Your weekly Ergonomic Push has arrived.
This week we dive into the abyss of moods and how to get into a better state, which of course can lead to improved productivity.
A Harvard Business Review article explored the ways top executives changed their mood and their emotions at work. But, when they followed up further with the executives they discovered the reality of mixed results on getting to a better state and keeping the mood going long term.
So, they set out to discover a process of how to accomplish this and came up with CHE – calm, happy and energized.
Here are the steps:
1. Engaged Breathing
Breathing can help you achieve a physiological condition called coherence. This condition leads to improved mental clarity, focus, emotional stability and decision making. Here’s the technical stuff.
During coherence the sympathetic (speeding up) and parasympathetic (slowing down) branches of the autonomic nervous system are working in reciprocity. When this happens our heart rate follows the same pattern – it speeds up and then slows down. Slower, deeper breathing at a constant rate can help induce coherence because when we inhale our heart rate increases and when we exhale it decreases. This action helps our nervous system achieve this balance.
2. Activate a positive feeling
With breathing engaged begin to quietly focus on a person, place or thing you truly appreciate and/or are grateful for. Make sure you reactivate the actual feelings they elicit in you so that you re-experience them. Consider using visual and tactile cues (photographs, drawings, special objects, letters, etc.) and external stimuli like nature and music to deepen the feeling.
The idea is to stimulate the release of neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin and hormones like oxytocin. All of this can collectively improve the mood and outlook thereby helping us remain alert, curious and engaged.
3. Reframe Thinking
The idea here is to ask yourself one of more questions to assess your current thinking and help you decide if different thoughts might be more beneficial in your current situation. Here are some suggestions:
- What else is possible here?
- What is the opportunity in this situation?
- What really matters right now?
- What could I learn in this moment?
- What does my heart say? What does my gut say?
- What is a more useful/constructive/positive approach?
- What is the more desirable outcome?
4. Re-engage action
With breathing engaged, a positive feeling activated and reframed thoughts emerging the fourth step is to re-engage with a new attitude and behaviors and perhaps a different course of action.
No doubt this takes practice to achieve but learning anything new generally takes time. If you are not fully engaged with your body now this could be the first steps to getting there.
Remember, sit up straight, shoulders back arms relaxed and get up and move every 30-45 minutes at least.
Let us know how this works for you.