Pages Navigation Menu

Get the latest science on Performance Through Wellbeing:

We Respect Your Privacy. Your details are never shared with third parties.

Chopra Center

Why I am thankful that my dishwasher broke

| Jun 15, 2020 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Why I am thankful that my dishwasher broke

The unexpected joy that derived from a trusted broken appliance

This is a strange thing to admit, but I never thought that a broken dishwasher could give me so much. Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago, when I realised that my dishwasher forced itself to a well-deserved retirement (after many years of operational excellence I have to admit), frankly, I was a bit annoyed, to say the least. I knew getting a replacement in the present context was going to be a bit of a challenge (and it was).

My first thought was, “what a drag…washing dishes will take precious time away from working, cycling, playing the guitar and being with the family”. Delegating was never an option in my household (a long and embarrassing story for another day…). So I simply had to accept the fact that 3 or 4 times a day, I was going to have to perform the “meaningless” act of washing dishes. Au contraire, there was absolutely nothing meaningless about this chore.

After a few iterations, when I finally stopped whining and groaning as I was doing the dishes, my mind calmed down, and this was the turning point. Suddenly, great ideas, insights, intuition began flowing in. I had inadvertently given my subconscious the space it needed to communicate to me what I really needed to know at that time. Practical solutions to certain tasks, insights on how to help a coaching client, ideas for new and exciting digital offerings, you name it. I noticed that the more I stayed in the present moment, the more these creative channels would open up. The more I focused on the warm water running through my hands, the more fluent these messages would become.

I was quite familiar already with the scientific claim made by neurologist Dr Daniel Siegel, that “Research has shown that insight is preceded and aided by disconnecting from deliberate, goal-directed, conscious thinking”. Disconnecting from work at many points during the day, “permits a sorting through of many disparate elements of our mental lives, permitting a process called integration – the linkage of differentiated parts – to naturally unfold.”

So I’m quite thankful to my old Bosch dishwasher for being of great service even with it was out of service!

The emotion and action that will give you instant fulfilment

| Jun 4, 2020 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

The emotion and action that will give you instant fulfilment

How simple acts of gratitude will trigger persistent feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.

Gratitude is not just an emotion or an attitude. Gratitude is an intentional act to recognise the positive aspects of our lives and the things that bring us joy and fulfilment. Gratitude does not have to be reserved for the big events of our lives, like “I’m grateful for the love of my partner”, or “I’m grateful for being able to provide for my family”. Gratitude can be expressed for even the smallest of events “I’m grateful for the comforting feeling of the wind on my face”, “I’m grateful for the warm water running through my hands as I am washing the dishes.”

When you purposefully engage in deliberate acts of gratitude, you literally change the molecular structure of your brain. As soon as you start experiencing gratitude, your brain begins to secrete dopamine, the hormone responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure, wellbeing. Your brain absolutely loves that, so it will prompt you to get another hit of dopamine by urging you to perform the same act. The more you are grateful for, the more you will find to be grateful for.

A very simple way of practising gratitude is by making a pact with a friend. Commit to each other that for one week, you will text each other 3 things that you are grateful for, however big or small. After the week is done, get together and exchange the feelings of your experience. This is a surefire way hardwiring the mindset of gratefulness in you.

So, what are the 3 things that you are grateful for today (however big or small)?

How to get rid of the toxicity of resentment

| May 29, 2020 | Emotional Wellbeing | 0 comments

How to get rid of the toxicity of resentment

An effective way to help you move from resentment to liberation

Are you feeling bitter about having been treated unfairly? Are you still annoyed with someone for what this person said or did? Resentment is one of those difficult or unpleasant feelings which, if left unchecked, could do us more harm than good. As humans, we are emotional beings by nature. Emotions are part of the human dynamic, so if we ever feel resentful, we should not feel guilt or be too hard on ourselves.  

What creates the damage, however, is holding on to resentment. This is an emotion that should have a shorty life cycle; otherwise, the toxic fumes of long-lasting resentment will begin to contaminate our physical, mental and emotional health.  

The most effective way to deal with resentment is forgiveness, the conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of vengeance or resentment toward someone. When you forgive, you are not necessarily forgetting, denying, excusing or condoning the seriousness of the wrongdoing. You are not even obligated to seek reconciliation with the other person.  

By consciously releasing your unpleasant feelings, you are giving yourself peace of mind. You are liberating yourself from the corrosive properties of unchecked anger. By letting go, you empower yourself to recognise the pain you suffered without letting the pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.  

