Ever heard the saying, "never pour logic on an argument"? This study puts some research behind this. If you are trying to persuade someone of something, simply presenting the facts will often cause a negative reaction. It can be wise to bear this in mind in business settings!
No one said building a company is easy. But it's time to be honest about how brutal it really is -- and the price so many founders secretly pay.
This excellent article explores the (taboo) subject of mental health and entrepreneurship. As well as having an upside for many, starting and building a business can undoubtedly be highly stressful. As well as talking to entrepreneurs who have experienced mental health difficulties, the article offers practical advice that can help.
Scientists say it has to do with positive references in the lyrics, the song's tempo in beats per minute and its key.
Many employees we know like to work to music, whether that is at the home office, or in the workplace (normally with headphones on!).
This article offers an interesting take on 'feel good' music, and how that impacts on our brain chemistry. It would seem that certain tempos and beats have the capacity to psychologically and physiologically lift our moods. Whilst we may know this intuitively, it is interesting to have it confirmed through research.
The playlist of 'feel good' music looks excellent too!
Team work is the way to go and the science behind collaboration proves brands have a lot to gain by collaborating with their consumers....
In this article, one of our senior consultants, Dr Gill Green, comments on the role that psychology and neuroscience play in collaboration, and its subsequent influence over consumer behaviour, loyalty and engagement with brands.
Tests on people in their seventies suggest that those who exercised had less brain shrinkage. A brain scan analysis has found that those who were more physically active had a higher volume of grey...
Whilst it might be common sense to presume that exercise is good for brain function, this short article goes on to describe neuroscientific evidence that goes further, and suggests that physical activity, by carrying oxygen & glucose to the brain, can grow connections and prevent decline. Worth thinking about if work and home encourage a sedentary lifestyle for you.
Claudia Hammond explores the cognitive biases and Daniel Kahneman's fast and slow systems which influence our decisions.
This is an excellent interactive BBC article, that is really worthwhile taking some time to explore. As individuals, we can reap dividends in our relationships and networks through understanding our biases in certain choices and decisions, some of which we may not even be aware that we are making. Daniel Kahneman's work in this field is truly impressive.
The reason many of us take breaks and go on Facebook may be because the brain is predisposed to be social.
There are some interesting findings in this study. The idea that we are predisposed to be social is not a new one. However, it is a newer idea that we can be 'drawn' towards e.g. Facebook when we need a break at work, and that part of the reason for this is due to the way our 'social brain' is working.
As social beings, humans need connection and communication with others in order to function, develop and thrive. Work provides rich opportunity for social connections - as, indeed, do smartphones! It may actually help productivity to ensure your workplace actively provides those opportunities for quality social bonding. Perhaps doing so can help employees feel less of a need to 'escape' at every opportunity into their private world of social media...
Quieting the self-obsessing chatter in our heads may be what happiness is all about. But how do you do this?
We particularly like this article for its take on meditation, which, as an approach to dealing with issues such as stress, anxiety or depression, is gaining a growing and convincing evidence base.The article refers to the daily chatter in you brain (self-talk), and the influence this has on your happiness, particularly when your mind has a tendency to wander and dwell on issues that are worrying, frustrating or dissatisfying.Various things work in quietening down this chatter, but the central point to make here is that finding ways of addressing problematic patterns of thought and the life issues that cause them rather than masking those is fundamentally important.Reading time: 5 mins
Anger is a tool that helps us read and respond to upsetting social situations. But how can you stop it from getting out of hand?
This article starts with the premise that anger is neither a good nor a bad thing - but that it is what you do with it that really counts. As psychologists, we agree - we have always had the view that anger can be a helpful emotion, especially in the workplace, provided it is handled effectively, managed and controlled.
The article has some good advice around how best to do that. We particularly like the use of an anger 'speed limit'. There is also a link to a clip about 'how to stay calm in a fight' at the bottom of the page. Helpful stuff!
Reading time: 5 minutes (& viewing time for the clip: 6 mins)
This HBR magazine article gives impetus to the notion that self-reflection, mindfulness, and giving thought to your 'philosophical world view', actually has a knock on benefit for how your brain works. This is an interesting notion! It all comes back to how we think about work, and use different techniques to help us identify our values, clarify goals, and make strong plans of action. The idea of using the teachings of different and well known philosophers gives this a different, and worthwhile angle.
From cutting back on multitasking to doing things in slow motion: slow down!
Does actively slowing down in the workplace reduce stress? Potentially, yes. Most of us will be able to relate to people that we know or have worked with who are constantly in a rush, and whilst on one level such work colleagues will be good at getting things done, on another they would be the first to admit that the 'rush' adds pressure and ultimately stress onto themselves. So anything that helps reduce this level of pressure will be effective, and sometimes, in so doing, it can make people more rather than less productive.
