24 May 18

Wellbeing Monthly - Developing Supportive Relationships

Developing Supportive Relationships

Stephen Malloch, May 2018

 

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood” - Seneca, Roman philosopher (4 BCE – 65 CE)

 

Developing strong, supportive relationships takes time and effort. And in the busyness of a life of work and paying the bills, we can forget our very human need to have someone to talk to when we are feeling down, someone to share a laugh with, and someone to cheer us on when we are succeeding. Social isolation has been shown to significantly decrease life expectancy.

 

This month we reflect on what qualities contribute to a supportive relationship and tips for both getting out and about to meet new people and for deepening existing friendships.


CHALLENGES

Bring to mind the people who are important in your life – the people who support you, who cheer you on, who are there for you when you’re feeling down. Take a moment to make a list of the qualities you love about them. And then next time you meet with them, say ‘thank you’ to them for one or more of these qualities.  

If you’re feeling lonely, decide to do something about it. Call a friend and have a chat; arrange a dinner date; say hi to your next door neighbour and invite them in for a cup of tea; join a group and learn to dance, cook, or make music. Be courageous, reach out and connect!


SUGGESTED VIDEOS

The hidden influence of social networks. A fascinating talk on the extraordinary influence of our social networks. They impact our weight, our happiness, and the sorts of friendships we have. And the social networks themselves are influenced by our genes.

Mothers who found forgiveness and friendship. An extraordinarily moving account of two mothers – one whose son was killed in the Twin Towers, World Trade Centre, on September 11, and one whose son was convicted of enabling these attacks. They have found mutual support and friendship out of their suffering.

Remember to say thank you. In this brief three-minute video, we are reminded of the importance of a ‘thank you’ – and indeed, the importance of requesting to be thanked!  


SUGGESTED ARTICLES

How can you improve your relationship? From Relationship Australia, some tips on ways to develop a happy, healthy, and loving personal relationship.

Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health. Covers a range of issues around developing friendships: benefits of friendships, ways to meet new people, nurturing existing friendships.

Friendship. For a very thorough look at the changing nature of friendship through the lifespan, through history, and cultural variations in friendship, have a look at this Wikipedia article.


Read more >

16 April 18

Wellbeing Monthly - The very important topic of being silly!

The very important topic of being silly!

Stephen Malloch, April 2018

 

As a palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware sat and talked with people as they died. As well as talking about what they had enjoyed in their life, she noticed there were recurring themes in what people wished had been different. In her book, entitled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”, she wrote that one of those themes was that people wished they had let themselves be happier.

 

Being silly can be an excellent avenue towards feeling happier. Positive psychology has played a big role in how we view mental health over the past twenty years, and research has shown that people who are better at playfulness are also better at coping with stress, more likely to report leading active lifestyles, and are more likely to succeed academically. Plus, you’re more likely to be attractive to a potential romantic partner!

 

At work, being playful has been linked to having more innovative attitudes and being more creative. And in later life, being more playful leads to better cognitive and emotional functioning.


CHALLENGES

Next time you feel an urge to dance with your 5-year-old, shout ‘hooray’ in the middle of the street because you receive good news or skip through a park with a friend – do it! To break out of habitual ways of behaving and have fun can give a boost to your spirits, and free up your thinking. Create an intention to do at least one fun, silly thing per week.


Make an appointment with yourself for daydreaming time. What are some fun things you could plan for yourself? See a friend, go on a holiday? Make a list, and then make a plan.


SUGGESTED ARTICLES

Top five regrets of the dying – Bronnie Ware

The importance of play for adults – Margarita Tartakovsky

 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS:

Play is more than just fun – TED talk by Stuart Brown, psychiatrist and play researcher

Tales of creativity and play – TED talk by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO.

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19 March 18

Wellbeing Monthly - Mindfulness

Mindfulness - are you paying attention?

Stephen Malloch, March 2018

 

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Jon Kabat-Zinn (Writer & Research on Mindfulness)

 

When you ate your lunch, did you take time to enjoy it? Or was your body eating, while your mind was planning the next meeting?

 

In a life of competing demands and deadlines, we may find we are always mentally on the go, and we can’t find the off switch. But an antidote is at hand – the ancient technique of Mindfulness.  

Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular as a way to live life with a quieter mind, and also live more fully and effectively. Among other benefits, research has shown that if people take up a short, regular mindfulness practice they feel more positive, think more clearly, and form more resilient and satisfying relationships.

Mindfulness can lead towards a greater appreciation of what is important and meaningful in life, and greater commitment to making choices that are life enhancing.

And it’s as close as your next breath…


CHALLENGES

Choose a set of steps you regularly go up and down. Make an agreement with yourself that every time you walk on these steps you will simply pay attention to the physical sensation of walking. Bring awareness to the sensation of placing your foot, lifting your foot, balancing your body, touching the hand-rail. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your immediate body sensations of walking on the stairs. Notice how you feel after you do this exercise.

Next time you experience a difficult emotion, see if you can maintain awareness of it as it moves through your body and mind. Try not to get in its way, just let it pass through. Anchor yourself with awareness of your breathing. When the emotion has passed, note how you feel.

SUGGESTED ARTICLES

What does Mindfulness Meditation do to your Brain?  - a brief summary of findings from brain imaging studies on the effects of mindfulness training.

Who gets Mindfulness 'Right'? An Engaged Buddhist Perspective – a consideration on what it might mean to consider Mindfulness in a broader ethical, social and political context.