So, whom will you forgive today?

Why are we so attracted to bad news?

| May 20, 2020 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Why are we so attracted to bad news?

The reason why we look for negative views over transformative stories

I’m still dumbfounded by the minuscule focus that has been given to one of the most important topics that should be on everyone’s mind: How to strengthen our immune response. Our attention is unfortunately being bombarded with information that promotes hysteria.

The media is cleverly exploiting our genetically hardwire “negative bias”. For as long as we have existed, our tendency has been to pay more attention to threats (and dwell on these events) and overlook rewards. From an evolutionary perspective, being attuned to danger would make us more likely to survive. This positive-negative asymmetry as it is known, makes us pay more attention to the potentially harmful things that could happen and make them more important than they really are.

An effective way of countering our negative bias is to choose our news sources wisely and to set up a “news update” schedule to avoid overexposing ourselves unnecessarily to the barrage of negativity and dramatic stories that the media consciously serve us.

A study pointed out that “watching just three minutes of negative news in the morning makes viewers 27% more likely to report having a bad day six to eight hours later.” On the other hand, “those who watched transformative stories, reported having a good day 88% of the time”.

So le’s be more responsibly informed and less obsessively informed.

Can you tell the difference between a leader and a manager?

| May 13, 2020 | Professional Wellbeing | 0 comments

Can you tell the difference between a leader and a manager?

Vulnerability and empathy, the trademarks of natural leaders.

Lately, it has become easier to discern leaders at heart from those who are merely bosses. It’s been fascinating to witness how true leaders are exhibiting the qualities that make them so effective at leading: vulnerability and empathy.

Obviously, team members need guidance on how to work in this new environment, but the focus on the “how” should not preclude the time that should be spent in allowing them to express how they truly feel. An emotion that is expressed, heard and validated promotes emotional healing; the foundation for being empathetic.

As far as vulnerability, which some mistakenly perceive as weakness, is the trademark of a natural leader. Sharing unsettling feelings about the current context, admitting to not having all the answers, accepting shortcomings, recognising mistakes, and confessing feeling overwhelmed, are all examples of emotional exposure. Some might not be willing to take that risk, but those who do will forge deep connections with their team members, and will undoubtedly help them and the team to thrive in the new normal.

The Gift of the Quarrantine

| Apr 22, 2020 | Emotional Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

The Gift of the Quarrantine

Practical ways of deepening the connection with your child during confinement

For many of the road warriors out there like myself who spend a significant amount of time travelling for business, having been confined in my home for weeks has been an unusual experience. But quite early on during the lockdown, the words of the wizard Gandalf the Grey echoed in my mind: “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you”.

One aspect that I have enjoyed the most during this quarantine is connecting with my children at a much deeper level, albeit not in my terms. Here are a couple of ways to deepen the connection with your kids:

1.- Follow their passion.– Start by asking a simple question: what do you love? My son is 16, and my daughter is 11, and it has been fascinating to witness the dynamic shift in their interests over the course of time. Go out for a walk and talk about their taste in books, magazines, music, television series, etc. – you will be in for a surprise!

2.- Play by their rules.– Set aside time to play with them, but given them carte-blanche to decide the type of game and the rules. Just by mindfully observing them from creation to execution, you will learn a great deal about the gifts that you have been given.

Spice up your immune system!

| Apr 15, 2020 | Physical Wellbeing | 0 comments

Spice up your immune system!

Ramp up your only defence against Covid-19: Your immune system

By now you must have read dozens of articles reminding you of the importance of getting restful sleep, exercising and eating a plant-based, whole-foods diet to build up your immune response in case you contract COVID-19 before the vaccine comes out next year.

I’d like to share with you additional suggestions that nicely build upon the traditional advice you’ve been exposed to.

1.- Tongue scraping.- Our mouth is the main gateway to our environment, so scraping the tongue daily removes the buildup of toxins and bacteria. Gently scrape your tongue back to front for up 14 strokes with a brass, silver or copper tongue scraper.

2.- Nigh-time steam inhalation.- Our nasal passages can trap infections, particularly when they are dry. Just before bedtime, practice steam inhalation by boiling water, covering your head and inhaling steam. After then inhalation, apply a couple drops eucalyptus oil or sesame oil.

3.- Add heating spices to your food.- Spices like garlic, chilli, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and ginger have shown to help combat inflammation and kill harmful bacteria. These spices are also used to treat nausea, headaches and autoimmune disorders.

We all need to ramp-up our efforts to build immunity, so hopefully, this advice will help.

