Widely held myths about sleep are damaging our health and our mood, as well as shortening our lives, say researchers.
A team at New York University trawled the internet to find the most common claims about a good night's kip.
Then, in a study published in the journal Sleep Health, they matched the claims to the best scientific evidence.
They hope that dispelling sleep myths will improve people's physical and mental health and well-being.
So, how many are you guilty of? Find them here
Linked to PriorityLink with permission
In a previous article I suggested six strategies for re-energizing on the front line. I pointed out that working on the front-line all day long can be draining. I also suggested that front line employees don’t know what a customer’s next question might be, what mood he or she might be in, or whether the organization will be able to satisfy the customer’s need. Answering telephones, responding to queries, finding solutions to problems, and keeping people satisfied can be rewarding but also quite challenging. When we are at it all day long, week in and week out we can feel the effects of stress on our body, mind and emotions. Here are four more strategies to help your day go smoothly and help you alleviate stress.
We get paid for our work. That’s not a reward but something we receive in return for doing good work. A reward is something we receive for going beyond the ordinary and sometimes just completing the ordinary in an extra ordinary fashion. Often, we don’t expect anything more for this work, except the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing good work. This is more about self-satisfaction than aggrandizement. Sometimes successful companies take note of this and highlight these individuals as role models and identify them as potential people they would like to promote. However this is not always the case nor should we expect the company to always take note. Sometimes we know we have done a good job and as a result we can reward ourselves. We don’t need to be extravagant about this. We just need to take time out to pat ourselves on the back. Do something simple like taking a five-minute break before moving on the your next big task, treating yourself with something special over the noon hour, doing a kind act for someone else (a kind act always gets rewarded), …..
Claim The Importance Of Your Work
Whatever you do is important no matter what position you hold. Someone is dependent on you fulfilling your responsibilities. If it wasn’t important then there wouldn’t be a position and you would be out of work. When you signed up with a company no doubt you signed up with intention to carry out your work with the best of your ability. This is something expected by both you and your employer. The best way to align yourself with your work is to ensure what you do is connected with your personal purpose and values. This raises your work to a higher purpose and adds value to you and your employer. A quote attributed to Steve Jobs reads, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I suggest this means that we are not in it just for the paycheck. If the paycheck is the only thing that counts then sooner or later you will become bored, frustrated and unhappy. If this describes you, then you are doing a disserve to yourself and your employer. You are faced with a choice, claim the importance of your work or search for work that fits with your purpose or values. Your work is important, if you don’t see it that way, then make room for someone else who may experience a closer fit. As you sort through your work discontent explore your options with your employer or supervisor, seek career advice with a Human Resource specialist or talk to someone you can trust.
Avoid the Some-Day Stack.
The ‘Some-Day Stack” is that pile of stuff you put off for another time, day or week. If you consistently pile things on that stack, either on your ‘hard desk’ – the one on which your computer sits – or your ‘soft desk’ – the one on which your emails, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sit – or both, they will eventually stress you out. There is an old axiom, “pick it up and decide what you are going to do with it before putting it down,’ and I suggest that we can now add “read it on your monitor and decide what you are going to do with it before going on to the next item’. The process is quite simple. Just decide to do it, delegate it to someone else, time activate it when you can do it, or trash it. If the item is important, set a priority to do it now or set a time when you can do it; if it’s not important and not urgent file it or trash it. If you are in a position where you have the opportunity to delegate consider that option, if you are not, then consider the other four strategies. Remember the process is simple but it takes discipline. And that my friend rests with you.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is something many of us have a modicum of control over but don’t follow appropriate sleep protocol. There are several bad habits that some of us fall into prior to retiring such as watching the late show or a heart thumbing drama on television, reading on tablets or on our phones, drinking an alcohol or coffee beverage, entering into a heated debate, not closing off your day. We have control over all of these items and once again it comes down to self-discipline. Here are some habit changes you can make if you see yourself committing anyone one of these poor sleep preparation habits. Thirty minutes to one hour before bedtime, switch off the television, put your reading tablet and telephone away, drink a cup of warm water or milk and avoid heated exchanges. In the early evening or before you leave work plan your next day by completing any quick activities left on your list; review unfinished business and set a date and time when you plan on completing them; identify your priorities for the next day and plan on completing at least one first thing in the morning. Proper sleep has the effect of improving fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and cognitive functioning. Lack of sleep has an adverse effect on a host of physical health issues. Sleep deprivation is often cited as a primary or secondary cause of industrial and motor vehicle accidents. So the bottom line of getting ‘your best sleep’ results in improving both your physical and emotional wellbeing, your relationships and your work life. For more on sleep deprivation read articles on Webmd. https://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?query=sleep%20deprivation
Thank you for Reading
Richard P. Fontanie MSW
Many of us like a good cup of Joe at our desks but for some the mere sound of slurping coffee is really annoying. Read about a condition called 'misophonia' affecting people who have an out-sized emotional reaction upon hearing triggering sounds like crunching chips, slurping coffee, sniffling, pre-clicking and more. Read about it here.
