Archive for the ‘Health and Well-Being’ category

7 Practical Ways To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence And Mental Dexterity

January 16, 2009

For these couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a number of courses that are coming up for the year. A significant time was also spent on customizing them to fit into clients’ demands. In addition, the training and coaching sessions have also be rather packed. A very fruitful start for this New Year indeed.

The past 3 days were spent conducting the highly intensive training on “Emotional Intelligence at Work”. As the training is customized for a major government institution, I highlighted specific examples where the participants could display Emotional Intelligence (EI) for themselves as well as in their daily dealings with their bosses, colleagues and customers (BCC). Through the sharing and discussions, I was extremely pleased to know that the participants found even more ways to apply emotional intelligence beyond what was taught. Now that’s empowerment for them!

Leading on, here are some of the practical things you can do to raise your Emotional Intelligence as well as the agility of your mind:

1. Appreciating others for the effort done in the projects, irregardless of the extend of the success.

2. Have daily greetings to your fellow colleagues, and mean what you say.

3. Think positively empowering thoughts and be solution-oriented to maintain your mental health.

4. Harness the quick learning from every task for future improvements.

5. Reflect on your own behavior and the outcome of your action.

6. Work on mending the differences with others instead of harboring animosity.

7. Give yourself a reason to arrive at work with enthusiastic energy each day.

(Source: wekie.com)

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If You Are Happy, You Are Worth At Least $20,000

December 8, 2008

Suppose you were given the choice of hanging around with happy hearty people or slugging it out with the depressed gloomy grouches, which will you choose? And why?

Well, chances are, most people do prefer the smiling faces with that sincere joyous mood than to see the frowns on the facials.

It’s little wonder that we are so driven to want to be happy. Perhaps the journey towards happiness might be a bit mystical and obscure, with the unpredictable climate of changes in different life dimensions. However, being around happy people do seem to help alleviate those drowsy blues.

According to Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, who has just recently concluded a study on happiness and its interactive results, he said, “Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you,”

Hailing from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Christakis, a trained physician and social scientist, affirmed that, “Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”

The study by his team of researchers had analyzed data, statistics and information ranging from 1983 to 2003. It was based on the happiness of 4,739 people as well as their social connections. These included their spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors and co-workers.

It emerged with evidence that the more happy people you know and surround yourself with, the more likely you will be happier yourself. Hence, happiness is contagious, it gets “spread”.

Co-researcher, Associate Professor of Political Science, James H. Fowler from The University of California, San Diego said their research discovered the link that “if your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.”

Drawing from further data, they determined that your neighbor’s joyfulness and delight can improve your own happiness by 34 percent. Your happy network and contacts will increase your joy by 15 percent, while your friend’s happy friend or your closed one’s elated friend adds 10 percent to your chances of being happy.

Finally, your friend’s friend’s friend, the 3rd degree contact, will add 6 percent to your personal joyfulness level. Be with any additional unhappy person, and you become unhappier by 7 percent concurrently as each negative person enter your contact.

This means that your happiness level is able to affect people around you and your close acquaintances.

A note to add, the researches are not advising that you change all melancholy your friends, but strive to work together for an improved relationship.

Extending from other previous studies, they asserted that an extra $5,000 improved your chances of happiness by 2 percent. This, Dr. Christakis, would imply that “a happy friend is worth about US $20,000”

That’s what I call a golden smile. 🙂

(Source: wekie.com)

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Brain “Malfunctions” Whenever You Need It To Work Most

November 3, 2008

You’ve been through this before. It was crunch time. Your future depended on it. Your happiness came down to this crucial moment. The turning point of your life beckoned. It’s make it or break it time, do or die…

Yet as you cleared your throat to speak, nothing came out. It’s not that you’ve lost your ability to articulate. But your mind just went blank. Nothing came out of your mouth. Try as you might, your brain simply refused to conjure up the next piece of sensible information. It went on strike, right on the dot.

And it couldn’t pick a better time; especially when you are attempting that 10-points examination question to graduate, bracing yourself for that love confession sentence which you’re dying to utter, and of course, the moments of awkward public speech silence. It was still on strike.

Yes, your brain left you to hang… high and dry.

And here’s why your precious brain decides to leave for a short tea-break or ‘vacation’ whenever you need it to report for work:

1. You don’t understand or know your own natural biorhythm. I call this your PPPs, “Peak Performance Period”.

2. You’ve yet to learn how to focus on what motivates. As a result you give in to distractions, internally and environmentally.

