child, whether in regard to behavior, school performance, feelings, etc.
  • Reward positive sibling interactions–including their working on a project together and sharing interests.
  • Provide your children with specific guidelines for resolving conflicts. Teach them problem-solving skills like assertive communication, negotiation, collaboration, compromise etc.
  • Teach them to verbalise their feelings.
  • Avoid making comparisons.
  • Make it very clear that any form of bullying will not be tolerated and there will be consequences.
  • Try to be consistent in your interactions with each child.
  • Be fully present with your child, truly attentive to them, without attending to other tasks.
  • Be alert to your interactions with them or with your spouse. Specifically, be alert to any discrepancy between what you say about bullying and behavior that may provide a different message.
  • Avoid playing favourites with your children, based on any of their traits and qualities.

Siblings can create certain stresses, but if they are overcome successfully, they will give your children resources that will serve them well later in life. Siblings learn how to share, how to come face to face with jealousy, and how to accept their individual strengths and weaknesses. As they watch you handle sibling rivalry with equanimity and fairness, they will be gaining knowledge that will be valuable when they, too, become parents.

Image courtesy: www.scholastic.com, hypnosisdownloads.com

 

 

 

Healthy and Unhealthy Perfectionism

 

Perfectionism is a personality trait that some people do have, some people don’t have. It’s a complete a continuum in between the two extreme points. You can have a little bit of perfectionism in some areas, and in another you don’t.

Usually we associate perfectionism with positive qualities. A person who is a perfectionist has high quality standards, they are not putting out junk, they can be trusted with other people’s projects, they’re going to do a good job. This is all good.

And when we say “I’m a perfectionist” we wear it like a badge of honor (I ore this champion medal for long time).

Perfectionism & Creativity.

Perfectionism can make creating really stressful. One of the reasons is, we want to keep those high standards, don’t want to make mistakes and fear failure more like others. So we tend to name some works of ours as “failures” even though they might have turned out quite all right, but it’s just not the same as we imagined, so we’re disappointed with ourselves.

Study of personalities of creative genius in Positive Psychology

Study 1: by Psychologist and creativity researcher Frank X. Barron
In this study few creative genius where shown certain pictures to understand their creative level and then measured on certain parameter.
All of them scored very high strong sense of self: ego, strength, all components of Positive Psychology, mental illness. Even metrics of non mental health & high IQ level was involved.
In his studies he found out that creative genius may be at once naïve and knowledgeable, being at home equally to primitive symbolism and to rigorous logic. He is both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive, more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner than the average person.

Study 2 : Creative researcher Mihaly Csikszentnihalyi
This is he had to say about his research: “If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes: instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”
So the crux of his research is that creative people with ‘messy minds’ but with positiveness. They have their your own goal.
One of the genius mind studied in this research was Picaso the famous painter.
Most commonly we will like to believe that he will have steady growth comparing to his genius capabilities. We think each sketch process goes incrementally high from one after another. This growth is shown in the picture 1.

Source : Positive Psychology program of Martin Seligman 

But the actual is not picture 1. This growth is filled with trials, error, up and down as shown in Picture 2.

Source : Positive Psychology program of Martin Seligman 

In fact the same goes with other creative genius Einstein, Edison, Shakespeare.
One of the major feature of these creative genius is ‘Openness to experience ‘ is a major factor in creativity. This ensures flexibility and has the caliber to accept erros, failures, faults right next to their perfection.

Experience of Art therapist Ms Rita Pailial in Shimla who works with Perfectionist

She is a coloring book creator, a creativity facilitator, and this what she said about Perfectionism:
“I find myself encountering and engaging perfectionists on pretty much a daily basis. The perfectionism I encounter in my students, my child, my friends, and the colorists who discover my books/workshops/events comes in all different levels.

Some of them
• struggle over what color to choose and uttering “I just don’t want to mess it up with the wrong choice!”.
• Or often saying: “I’m the only one who isn’t getting it!”).

Over this past year of engagement with fellow perfectionists, I have begun noticing trends in their thinking pattern, problem solving, self acceptance level, tackling new situations, and specially if the situation does not go according to their definition of “perfectly.”

Contribution of Dr. Jessica Rohlfing Pryor:  core faculty member at Northwestern University’s Counseling Program from The Family Institute.

Perfectionism becomes unhealthy—called maladaptive perfectionism—when there’s an unrealistic attempt at reaching excessively high or impossible goals.

An example of situation shared by her as a maladaptive perfectionism: “Feeling a pressure to be the best at everything. For example, being the number-one student athlete and the valedictorian and getting into the ‘best’ university,” said Pryor. “One person’s ability and energy to obtain, let alone remain at, that level of excellence over a long period of time—that’s impossible to do.”

In a 2017 study, researchers examined perfectionism among college students are high globally over the past three decades and found that three types of perfectionism have increased among recent generations of students.

1. Self-oriented perfectionism: Individuals attach irrational importance to being perfect, hold unrealistic expectations of themselves, and useless self-evaluations.

Associated with: negative physiological reactions to life stress and failure, clinical depression, anorexia nervosa, and suicidal ideation.

2. Socially prescribed perfectionism: Individuals believe their social context is excessively demanding, that others judge them harshly, and that they must display perfection to secure approval.

Associated with: anxiety, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation to greater degrees than those with self-oriented perfectionism.

3. Other-oriented perfectionism: Individuals impose unrealistic standards on those around them and evaluate others critically.

Associated with: higher vindictiveness, hostility, and the tendency to blame others, in addition to lower altruism, compliance, and trust.

We are going to organize a workshop on perfectionism ‘Dose of Imperfect @ workplace’. Join us to know the

Webinar Flow
• Root belief system
• Unhealthy Perfectionism @ workplace
• Perfectionism & Making mistake
• Mental well being
• Technique: Pomodoro Technique
Benefit:
• Better teamwork, reduce team conflict , increase productivity, better planning and prioritization management & overall well being

Take Away
• Hear inner voice
• Evidence based action items
• Research based tools