A Better Workplace

Build a Powerful Mindset

Your mindset is the set of beliefs and expectations you have about yourself, your life, and the others around you.

Mindsets can be useful for condensing information and controlling expectations, but they can also be harmful, leading to interpersonal issues and negative emotions.

According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, mindsets play a significant role in determining life’s outcomes. By understanding, adapting, and shifting your mindset, you can improve your health, decrease your stress and become better at handling changes in businesses, customers, and market shifts over time.

The good news about mindsets is that they are very changeable, and you can change your mindset to challenge your distorted thoughts and build new self-serving narratives.

When I was in high school, I read Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, and it was the first time I heard about a mindset shift.

The book was about a shepherd boy who dreams of traveling the world in search of a treasure. The boy’s name was Santiago, and on his journey, he trusted a stranger and handed him all his money, but the man disappeared when they were at the exotic market.

All of this happened between sunrise and sunset. He was feeling sorry for himself because his life had changed so suddenly and so drastically. At that moment, he was thinking about his life before following his dream. He had his sheep, he was happy, and he made people around him happy. But now he was sad and alone.

After being robbed by a man he felt overwhelmed with negativity. He thought,

“ I am going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. I’m going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine. I’m going to hold on to what little I have because I’m not insignificant to conquer the world.”

He realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief or as an adventure in quest of his treasure.

“I am an adventure, looking for treasure,” he said to himself.

By changing the language around a problem, he took himself from a failure to someone on the road to success.

An example of how adults in positions of power can ignite the power of a child

As Aimee Mullins in her TED talk, “ the opportunity of adversity”, explains success is not about emerging from challenging circumstances, it’s about allowing the challenge to change us and being proud of those changes.

Aimee was born with a physical condition that resulted in her lower legs being amputated. She had to do spend a lot of time in a hospital doing repetitions of exercises with thick, elastic bands in physical therapy sessions to help build up her leg muscles.

She says that as a five-year-old child, she hated those bands. Her attitude to the physio changed one day when her doctor came into her session and said to her, “Wow. Aimee, you are such a strong little girl, I think you’re going to break one of those bands. When you do break it, I’m going to give you a hundred bucks.”

Maybe this was a simple trick on the doctor’s side to encourage her to do the exercises, but what he effectively did for her was reshaped an awful daily experience into a new and promising experience.

Simply by praising her effort and reframing the goal, the doctor gave Aimee a completely different view of what she had to achieve.

We all face adversity in our career, business, or personal life from time to time.  Physical adversity, mental adversity, emotional adversity, social adversity, and spiritual adversity are all examples of adversity. Any of these can change us whether physically, emotionally, or both. 

Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we must overcome to continue enjoying our life. It’s part of life.  When facing adversity, it’s important to remember that we always have the freedom to choose how we respond to people, events, and circumstances

Aimee references a study in her TED talk, explaining “streaming trials” in 1960s Britain when students were moving from grammar schools to comprehensive schools. 

It’s separating students from A, B, C, D. And the “A students” get the tougher curriculum and the best teachers. 

they took D-level students over three months,  gave them A’s, told them they were “A’s,” told them they were bright, and at the end of three months, they were performing at A-level.

The unfortunate aspect of this study is that they took the “A students” and told them they were “D’s.” That’s exactly what happened at the end of the three months.

An important part of this case study was that the teachers were duped too. The teachers had no idea about a switch had been made. They were simply told, “These are the ‘A-students,’ these are the ‘D-students.'” And that’s how they approached educating and treating them.

So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, challenge yourself with adapting and shifting your mindset.

Remember you can change your mindset by choosing to believe that you can reframe the problem to find the opportunity within it.

Do you enjoy new challenges and find them exciting, or do you shy away from them to prevent possible failure?

A Better Workplace

One Simple Exercise to Relieve Stress no matter where you are or what you’re doing

Everyone experiences stress to some degree, and for many of us, stress is a part of life and a common experience.

According to the national institute of mental health, stress is a physical and emotional reaction that people experience as they encounter changes in life.3 Any type of challenges—such as performance at work or school, a significant life change, or a traumatic event—can be stressful.

Every year, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts a stress survey in the United States. They consider a variety of external elements that affect stress levels. Work, family issues, health issues, and financial obligations are some of the primary factors of stress that typically lead to higher stress levels.1

The economy and work have become significant stressors for more Americans. 7 in 10 employed adults (70%) say work is a significant source of stress in their lives. 2

COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s lives. It disrupted work, economy, and relationships.

According to the APA 2020 survey, nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant cause of stress in their life, and nearly half of adults (49%) say their behavior has been negatively affected. 2

A certain level of stress seems to be normal at work as well as at home. But the consequences of long-lasting stress can be serious and even devastating. And we don’t want that!

How can we handle stress in healthy ways? 

There are many techniques and ways for dealing with stress in a healthy way, such as exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, practicing yoga, going for a walk, taking a bath, spending time with a pet, etc.

I happen to like all of these methods and try to add them to my daily routine. For years, I have been practicing mindfulness and meditation. I am trying to pay attention to my physical and mental health. But stress is an unavoidable part of life, and it is not easy, at least for me, to be always mindful.

Besides, I realized that when I’m stressed out, I completely forgot all of the techniques.

One simple practice to relieve stress fast, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. 

I found myself many times especially in my workplace in those situations where I’m experiencing overwhelming stressors and I realize that I have to calm down right away. 

There’s no time to go for a walk outside, cuddle with a friend, or do yoga.  

I found a quick and simple technique that I can use at home, work, or on the go. This technique is just either called box breathing or square breathing, and it works exactly as it sounds.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus on your breathing, making it slower and deeper. This helps to lower your heart rate, giving you a feeling of peace.

Square breathing 

While breathing and counting, imagine a square. Each step is a square corner; when you count to four, go down one side of the square at a time.

you can use a visual aid or anything square-shaped around you – business card, keyboard key, tea box, window, etc. 

  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • Hold for a count of 4
  • Exhale for a count of 4
  • Hold for a count of 4

Using the following GIF might also help you to focus. You can visualize the square in your mind after a few sessions of square breathing.

I usually count four or five times with my fingers and go around the square depending on how stressed out I am. it’s really helpful for me to relieve my stress, and just kind of help relax me in general.

this video teaches square breathing visualization technique: