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Category: Psychology

How to Fall Back in Love with Your Job

Filed under: Attitude, Happiness, Psychology, Self Reflection

With February upon us, staying immune to some variation of the “winter blues” becomes almost as difficult as avoiding the flu. A general sense of restlessness and discontent may try to worm its way into various facets of your life, including your career. Or, perhaps, after the buzz and excitement of the holiday season, your day-to-day feels less satisfying.

You may look back on your current position and wonder when the passion began to fade. This spurs the question, should you stay, or should you go? As a firm believer in second chances, we suggest taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of your experience in this role before kicking it to the curb.

With that said, how do you reignite the spark?

Review the impact you’ve had on the company
Take a moment to look back on your time with this company. Review the role you’ve played in getting your organization or department to where they are now versus when you first started. While doing this, create a list of your achievements and consider if you could continue building upon them. Is this organization a better place in some sense because of the work you’ve done–are you a more skilled professional because of the work that you’ve had the opportunity to do?

Uncover the root of the problem
Sometimes the cause of your dissatisfaction can be easily pinpointed to an exact incident, but more often than not, your current feelings have been built by layers of varied occasions or relationships. In the case of the latter, it may take some self-reflection to reveal when and why you fell out of love. If you’ve had a bad experience with a coworker, fixating on your understanding of that particular incident is an easy route to take, but have you thought about it from their end or looked at the overarching actions that caused the experience to occur? Opening your mind to process a situation from an emphatic approach frequently generates a different perspective and greater respect for the people on the other end.

Look at your relationships
Consider the relationships you’ve formed during your time in this role. How have your colleagues helped you grow, and do they still have knowledge to impart? For many of us, a large portion of our experience is shaped by the relationships we maintain, and a positive or negative team dynamic could make or break your perception. If you’ve been working with the same individuals for a while, maybe you’ve settled into a predictable routine. Try shaking things up by asking your colleagues about their professional background or past experiences. You may be surprised by what you could learn from their past lessons.

Improve your view
Many of us spend a similar amount of time in our workspace as we do in our home. Decorating your house to make it feel like your home is done without question, but often we don’t put thought into personalizing our workspace. Consider the saying that the home is a reflection of the self. Think about that phrase in terms of your work area–a cluttered, impersonal space won’t help you feel connected to the work you’re doing. Of course, you can’t take the same creative liberties in your office as you could in your home. But consider adding some personal touches through photographs of family and friends, interesting desk accessories, plants, a calendar that reflects a personal interest, or books for inspiration. By introducing these elements you create a space that is familiar and comfortable, thereby naturally uplifting your mood.

Broaden your connections
Often in an office-setting, we become unintentionally socially affixed to members of our department or those that we sit near. Lack of exposure to other business areas may be causing you to miss out on great opportunities to broaden your network. Take control of this by asking a coworker from a different department out for lunch or coffee. By engaging with other sections of your company, you may acquire a fresh perspective and understanding of your organization and gain a lasting professional connection along the way.

Communicate what you’re feeling
As in any relationship, maintaining open communication with your teammates is a critical component to success. What feels obvious to you might go unnoticed by others. If appropriate, schedule time to sit down with your boss or teammates and try to talk through your thoughts. Outside perspectives may shed light on the root of your feelings and serve as a reminder of why you fell in love with your job in the first place.

Goal-setting
Now that you’ve done the work, reflecting on your past achievements and company growth, it’s time to look to the future: what could you accomplish in your role this year? Analyze a high-level perspective of your department’s objectives–are there projects in the pipeline that appeal to you? Do you see an opportunity to learn a new skill or strengthen an existing one? If you answered yes to either of those questions, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with someone else building on the work you started. Begin with the end goals and break them down into phases, then into actionable items, until you have an overarching project plan for success. Has the flame returned yet?

As with most things, we frequently want what we can’t have and overlook the value of what’s in front of us. If you’re willing to put in the work, you may find your “relationship” (aka your job) is stronger than ever before.

9 Skills that Pay Dividends Forever

Filed under: Good Habits, Personality, Professional Development, Psychology, Self Reflection

Some of the most important skills in life are not taught in school. Here are 9 you won’t want to miss out on.

The further along you are in your career, the easier it is to fall back on the assumption that you’ve made it and have all the skills you need to succeed. The tendency is to focus all your energy on getting the job done, assuming that the rest will take care of itself. Big mistake.

New research from Stanford tells the story. Carol Dweck and her colleagues conducted a study with people who were struggling with their performance. One group was taught to perform better on a task that they had been performing poorly. The other group received a completely different intervention: For a task they performed poorly, they were taught that they weren’t stuck and that improving their performance was a choice. They discovered that learning produces physiological changes in the brain, just like exercise changes muscles. All they had to do was believe in themselves and make it happen.

