Saturday, 21 April 2018

Getting Unplugged

In this weeks episode of the People Soup Podcast - I draw upon research exploring work recovery by Professor Sabine Sonnentag and share 4 top ingredients for an effective recovery activity. You can also consider what your personal values are in relation to your leisure time to provide motivation and direction.

You can listen to the podcast here on SoundCloud


Click here to listen on i-tunes

Click here to listen on Stitcher




Those references I mention for activities that enhance relaxation are a walk in the countryside (Hartig et al, 2003), meditation (Grossman et al, 2004), listening to music (Pelletier, 2004) or even a long hot bath (Bourne, 2000).

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Orienteering at Work

Sometimes we can loose sight of what's important to us at work. This episode presents the idea of personal values or qualities of action and gives advice and tips on how we can use them as a beacon for our behaviour at work - like our inner compass. It's not all plain sailing and takes some practice - but it does have it's rewards.

Click here to listen.

Please do get in touch with any thoughts, questions or comments too. I'd love to hear from you!


Saturday, 7 April 2018

What's the story - Cruella de Choice?

It's episode 4. Here I recount a tale of a cooker hood malfunction and how my story about my DIY skills impacted on my behaviour. I then relate this to the experience of a coaching client and invite you to consider your own stories in the workplace and how they might be limiting your behavioural repertoire. There is a tip for changing the impact our stories have on us and recommendations for considering a broader range of actions from the behavioural menu.

To listen to the recording please click here.

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Look at yourself and then make a change

In this week's podcast (yes, I've decided it's a podcast and I'm in the process of learning how to make that happen) I share two key points - firstly highlighting the behavioural mirroring that can occur in workplaces with an example that still resonates with me and secondly - how we can all model the behaviours that are important to us.

This in not only important to leaders but everyone in organisations.

This is all brought together by some slightly amended Michael Jackson lyrics.

Click here to listen


Saturday, 24 March 2018

Can I have a word please?

So this is the second audio post on my blog. Or is it a podcast - frankly I'm confused. It's a seven minute listen.

Here I reflect on the purpose of my blog and the thoughts my mind has been generating since the spontaneity of sharing my first audio post last week. These thoughts could have made the first audio a unique event - hear about my experience here.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Autopilot and the wandering mind

Welcome to my first audio post. This arose after a lecture I did for the MSc Students at City, University of London. I was there to share my experience of selection and assessment but I also shared my frustration about the relatively low profile of our discipline. There are lots of things going on in organisations at the moment and I've never seen an organisational or occupational psychologist sharing their views on the news or other media.

This is my response to my own challenge and also something outside of my comfort zone. In this post I spend just under 7 minutes and 30 seconds talking about autopilot and the wandering mind - finishing with an easy way to practice present moment awareness.

We can spend a lot of time on autopilot - research by 2 Harvard University Psychologist found that we can spend about 47% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes us unhappy (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010)
“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” Killingsworth and Gilbert write. “The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”
You can access the recording by clicking here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Personal Resilience & Peak Performance with ACT!

I use Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) in my work with organisations and individuals. I can honestly say that ACT has changed my own life and that is one of the reasons why I am passionate about sharing this behavioural science. 

This post is a brief introduction to the psychological skills training I have developed with Dr Paul Flaxman at City, University of London. I'm currently delivering this skills training to teachers, the NHS, Civil Servants, private sector organisations and ballet companies.

We have adapted ACT to make it relevant and useful for the workplace. The evidence for training based upon ACT in the workplace is strong and will be the subject of a future blog post. 

We present the framework for the training using this illustration.

In the training our aim is to practice and develop three key skills (represented by the pillars) over a series of workshops. 

AWARE - We know that the mind's favourite place to hang out is ruminating about the past or fretting and planning about the future. This is the central pillar of our training and relates to the skill of being in contact with the here and now. This skill is a form of mental training where we can begin to recognise times in life when we are on autopilot and learn to change gear to shift us into noticing the present moment. The skill we're developing enables us to be more effective at gathering the 'scattered mind'. Let's be clear - I'm not knocking autopilot, some consider it to be the greatest evolutionary advance of the human mind, but sometimes in our lives we're on autopilot when it's not so useful.

ACTIVE - We talk about values as being the personal qualities we most want to express in our daily behaviour. This ACTIVE pillar is all about 'who we want to be' or 'what we want to stand for'. We may have some personal values that are a rich seam throughout our whole lives, others may become more prominent in different phases of our lives and some may be very useful for specific life events. We may also have different values that are important in different areas of of life. For example, if I'm presenting to the Executive Board I'll pause before the meeting to connect with who I want to be during my part of the meeting and this then serves as a beacon for my behaviour. That's what values are all about for us - using them as a guide for our actions and behaviour.

OPEN - As humans we know that we can often get hooked or hijacked by our own inner experience and this is the theme of the third pillar, OPEN. By our inner experience I mean our thoughts, emotions, urges, memories and sensations. We are particularly interested in the 'chatter' of our inner experience and how this can interfere with us being who we want to be in different areas of our lives. The skill we focus on here in our training is to identify this inner chatter and notice the impact on our behaviour. Our aim is to change our relationship with this chatter to lessen its impact in our lives and on our behaviour.

Through building these skills we support the development of psychological well-being and life vitality across every area of life. We aim to enable the awareness of the present moment, an exploration of what matters and noticing what happens inside of us that makes it difficult to move towards what matters.

We typically deliver this training to small groups over four or five sessions to allow people to practice the skills and share their experiences. We are collecting both qualitative and quantitative data which we will be analysing over the coming months.

Thanks for reading!

Ross