Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Breathe deeply through your nose into your belly and exhale completely through your mouth. Make a sound. Perhaps a sigh. Put a hand on your heart as you breathe and you get an extra bonus.
That tiny break in the action gives your body a chance to shift from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (healing; rest and digest.) It only took me 108 seconds to breathe in deeply to a count of 4 and breathe out fully for 8. I did that 3 times. Did you try it? This particular breath helps normalize blood pressure. Right now I need that.
Why is that important? The “outside” world is causing a lot of fear and anxiety these days and that continually stimulates fight or flight. That sympathetic system is really useful when we are in acute danger. The adrenaline and cortisol it produces are mighty handy (along with 50 or so other biochemicals) when we truly need it.
When we activate it too often however, our body doesn’t get an adequate chance to rest, repair and heal. It impacts the strength of our immune function. It makes us less able to access our creative resources.
Chronic stress causes illness, short term stupidity, and is highly contagious.
Even a happiness coach can see how tough things are out there. I’m no Pollyanna – my happiness is hard won from conscientious attention to my in-the-moment choices.
Hence my suggestion you breathe, consciously and on purpose more often. It’s becoming imperative that we as leaders get our own reactions under control.
I’m wrote this on 5-31-2020 It’s graduation time. For all leaders.
Not only are you responsible for your own mental health in the middle of this chaos – you are responsible for those you lead as well.
Time to step up.
In order to guide your people through these troubled times, you may need to rise above who you’ve been up until now. You might want to create a perspective that gives you the ability to create safe emotional space for the people you lead. Goodness knows we need that.
We all wish things were different. But they are not. And all indications are they are going to get worse. So how do we – even in the complexity of current crises – find a way to create positivity?
To create possibility? To ask the question – “What does this make possible?”
This new reality is requiring us to all elevate to a greater level of emotional intelligence and awareness.
Whether you’ve thought about this much or not – you’re up at bat. Whether you asked for this, or just found yourself in a leadership position – this could be your finest hour.
Whether yours is one of the companies that is benefiting from the crisis because you were in the right place with the right product, or because you brilliantly pivoted to be in the right place – or – you are a business that is struggling with the loss of revenue, customers and now employees – YOU are still responsible for showing up as your best self in the midst of this crisis.
Okay – what does this have to do with breathing?
It’s becoming very apparent that those who are able to help care for others at this time are those who have strategies for taking care of themselves and those who know more than the average leader about how the human system actually operates.
When you know how to turn on the “chemistry of calm” you access more resources inside yourself and inspire the same in others.
There are so many simple and easy ways to create micro-moments of positivity. These accumulate and help us shift from negativity to positivity which open us resources inside our brain and strengthen our immune systems at a time when that is critically needed.
When you lead with clarity, compassion and love, when you increase your positivity to negativity ratio, when you become more expansive and more inclusive, you help unleash the best in others.
When you seek to understand and support people’s strengths you can increase their performance over 36%; when you focus on their weakness you can decrease their performance over 28% – that’s a 60 point spread and it depends on how you focus your attention.
When you use appreciating, asset focused and empowering questions you open up possibility. ‘What’s going well and why?’ ‘What’s possible here?’ ‘What can we learn?’ ‘Where’s the gift in this?’ (There’s more where these came from and if you want my favorite list you can email JoAnna@ReturnOnHappiness.com with the words Your Favorite Questions in the subject line, I’ll get them right over to you!
And most importantly at this critical time is seeking out all the places that you can be kind. Here’s a really interesting fact about kindness. Whether you are the giver of the kindness, the receiver of a kindness OR even an observer of a kind act being performed, your serotonin levels rise! Serotonin is known as the ‘rest and digest hormone.’ AND as if that wasn’t enough to make you want to create more of it, all three of you – giver, receiver and observer – also get a big boost of oxytocin as well. Oxytocin is known and the ‘tend and befriend’ chemical and it helps us build relationship and bond.
Recently I found an awesome Simon Sinek Video that will have you jumping out of your seat to do something nice for another!
Right now the world needs more kindness. You leader can do that – and influence many while doing it. Ask yourself frequently during the day – how can I be kind?
Kindness is a force – and if you want to read more about how that works take a few more moments and read K is for Kindness – it’s part of our 5 part leadership acronym staying on TRACK. Trust. Respect. Appreciation. Communication. Kindness.
As a leader – you’ve already had a lot to deal with – and now the intensity is heating up. If you need help – reach out please! I’m here to help regardless of your situation. It’s my job and my personal commitment. 561-279-0027 or JoAnna@ReturnOnHappiness.com
Now is the BEST time to sign up for our Positive Leadership Online interactive learning experience. If you’d like to save $77 on that course AND get a 45 minute complementary strengths session with me join us now. We need you! You’ll learn how to increase your emotional intelligence, create a practice of positivity, and join me on a journey of unfolding your “BEingness” as a leader.
Hop on over and DO IT NOW!
With love and kindness,