3. Your own physical body does not acquire the sufficient or suitable nutrition to keep your brain working healthily.

4. You don’t have the right motivation and driving desire to propel yourself.

5. The lack of energy and rest makes us too tired for intensive mental work.

6. You got overwhelmed by the tasks and challenges that face you. You felt too ‘microscopically and atomically small’ for such a gigantic glorious mission that might change the history of mankind and the surface of the earth.

7. Anxiety, worry, frustrations, fear took over your mind and imagination instead of you being relaxed. The stress you experienced made your mind went ‘blank’

8. It’s the result of poor thinking and working habits you’ve, intentionally or un-wittedly, adopted over the years.

9. You have yet to master your mind to a reasonable, applicable level. The techniques of mind mastery and brain power continue to lie undiscovered for you.

10. You’ve never “wanted it to work” in the first place. You saw the act as a need and as an obligation instead of an all-inspiring purpose. Hence it’s because of your attitude towards the work.

(Source: wekie.com)

Grab It Before It Grabs You! 7 Key Steps To Get A Grip On Stress In Your Life.

September 12, 2008

It was another ultra packed and fast paced day for me yesterday. After wrapping up the 2 full days training on “Time and Stress Management” for a major statutory board, I sped unto the next venue to conduct the “What Women Want” seminar in the evening. Time was of the essence while I had to cover the contents of both these trainings and still move from one place to another in double quick time. What a “stressful” day… And I LOVED IT!!! 😀

Stress does occur in our lives. It is a respond to our characters, our attitudes and our lifestyles. The key difference lies in how you grabble with it, turning whatever is seemingly negative into a positive motivator in your life.

Here are the key steps to enable you to better assess your stress causing factor and grab it before it grabs you:

1. Find out what stresses you, the stressor.

2. Talk about it with some coach or mentor or simply someone you can trust who is positive. If there’s no one, talk to yourself.

3. Discover if there could be other inner causes that lead you to feel this way. Decide if it’s an integration of factors or an isolation of one.

4. Test out your respond to your own stress level by removing that stressor or those factors. How do you feel now?

5. Note down what changes occurred if you view that stressor differently? For example: giving it less importance, making it so overwhelming?

6. Commit to view it from a positive paradigm that you’ve developed and allow it to be a “push-motivational” factor from now on.

7. Adjust and re-adjust your lifestyle to work around that stressor.

Why You Should Get Enough Sleep And What Happens If You Don’t

April 7, 2008

In one of the project that focused on researching the topic, John Soh presented his speech on sleep deprivation. It was laden with interesting facts and effects of sleep, or the lack of it. His presentation impressed the audience with his dry humor and tongue-in-cheek suspense inducing comments.

It’ll be interesting to share with you his research and you can read on further details following the links of the source.

The sleep deficit problem

More and more people are deprived of proper and adequate sleep.

About 30 percent of Australians will experience sleep disorders during their lives, from insomnia to sleep apnoea.
(http://www.sleepcentre.com.au/sdrc/me-sleepless.php)

Nearly 75% of American adults are experiencing some form of sleeping problem at least several nights a week.
(http:// http://www.liporidpm.com/sleep-benefits.htm)

Asia, or even Singapore is not spared as well. Many sleep clinics have been appearing in the country to treat the increasing number of sleepless people. The sleep clinic in SGH opened in Jan 2002, where it only had 37 patients. But in September the same year, the number rose to 180!

While exercise and movement are essential for stimulating circulation and the elimination of toxins, rest and sleep provide an opportunity for the body to cleanse, repair, and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level.
(http://www.monumentalmassage.com/articles/restorative_benefits_of_sleep.html)

Effects of sleep deprivation

Mental effects

· Any amount of sleep deprivation will diminish mental performance:

People who suffer from sleep deprivation are experience reduced concentration. You are more likely to make mistakes and have a slower reaction time.

“one complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood alcohol level”

– Dr Mark Mahowald, professor of neurology, university of Minnesota medical school
(http://www.familymatters.tv/level_4/health/sleepdeprivation.htm)

For example, in a prospective, randomized study looking at the effects of sleep deprivation in residency training, interns working a “traditional schedule” made 36% more serious medical errors compared with interns under an “intervention schedule” that included more sleep. Another study demonstrated that traditional-schedule interns had more than twice the rate of attentional failures when compared with the intervention-schedule interns (Langdrigan, Lockley, New England Journal of Medicine)
(http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/full/64/7/E25?etoc)

Health problems

· Increased risk of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

· Causes us to grow old faster and develop age-related illnesses

“metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging. We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and memory loss”

– Dr Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago
(American Diabetes Association General Meeting, 2001)
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/481340.stm)

Benefits of having adequate sleep

What is adequate? For adults, 7-9 hrs

· Health benefits

Much of the body’s healing work takes place while you sleep. Without the need to attend to all of the functions of daily life, your immune system and organs of detoxification can focus attention on cleansing and restoration. This is the time when your body does major housecleaning, taking care of wastes that have accumulated during the day and repairing cellular damage.