The Pandemic’s Silver Lining

| Apr 7, 2020 | Physical Wellbeing | 0 comments

The Pandemic’s Silver Lining

The surprising welcomed repercussion of Covid-19

One of the positive things that came out of the confinement during the pandemic was witnessing the many people that have taken up exercise. Whilst I was cycling around the neighbourhood with my daughter during the weekend, we saw young and older couples, families and individuals of all ages either running, power walking, cycling or just going for a long stroll.

We could tell by the disparate levels of fitness and some other tell-tell signs, between those who were reconnecting with their exercise routine and those have been at it for a while. Nevertheless, we were delighted that they had chosen to be physically active once again.

Science hasn’t really fully understood why exercise is good for us, but the data is compelling. There is a clear and evident inverse relationship between physical exercise and the manifestation of disease, meaning that the more regularly we exercise, the less prone we are to illness.

Knowing that the people we ran into over the weekend will boost their immune system, get better sleep, keep their weight in check, improve their mood and access natural energy as a result of their investment in exercise, was really a much needed refreshing thought.

It is time to start pretending!

| Mar 30, 2020 | Professional Wellbeing | 0 comments

It is time to start pretending!
I’d never thought that I would recommend people to pretend, but today I’ll glorify the art of pretending.
 
The commute to work has always served as a good mental transition. During this transition from a place of rest and leisure to a full-on work environment, our mind has had the benefit of a commute to create the psychological shift required to properly focus on work.
 
If you are occasionally working from home, it is important to know that working in bed and/or working in pyjamas doesn’t really set us up psychologically to be at our best. Our brain has a strong power of association, so mixing signals of indulgence (bed/pyjamas) whilst working, creates a sluggish, indecisive, and somewhat careless state of mind.
 
If you are working from home, after you wake up, pretend that you are going to work. Carry out your morning routine (meditation, exercise, breakfast, shower, etc.) get dressed as if you are going to work and then start your workday. Although your transition from bed to desk will be shorter, pretending that you will leave your home most likely will get you in the right state of mind to achieve your ideal performance state.

How to Deal with Incompetence

| Sep 18, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

How to Deal with Incompetence

By now, I’m sure you are quite familiar with the psychological phenomenon known as “impostor syndrome”. Also known as the fraud syndrome, this is a condition in which an individual doesn’t integrate their accomplishments and has recurring patterns of fearful thoughts of being exposed as a fraud, despite substantial evidence of their success and competence.

But what if those feelings of incompetence are justified? And in spite of evidence to support this incompetence, what if these low performing people carry an internal illusion of superiority that leads them to assess their cognitive ability as greater than it actually is? In the field of psychology, this cognitive bias is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, named after two American social psychologists and university professors that co-authored a study in the late ’90s. They found that some people who are evidently bad at certain tasks mistakenly overestimate how good they are. Their lack of self-awareness is such that they simply cannot accurately evaluate their level of competence (or incompetence for that matter).

Before I continue, if you are currently dealing with impostor syndrome and are already panicking, thinking perhaps you are experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect, please snap out it! As I said, you have to have substantial and concrete evidence that you are consistently underperforming in a given task or tasks AND despite these facts, you are convinced that you are performing above par. The delusion has to be evident.

 

 

What if you are managing someone that is showing clear signs of the Dunning-Kruger effect? What can you do to correct the situation? The following tips might come in handy:

1.-Review your recruitment strategy.-Before you get into this pickle, make sure you that there is a clear and undisputed match between the candidate’s strengths and the job in hand. Be extremely rigorous and selective in every stage of the process.

2.-Feedback, feedback, feedback.-Don’t wait until a performance review to inform the other person of their sustained underperformance. It’s not fair to the individual and it is harmful to the company. If you notice sustained incompetence early on, switch them to a different project or department were the person’s strengths will be fully utilised.

3.-Use objective indicators.-The person’s inability to assess their level of competence doesn’t block their basic mathematical capability. Numbers (hit a specific target) and dates (perform a task by a specific date) tell the story loud and clear, so use hard, quantitative metrics to measure performance.

4.-Be compassionately direct.-Feedback will be best received if it is timely, clear and caring.  If the person on the receiving end of the conversation feels that you genuinely care for their development, the probability that you will get the desired outcome will significantly increase.

 César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist - CesarGamio.com
 César Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA - CesarGamio.com
 César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor - CesarGamio.com
César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist - CesarGamio.comCésar Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA - CesarGamio.com
César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor - CesarGamio.com