give journaling a chance

Strive is very excited to share that our Clinical Director, Sharon Darmody has recently had her article "Give Journaling a Chance" published! Congratulations Sharon, we are all very proud of your work.  Please check out Sharon's article below on why we should all set aside some time to journal, the benefits may surprise you!    Give Journaling a Chance! We can learn a great deal about ourselves through Journaling by Sharon Darmody, Strive Occupational Rehabilitation     Through their Aristotle Project Google has identified psychological safety as the most important factor in determining team effectiveness. But where do teams start? Surely self-awareness must play a key role, right? When one understands themselves they are in a better position to understand others; a seemingly ominous task for any organisation. But are there tools that could help? And if so, what could possibly slow down the “monkey mind” that leads to so much of our behaviour, to help us take charge and lead the way? One tool that is readily available and easy to incorporate, but perhaps not used widely in corporate settings, is Journaling. Journaling provides an opportunity to dive under our “monkey mind “, understand our own position and the values at stake, and even provides a healthy outlet to release bottled emotions. This practice allows us to gain some clarity about our own drivers and triggers, and from there we are in a better position to interact with others. If Teams are striving for psychological safety then there really is no better platform to step off from than having a good understanding about your own view points before testing it with others. A team at a government department in Queensland, Australia tested this “tool” over a 12 week period; with fortnightly prompts provided and time allocated at the start of each staff meeting to journal. What did this look like? A team of 20 sits around a table at the beginning of their weekly meeting with a prompt like - ‘I’m at my best when’…. a timer is set and for the next 15 minutes the scratching of pens is all that can be heard while branch members explore the topic. When the phone alarm goes off there’s no further discussion, and the meeting continues. Whilst the sample size was small, outcomes demonstrated this practice could be promising. One participant expressed their satisfaction with the program by stating “I enjoyed the experience of journaling with colleagues. I felt that it reinforced that we are a safe environment to experiment in. I would love to participate in further sessions”. Safe to experiment… Haven’t we all been in meetings when a light bulb went off and we did nothing about it lest we be shot down in flames? If managers want creative, innovative solutions then don’t we want our employees to feel safe to experiment? Further results showed that 100% of participants strongly agreed or agreed that Journaling contributed to a positive workplace culture. And interestingly the team has continued this process even once the “12 week program” was complete. Surely feeling safe to experiment and having a positive culture is then reflected as psychological safety in the workplace? Lastly one of the journalers stated that “I found the novel concept and practice of journaling with my colleagues to be quite refreshing in the way that it “jammed” the usual mode of operation within the workplace. “ The standard way of operating within corporate organisations is changing, Google has challenged the norm. So shouldn’t we be changing too? Are the current practices really working for us? So if we are wanting effective teams and we want to build psychological safety surely activities that promote a positive workplace culture and encourage a willingness to experiment should be considered. Would you give journaling a chance? — Published on April 5, 2018  To check out where Sharon's article is published, follow the link to Thrive Gloabal     

strive's mindfulness program

There's a growing body of research out there that suggests we as people are becoming more easily distracted and have increasing difficulty in unhooking from unhelpful thoughts. So much so that it is estimated that we spend nearly half of the day thinking about something other than what we are doing!   So what is mindfulness? Put simply, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment at any given point in time. It is about being aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations within your body and opening up your awareness to experience these things in order to engage with the present moment.     So how can mindfulness help my organisation? In order to be mindful, we just need to be able to pay attention to the present moment. Sounds easy doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how absent minded we have become in modern life.  Regular mindfulness practice has many benefits to individuals and organisations including: improved focus, increased resilience, improved concentration, improved self-esteem and increased emotional agility just to name a few.   so what is a strive mindfulness program? Strive offers a variety of mindfulness programs for individuals and organisations from eight week programs to half and full day workshops. Strive's most common mindfulness program is the eight week program for organisations and teams and can cater for up to 15 participants.  For information relating to costs or to view some of the results of our mindfulness program click here. We look forward to hearing from you soon.   #StriveToBeMindful #Mindful2017  