 

DOWNLOAD A MEDITATION

Free downloads of Mindfulness Meditations from UCLA

 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS:

The Art of Stillness – a lovely talk by the travel writer Pico Iyer on the importance of cultivating a place of inner stillness

The Habits of Happiness – a presentation by the scientist who became a Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, on research into the nature of happiness, and the importance of cultivating wellbeing.

A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit – by the psychiatrist Judson Brewer, this TED talk proposes mindfulness and curiosity as methods for ceasing habits we would like to stop. 

Read more >

28 February 18

Wellbeing Monthly - Exercise Yes you can!

Our bodies are built to move. But many of us work in jobs that encourage us not to. Unfortunately, low levels of physical activity are associated with higher risk of disease, general ill-health, and being overweight. So, if you are sitting for a lot of the day, getting up and moving is vital for your overall levels of fitness, health and wellbeing.

Exercise can be used for strengthening specific muscle groups, improving the cardiovascular system, improving particular physical skills, for weight loss, or just for the pure fun of it! It is beneficial not only for the body, but also for the mind. Research suggests exercise may help with reducing the likelihood of suffering depression, reduce feelings of anxiety, and generally lead to improved mood.

So, unlike the author of the above quote, if you feel the need to exercise, act on it!

  

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05 December 17

Wellbeing for December: Ceremony - Ways of creating meaning in your life

"This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings" - Elizabeth Gilbert

We need more than facts. We also need myths, stories that resonate with our questions of what makes a meaningful life.

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13 November 17

Wellbeing for November: Building Self-Confidence

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth" ― Rumi

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” ― E.E. Cummings

 This month we are looking at self-confidence, that often elusive sense that we are able to act effectively, despite the difficulties. We aren’t born doubting ourselves. If we feel hungry, we seek food. If we need comforting, we ask for it, sometimes quite loudly! So what happens...

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10 October 17

Wellbeing for October: Emotions - what they are and how to look after them

But feelings can't be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem” ― Anne Frank

 The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web– Pablo Picasso

This month we are looking at that part of us that is responsible for us feeling the best and the worst – our emotions.

Our emotions are the underpinning of all our thoughts and actions. We like to believe we are rational, but our emotions...

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05 September 17

Wellbeing for September: Thoughts - don't believe them!

“You cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it” - Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

 “We think too much and feel too little” - Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 1977)

This month we are looking at the importance of not treating your own thoughts (and feelings) as truth.

Us humans have big, highly interconnected brains. We have evolved to think very quickly, to take mental shortcuts, and we develop 

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10 August 17

Good job design starts with 8 hours sleep

This week APA hosted an evening discussing a subject at its core – Managing Mental Health in the Workplace.  Lucy Brogden, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), was the guest speaker. According to the NMHC, one in two Australian adults will experience mental ill health at some point, which means

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07 August 17

Community - find yours, and cultivate it. Wellbeing and Resilience for August

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” - John Donne (1572 – 1631; English poet)

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” - Rollo May (1909 – 1994; American psychologist and author)

Humans enjoy hanging out together. Groups get stuff done. They also give us needed variety of social interactions, and they enable care for those in the group who need it. We often don’t do so when we are 

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01 July 17

All work and no play - Work/Life balance is about how you manage your energy. Wellbeing for July

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” - Dolly Parton (born 1946; American singer-songwriter)

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” - George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950; Irish playwright and critic)

This month’s topic is all about how you manage the energy of your life. Yes, we might allocate a certain amount of time to playing with our children, or spending time with our friends, but if we don’t have the energy to actually be with them, then we are probably selling ourselves (and them) short. Ten minutes of being present to someone as they talk with you will probably be more

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01 June 17

Wellbeing for June: We are all musical - really!!

“Where words fail, music speaks.”
Hans Christian Anderson (1805 – 1875; Danish author, particularly known for his fairy tales)

“Music is a safe kind of high.”
Jimmi Hendrix (1942 – 1970; American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter)

The ability to make music is a peculiarly human skill. True, other animals have music-like calls (like birds) but we are the only animal to create music – stories in sound. 

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29 May 17

APA partners with Macquarie University. Finding new solutions for new challenges.

Audrey Page & Associates (APA) has established a formal research partnership with Macquarie University to further explore Career Transition and the Changing Workplace.  As part of this alliance APA is sponsoring the Master of Organisational Psychology Scholarship.  

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01 May 17

Do you have a Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset? Wellbeing and Resilence for May

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison

The mindset we bring to our actions matters – a lot! In the 1980s Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students' attitudes to failure. While some students rebounded after doing badly, others were devastated by it. The researchers coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe two very different underlying beliefs people have about their learning and intelligence

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18 April 17

Congratulations to our 2017 CEW Scholars attending MIT Sloan

Audrey Page & Associates (APA) are delighted to share news of the winners of the 2017 CEW Scholarship to MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The recipients of this prestigious award will have the opportunity to study Leading Change in Complex Organisations – vital knowledge for today’s HR Leaders.

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07 April 17

Lifelong Learning: Wellbeing and Resilience for April!

 “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ― Henry Ford

 “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” ― Socrates

We start our life by learning. Even before we are born, we learn the rhythms and sounds of our parents’ language from inside the womb. Little children love to experiment and learn. Then we go to school. If we are very lucky, we enter an environment marked by curiosity and wonder. 


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