Our weekly Team NLP blog where you’ll find inspiration and actionable advice on how to build healthy habits, resilience and connections in our unprecedented times.
I hope you had time to experiment with the practical NLP exercises I gave you last week. This week I have been working on helping leaders develop more compassion as they deal with many challenging situation with staff and it struck me that many of the learnings are transferable so I am sharing them here too. First of all how can you help yourself to deal with your own feelings at this challenging time. Maybe you are shielding or caring for someone who is, worried about the furlough scheme coming to an end, already out of work, not sure what the future holds…that is probably all of us! Here are some activities you can do to help:
Journaling every day will give you some space to notice how you are feeling. This will create time and space for self-refection and self-awareness. You do not have to write very much; a few sentences will do. Ask yourself regularly the following questions:
How am I feeling? Many people have learned to suppress their emotions and maybe unaccustomed to noticing and articulating their feelings. However, we know from neuroscience that more fully experiencing what is going on lays a foundation for renewal and healing. Notice the trends that start to emerge and the triggers for how you are feeling – positive and negative. For example, maybe you feel more stressed if you haven’t had enough sleep or have drunk too much alcohol the night before or you haven’t made the time to stay in contact with your friends and family.
How am I looking after my own needs? Ask yourself what do I enjoy doing that helps me to manage my feelings? And how much time do I spend satisfying those needs right now? Here are some ideas about what you could do:
- A daily walk or jog
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating nutritious food
- Getting into a regular routine
- Take up a new hobby
- Taking an online exercise class
Ask yourself ‘What am I grateful for? Gratitude has been shown to improve well-being and mental health, renew energy and hope and encourage self-improvement. You can start by adding to your personal journal three things you are grateful for in your life right now.
A simple practice is to engage in deep and intentional breathing. Just a few deep breaths will help to re-align the Autonomic Nervous System when you feel stressed. It will slow your heart rate and restores the body to a calmer state. Take a moment for deep breathing when you notice rising fear, anxiety, or stress and before any important decisions. Take a moment during the day to tune into yourself and use deep breathing to shift into a calmer state.
Positive psychologists have shown that some people tend to frame the world optimistically, others pessimistically. Optimists often have the edge as leaders who don’t naturally see opportunity in change and uncertainty can experience more stress. When faced with too much stress the brain reacts with a modern version of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response that wild animal inspired in early civilisations. In organisations, this type of behaviour feeds on itself breeding fear and negativity that can spread and become the cultural norm.
Show Your Vulnerability
Opening yourself up to other’s empathy and compassion takes courage and vulnerability. This is all about sharing how you really feel rather than putting on an act. This will help to maintain your emotional stability and build up a close support network that is essential especially during turbulent times. If you are someone who experiences anxiety and emotional blockages you may find it useful to talk to others about your experiences. Sharing deeper feelings with those you trust can help you to process and overcome blockages. When you are willing to be vulnerable and authentic it is surprising how others are more likely to share their experiences as well which in turn makes it easier to establish a level of greater openness in day to day inter-actions. For some of you this shift in your reactions may feel rather uncomfortable at first so some of these simple steps may help. Start small and build up as you recognise the positive responses to your more open behaviour.
Really listen to others. This is not about listening for you to be heard. It is about listening for you to understand. We call this active listening and it is more difficult to do well than you might think. It is about being present for the other person without your focus on how you are going to respond or even defend your position. Ask others how they are feeling on a regular basis. Start a conversation with this and notice how they respond and start to open up over time. When others exhibit negative emotions validate these feelings as normal. Provide a safe space for them to express their feelings. This will help them to move past the anxiety and re-focus faster on their work.
Act with Compassion
Provide practical gestures when you can and check in on others if you haven’t heard from a neighbour or friend few days. Rather than assume they are ok, actually check in on them. It takes minutes to do and will really help. Finally, the compassionate people treat others as they themselves would want to be treated. Take the opportunity to ask yourself what feedback would you give to you about your rating as a compassionate person?
To your success…
Lindsey and Team NLP
If you would like to know how NLP can help you to emerge from lockdown with renewed clarity and energy sign up to our next free webinar ‘Change Your Life with NLP’ on the 23rd September at 7pm.
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