When the groups’ performance was reassessed a few months later, the group that was taught to perform the task better did even worse. The group that was taught that they had the power to change their brains and improve their performance themselves had improved dramatically.

The primary takeaway from Dweck’s research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential.

The act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.

Still, your time is finite, and you should dedicate yourself to learning skills that will yield the greatest benefit. There are nine skills that I believe fill the bill because they never stop paying dividends. These are the skills that deliver the biggest payoff, both in terms of what they teach you and their tendency to keep the learning alive.

Continue reading the original article on Inc…

Simple ways to stretch out your summer vacation, according to cognitive psychology

Filed under: Psychology, Vacation

Recently, my boyfriend and I completed a one-week road trip from the California Redwoods to Portland, Oregon. When I returned to work and everyone asked how my trip was, rather than responding with the typical “Too fast,” I responded that it was great.
Lazy, hazy days these were not. We did so much, saw so much, and oh my goodness, ate so much: homemade posole under the stars with friends in Sonoma, fresh-caught Dungeness crabs on the Oregon coast, Roman-style pizza in Portland, and an unhealthy amount of beef jerky on the road. We hiked, swam, paddled, and laughed between mountains, lakes, and beaches.
It felt satisfying, eye-opening, and varied. And it felt long.

According to Marc Wittmann, a psychologist and the author of Felt Time: The Psychology of How We Perceive Time, I was experiencing what he calls “the classic holiday effect.”

Click here to read the rest on Quartz >> 

8 Habits of Considerate People

Filed under: Good Habits, Psychology

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.” It’s true. Being kind and considerate softens people and makes them malleable to your way of thinking.

But I see another meaning there, too. I think he’s also saying that being considerate of others is an integral part of what it means to be human. Charles Darwin would have agreed. He argued that our instinct to be considerate is even stronger than our instinct to be self-serving.

As obvious as that may seem, it’s only recently that neuroscience has been able to explain why. Research conducted by Dacher Keltner at Berkeley showed that our brains react exactly the same when we see other people in pain as when we experience pain ourselves. Watching someone else experience pain also activates the structure deep inside the brain that’s responsible for nurturing behavior, called the periaqueductal gray.

Being considerate of others is certainly a good career move, but it’s also good for your health.

Click here to read the rest on TalentSmart >>

Five Ways Mindfulness Will Launch Your Career

Filed under: Psychology, Stress, Your Career

Mindfulness is an increasingly popular notion in the workplace, with companies such as Apple, Yahoo, Starbucks, and Google using it to their benefit. Google, for example, offers employees a 19-hour course on the subject, which is so popular that thousands of Googlers take it each year.

So what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a simple yet effective form of meditation that enables you to gain control of unruly thoughts and behaviors. People who practice mindfulness are more focused, even when they are not meditating. Mindfulness is an excellent technique to reduce stress because it stops you from feeling out of control, stops you from jumping from one thought to the next, and stops you from ruminating on negative thoughts. Overall, it’s a great way to make it through your busy day in a calm and productive manner.

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >>

7 Tips to Improve Your Memory

Filed under: Cognitive Ability, Communication, Focus, Psychology, Strategy

Answer before you have an answer

Learning ability is probably the most important skill you can have.

Take it from Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel, authors of Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning.

“We need to keep learning and remembering all our lives,” they write. “Getting ahead at work takes mastery of job skills and difficult colleagues … If you’re good at learning, you have an advantage in life.”

And to learn something is to be able to remember it, say the authors, two of whom are psychology professors at Washington University in St. Louis.

Unfortunately, lots of the techniques for learning that we pick up in school don’t help with long-term recall — like cramming or highlighting.

To get over these bad habits, we scoured “Make It Stick” for learning tips.

Click here to read the rest on TIME >>

5 Remarkably Powerful Phrases That Will Help You Get What You Want

Filed under: Attitude, Communication, Confidence, Good Habits, Psychology

Would you like to be better at getting what you want from your employees, co-workers, customers, bosses, kids, and partner or spouse? Sometimes a change in wording is all you need.

That advice comes from best-selling author and executive coach Wendy Capland. Over the years, she’s learned that certain words and phrases minimize what you have to say, making your requests ineffective. Others have surprising power to influence your listeners. “They increase our effectiveness in communicating clearly and up our ability to get what we want,” she says.

Here are some phrases Capland says are particularly helpful at getting the desired response. Next time you want something from someone, try one of them out, and see if it doesn’t make a difference:

1. What I heard you say is …

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>