Benefits:

Lower blood pressure

Reduce risk of cardiovascular problems and other serious diseases

Look and feel better and more radiant

Lose weight with less effort

Much research has been done => all point to the same conclusion
Sleep more to improve health!
(http:// http://www.liporidpm.com/sleep-benefits.htm)

· Mental benefits

Evidence for a beneficial role of sleep in cognition is rapidly emerging in the cognitive and neuroscience literature. These studies isolate sleep’s benefit by comparing a sleep period with a non-sleep-deprived wake period. The paradigm is as simple as it is insightful: control participants train on a cognitive task in the morning and are tested 12 hours later; they are compared with a group that trains at night, sleeps, and is tested 12 hours later.

There are two groups of participants: the wake-control group and the sleep-experimental group. The wake-control participants engage in a motor-learning task at 10 am, where they practice a particular set of sequences on a keyboard. The last few trials of the training session are taken as a marker of their best performance (speed and accuracy). Next, they are tested on the same task at 10 pm (12 hours later). The sleep-experimental participants learn the task at 10 pm, sleep overnight, and are tested at 10 am on the following morning. The sleep group shows significantly greater improvement in performance, from training to testing, when compared with the wake controls. This experimental paradigm has been successfully employed to show the benefit of sleep for several forms of neural processing, including insight formation, novel-language perception, visual discrimination, and motor skills.

The loss of benefits due to the lack of sleep includes missing sleep-dependent cognitive processing such as memory consolidation and insight formation.
(http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/full/64/7/E25?etoc)

7 Simple Steps To A More Positive Day

March 27, 2008

As we discussed the concepts over at yesterday’s “Emotional Intelligence at Work” training, many of my participants discovered the importance of having a more positive day. The constant living in negativity will cause vast deterioration of an individual over time. Therefore, we must all indeed be informed of the benefits to creating a better day.

In the midst of all the laughter and jokes we shared at the training, the message regarding applying our Emotional Quotient in life also came through vividly. It touched my heart to hear from them their renewed commitment to live an improved lifestyle.

Here are the simple steps you can take to have a more positive day:

1. Decide how you want your mood to be for the day.

2. Create strong enough reasons for your decision.

3. Stay away from potential emotional distractions.

4. Refuse to let negativity affect your choice emotion.

5. Focus on your tasks for the day.

6. Reward yourself positively for a job well done.

7. Review your day for better self-improvement.

There has never been a better time to begin taking these steps. After all, our emotions need recharging on the positive polarity too.

Wishing you a life where you Excel Beyond Excellence always!

Practical Ways To Prevent “Burn Out” In Your Life

March 14, 2008

Over these years of my training and consultation, I’ve worked with many people who admit that there had been times where they were on the verge of breaking down and burning out. These feelings of pushing beyond limits usually stem from the pressures of life and the high demands of oneself.

Listed below are some of the practical things you can do to prevent burn out from happening:

1. You must first insist that maintaining balance in your life is a priority.

2. If things get too stressed up, talk it out. Share with a current friend, a respected, trusted person.

3. There are always hotlines you can call up if you want to share or discuss anonymously. Some people do prefer relating to a neutral party or a stranger on the other line.

4. Make a new friend. You can also gain new perspectives as you communicate with that acquaintance. However, have a positive friend instead of one with negative emotional burden.

5. Practice instant relaxation of your physical muscles. Simple movements of swinging, swaying or stretching will do wonders too.

6. For emotional aspects, visualize the fulfillment of positive goals and enriching environment. Meditate on calmer thoughts.

7. Insist on cutting down certain demanding factors in your life.

8. Remember what keeps you on track in life. Review through your inner motivations. Hold on to these keys and allowing them to inspire you.

9. Learn to let go of the small things. To take it further, letting go of past major trespasses is an even greater virtue.

10. Allow the media to help you take your mind off. A funny movie coupled with cheerily music always cheers a person up.

Do take time to run through these ways, applying them as soon as you can and as often as possible. You’ll find that renewed vigor will spur you towards Excelling Beyond Excellence!