This short blog article suggests four practical tips for slowing down.
It's long been recognised that first impressions in an interview are hugely important. This short and interesting article both confirms this, and looks at the idea of even rating 'pre-interview chit chat'.
You love to learn. Your students, colleagues, and parents love to learn. But what kind of styles of learning are most effective for each party?
This handy little infographic will help you identify your learning style. It can be useful to think about this, especially if you are starting something new - what works best for you, and how will you adjust, assimilate information and learn quickly?
The leak of the Ashley Madison subscriber database poses interesting questions, and will certainly lead people to question the morality of the website and of the people who use it. However, in addition one cannot escape questioning the morality of those who have leaked the data, especially when the social shame it has led to for many thousands of people - who have committed no crime - can potentially be linked to stress reactions, mental health issues, or even suicidality
without themYou have the right to enforce your boundaries. Here's how.
Office politics: where would we be without them?! At some point or another, most of us will be able to relate to the experience of a work colleague that talks too much, and that we find takes up an uncomfortable amount of our time.
How do you handle this type of relationship? It can be hard to strike a balance between wanting to be the type of colleague that takes the time to listen, but also prioritises their own work. This article handles the issue quite sensitively, we think.
Are you bad at remembering names? Chances are that more than a few of you reading this are (more than a few of us are too!) - it's extremely common. It's also true to say that learning how to get better at this skill can be very helpful, especially in large, networked organisations. Remembering someone's name can have quite a powerful effect, and is a very useful tool as part of both leadership and influence.
This short article, and the great little video clip that is embedded in it, are both thought provoking and of practical use. Being better at remembering names is actually not that difficult in our experience, and with a bit of practice, people can go from this being something they feel embarrassed or awkward about to a stand out strength. It may not be the most important consideration in among all the attributes associated with your working role, but sometimes the little things can make the biggest differences....
A conversation with Twitter’s Niki Lustig about how the social media giant fosters a sense of purpose among their employees.
It has long been known that a sense of purpose in the activity you are doing can help you feel motivated and engaged, and will improve your productivity. How can this be created at a team or organisational level?
This article explores that very issue. If you are thinking about the sense of purpose in your own team or business, there is a neat activity and survey described in the article, which could help the process of defining what this sense of purpose is or could be. As the author points out, defining purpose is an important first step.
January is a good time to reassess how you organise your life.Rita de Brun tells us how an organised mind can help us to think straight in the age of information overload.
This article advocates the use of the good old hand written 'to-do' list! We agree - in this computerised age, it seems everything is committed to a handheld device. The act of, quite separately, picking up a pen and piece of paper and making a note of what you need to do, task by task, engages a different part of your brain, and makes it more likely that you will follow through - giving yourself a neat little shot of the 'feel good' hormone, dopamine, in the process! Certainly worth a try...
Everybody wants to be happy, but few of us seem to know how to achieve it, writes AL Kennedy.
For many of us, the start of a New Year will bring round a renewed focus on setting and reaching our goals. Whilst resolutions work well for many people, they don't for others, and are often too easily (and frustratingly!) broken.
This BBC article presents a viewpoint on the pursuit of happiness, which often makes an appearance on people's annual 'to-do' list. There is an interesting argument to be had here about whether pursing happiness in of itself may be counterproductive, and that learning to better appreciate the present moment rather than yearning for states of mind, ownerships of goods or being in relationships that we currently don't have may actually create conditions to make us less rather than more happy.
It is certainly a thought provoking piece of writing, and worth a read.
Geoff Watts continues his exploration of the science and culture of gossip.
We all know how important gossip is at work. This enthralling 30 minute radio programme suggests we are hard wired for gossip. The findings of emerging research suggests gossip may play a vital role in our survival.
It highlights some fascinating discoveries of how our brain experiences physical and social pain and pleasure. The same parts of our brain are active when we experience physical pain or social pain (e.g.. rejection) - and in fact, our memories of social pain often stronger than our memories physical pain. The same parts of our brain also light up in our experience of physical warmth (i.e. temperature) and social warmth (e.g. acceptance). No wonder we speak about 'hurt feelings' and 'warm relationships' and can feel them as real, physical sensations.
Another interesting finding is that when we are supporting others, we seem to be better at managing our reaction to external threats and contain our natural instinct towards flight and fight more effectively - i.e. 'got to keep it together because I am supporting them'.
(It also talks of a strong link between low pain thresholds and sensitivity to social inclusion and exclusion...)
Good proof that feels intuitively true, with strong implications for the psychological well being of our workplaces.
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