Teaching Teams How To Fish

‚ÄčTeaching teams how to fish. How team leaders can set their teams up for success not stress!by Sharon Darmody, Strive Occupational Rehabilitation    In their latest book “The Healing Self”, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi outline the “Airport Solution” to chronic stress in the workplace. The “Airport Solution” summarizes strategies that can be implemented to reduce the stress of flying. These same strategies can be utilized in the workplace to reduce chronic stress. This is without a doubt timely, but what tools are available for Team Leaders? And how can these practices be easily incorporated into their work life to enhance team culture? When these tools are “sanctioned” by the workplace it not only helps relieve stress, but also gives the team the means to manage this stress both in and out of the workplace. So in providing these tools, we are not actually fishing for our team but we are, in fact, giving them the line and the right bait so they can fish for themselves. The strategies identified in “The Healing Self” are as follows:Detach yourself from the stressorBecome centeredRemain activeSeek positive outletsRely on emotional supportEscape if you must Let’s look at these individually. Detach yourself from the stressor:How can your team detach and separate from the stressors that are an absolute reality of life at work from time to time? Journaling is certainly one tool that is effective and easy to implement in the workplace. It can be used to self-counsel, debrief or just vent. Have you held a toolbox talk on the benefits of journaling and given everyone a journal to kick off the practice? Prompts can be provided to team members to assist with ideas for journaling; these can be general prompts or team specific prompts. As a Team Leader, could you weave this practice into the work day? Here’s an idea – you could start each team meeting with a ten minute journaling exercise. Become centered:What does this mean for your team? Perhaps a “Mindful Monday” 15 minute practice to start the week? Could you start each meeting with one minute of mindfulness to allow people to truly arrive before starting the agenda? Maybe a “lunch and learn” so people really know the benefits of these practices. By building these practices into the work day you also send the message that this is who we are and how we do things. It promotes the significance of the “Airport Solution”. Remain active:Have you considered booking in walking meetings? Does the workplace encourage people to take regular breaks during the day as respite from our sedentary lives? How is remaining active encouraged? I know at my workplace this was most successful when there were internal champions dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing. How could your team implement “squat challenges” and “minute plank breaks” into the working day? Perhaps organizing your work groups into teams for “step challenge for charity” could promote activity. There is nothing like a little competition to inspire people to get moving! Seeking positive outlets:We now know that we are more likely to hold on to the negative rather than the positive. So how do we learn to hang on to the positive? Could it be a “wins” board set up for all to see? How about ending team meetings with each person celebrating their “win of the week”? Maybe it could be as simple as asking your team how they have fun and incorporate it into the work week. Rely on emotional support:Firstly, do your team members have the skills to support one another? Practicing Mindful Listening is one way team members can support each other during difficult times. The mindful component distinguishes it from the distracted listening that we so often offer our colleagues. Once people have explored mindful listening you can use common language within your team that alerts team members that support is needed. For example, one team member might say “I am just off a call and feel shaken up; I need some mindful listening.” Team Members could practice by starting team meetings with each person having one (timed) minute to be “heard”. Listen out for – what is really going on? What are their challenges? What are their goals? What are their wins? Really enforce that this is a team that has the skills and will take the time to listen. This then lays the groundwork for emotional support. Escape if you must. Know that it is okay to escape, but ensure that it is seen as a last option. It’s really about the Team Leader providing team members with the tools for when the proverbial hits the fan. Tools such as breathing, journaling, seeking positive outlets, and seeking support from team members through mindful listening. But what happens if this does not change things? Escape. Go for a walk, go home to regroup, and come back the next day having safely recovered. Team Leaders have so much on their plate but incorporating the “Airport Solution” certainly seems to make sense. You are not only addressing the stress that is an absolute reality of our working worlds but you are also teaching the skill of how to do it for yourself. So once your team members learn how to fish and feel confident about their fishing prowess perhaps they will pass on this skill and teach someone else how to fish! — Published on May 16, 2018  To check out where Sharon's article is published, follow the link to Thrive Global.   


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