by Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron
Recently the Communications Workers of America – the union that represents T-Mobile employees — contested a T-Mobile Employee Handbook clause on maintaining a positive work environment. The clause reads as follows: “[e]mployees are expected to maintain a positive work environment by communicating in a manner that is conducive to effective working relationships with internal and external customers, clients, co-workers, and management.” Their reasoning was that – if employees are discontent – they need to be able to freely air that displeasure. The U.S. National Labor Relations Board agreed with them, ruling in favor of the union. “It’s official: employers can’t force you to be happy. Hallelujah,” cried the Guardian.
by Emma Seppala
We’ve all heard the phrase “Take a deep breath.”
Maybe we’ve even noticed how our breath changes depending on how we feel: short and shallow when stressed, deeper when we’re relaxed. It changes when we sigh, yawn, sob or laugh. But one thing we probably have not learned is that, just as the breath changes depending on how we feel, we can also change how we feel using our breath! This is revolutionary, folks, so listen up! It’s so hard to change how we feel: Can you talk yourself out of anger or anxiety? Can you talk yourself into going to sleep when you’re wound up?
- by Emma Seppala
Happy Holidays! In the spirit of love, warmth and companionship, I’ve made this infographic on the scientific benefits of Compassion!
We often think that we will gain happiness by achieving, receiving or attaining. We also think that in order to be happy, we have to receive love. Think again!
Research shows that our greatest fulfillment comes in large part from being connected to others and from helping them.
by Emma Seppala
Mindfulness is quickly following yoga in becoming a billion-dollar industry. It’s no surprise, then, that the popularity of meditation – one way to practice mindfulness – is also growing among CEOs and senior executives. Why are business leaders embracing meditation rather than, say, massage or ping-pong? Because there’s something to meditation that appears to benefit CEOs more than recreation or relaxation do alone.
by Matthieu Ricard
Although empathy is crucial for successful social interactions, excessive sharing of others' negative emotions may be maladaptive and constitute a
source of burnout. To investigate functional neural plasticity underlying the augmentation of empathy and to test the counteracting potential of
compassion, one group of participants was first trained in empathic resonance and subsequently in compassion. In response to videos depicting
human suffering, empathy training, but not memory training (control group), increased negative affect and brain activations in anterior insula and
anterior midcingulate cortex-brain regions previously associated with empathy for pain.
In contrast, subsequent compassion training could reverse the increase in negative effect and, in contrast, augment self-reports of positive affect. In addition, compassion training increased activations in a nonoverlapping brain network spanning ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and medial orbitofrontal cortex. We conclude that training compassion may reflect a new coping strategy to overcome empathic distress and strengthen resilience.