Re-think: adapting to extraordinary change with a positive frame of mind
‘The unconventional is becoming conventional’ Eric Ho
Following his inspiring and much-enjoyed webinar, A day in the life of a busy, successful ‘un-stressed’, ‘un-burnt out’ colleague, in May, Eric Ho has teamed up again with RPC to present Re-set, a series of five online events.
Ciara Cullen, Partner at RPC introduced the first of these, Re-think: adapting to extraordinary change with a positive frame of mind, on Thursday 1 October.
As a former in-house lawyer who retrained as a functional health coach before establishing Bumblebee Wellbeing. Eric knows the pressures all professionals, not just lawyers, are grappling with right now – and the effects they have on mental and physical wellbeing.
To kick the series off, Eric discussed how treating the root causes of emotional stress – traditionally seen as an unconventional approach – is rapidly supplanting the previously more common practice of relieving symptoms.
By turning our attention to our behaviours and calling out our emotions, we can get meaningful insights into the effects our modern lifestyles have on us and gain more control over them at the intersection of:
- Our health, particularly brain health;
- Our workplace productivity; and
- Our individual happiness.
This is particularly relevant for people who work in groups and even more so where those groups have become fragmented as a consequence of remote working.
There’s also a physical dimension to these factors as up to 85 per cent of our risk of suffering from chronic disease is down to environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and behaviour. Many of the choices we make in these areas are influenced by our mental wellbeing.
Turning things round begins with one ‘almost impossibly small’ first step towards changing our habits and behaviours. This is because small changes are easy to implement and, once we’ve made one, we’re more likely to adopt subsequent tweaks that, together, add up to significant and lasting change for good. In turn this boosts our self-efficacy, the term therapists and coaches use to describe our capacity to adopt new and beneficial behaviours. In time, these small changes will help us to:
- Turn towards our emotions. Our feelings are an indication of how well our most basic needs – such as safety, connection, respect, recognition and trust - are being met. By looking beyond symptoms, we start to identify root causes and unmet needs; [subtle but important distinction between “how we feel” and “what our feelings are”]
- Define our desired state. Whether it’s leading a great team or raising a family, look at how your desired state aligns with your core values. This will help you create a path and make the decisions that will take you there;
- Create success. To quote Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there.’ Call out and celebrate your successes, however small you think they are. Do the same with your colleagues to build a real feelgood factor in your teams. This will become a virtuous circle that draws others in, too;
- Check in on feelings. Acknowledge feelings and name to yourself what you notice, so if you can’t stop worrying about a problem, say to yourself “worry, worry, worry”. Refer to them in the third person (“worry” rather than “I worry”) as this will help you short-circuit unhelpful emotions and distance yourself from negativity.;
- Express gratitude. Studies have found that the simple exercise of expressing gratitude has a powerful effect on mental health. Among other things, it crowds out negative thoughts. Give it a go! and;
- API. We’re all communicating electronically far more than ever now and not every message comes across as it’s intended. Before taking offence at how an email / WhatsApp / text is worded – or indeed at how someone comes across in a personal interaction, Assume Positive Intent and look for the good in what’s being put to you.
In concluding, Eric urged delegates on the webinar to cultivate an experimental mindset with the above points and reiterated the importance of starting with that almost impossibly small step. ‘Failure is information,’ he told us.
And we can all learn from that.
Next up in the Re-set series is Re-fuel on 15 October, in which Eric will talk about the links between food, mood and a healthy brain and body.