Joe loses his Job. Follow him as he experiences emotional upheaval, regains confidence, prepares resumes and prepares for interviews and his new place of work. This is PDF file found in Resources
When we look up the definition of success, we find various interpretations of the word. It reminds me about how we look at art. Some people see beauty and feel up-lifted when they gaze on a piece of art. Others look at the same piece and don’t see any beauty nor are they moved by it. Beauty they say, “is in the eye of the beholder,” so too is success.
We use “success” to denote the achievement of a goal or purpose – as “Joan felt successful when she completed her Doctorate” or “Harry had a sense of successful accomplishment when he finished building his house.” It could also signify reaching a level of popularity or wealth; for instance, “people viewed George as successful when he gained notoriety,” or, “June accumulated great wealth and people saw her as successful.” Whether other people saw Joan and Harry as successful is another question; and perhaps George and June don’t regard themselves as successful.
Success is a state of being, an attribute or a feeling - not something we can place on our task list. It is often born out of miss steps, failures, and mistakes which suggests success may come through persistence, tenacity and a willingness to keep trying.
Success then doesn’t seem to come easy, but it is not always achieved because of something we did intentionally. It also can come about by sheer accident. Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson invented the telephone and telegraph after years of persistence and experimentation. Another Alexander, Sir Alexander Fleming, accidently discovered the ingredients for penicillin. Both men are regarded as achieving success.
It appears that the secret to success may be persistence, or not.
I mentioned above that success often relates to accomplishing goals. But what about the person who is not goal directed but living a full life in the "now." Is that person successful? And what about the accumulation of riches often viewed as wealth? I have known many people - and still do - who don’t have lot of money but who are wealthy beyond measure with their wisdom, love, joy and happiness. Are these people successful?
In a previous post I proposed that people are successful when they have a stated purpose in life. I suggested that a purpose statement should have intention with a bias for action, an intangible value and a focus on the other. Purpose statements are goal oriented. People may view themselves as successful when they fulfill their purpose.
Some people desire to live in the ‘now’ and accept whatever life throws at them with calmness, authenticity and integrity. They don’t seek fame, power, fortune, or popularity. They just want to be themselves in the ‘now’. Should we not these people be viewed as successful?
In our consumer-oriented society, we are pushed to become and viewed as successful. We hear phrases like "Dress for Success." "You must study to become successful." "Work hard and you will be successful."
Here success seems to be related to appearance, education and hard work. All laudable in and of themselves but do they tell the whole story? One could argue that our conventional acceptance of the phrases is more about the achievement of personal wealth and stature than about contributing to the social betterment of society. Unless social betterment is added to the mix, such as sharing personal wealth with this less fortunate or improving family life, can we really say we are successful?
When we talk about a successful business person, what are we talking about? The person who has accumulated wealth through business? The person who treats his/her employees well? The person who is well respected in the community? The person who shares his wealth with others? Or, Is it all these things?
Can a business person treat employees well, contribute to her community, or share her wealth without having first succeeded with a positive cash flow and an accumulation of money? Or, does she gain cash flow and personal wealth by achieving those ends? Perhaps the business person achieves success by doing more for others than for herself. In strengthening others is not the self, strengthened? And is not that success?
Is success about an inner strength that propels us to become the person we are meant to be, no matter what that is? When we try something and don't succeed, are we successful? Maybe we are if we learned something from the experience.
We come back full circle to the beginning of the article where it was pointed out that success may really be just a state of mind. My view of success may be different than yours. Does that make me unsuccessful? Maybe in your eyes, but not in mine. What counts most? My view or your view? Who lives’ within "me? Me, of course.
Perhaps success is not found in the accumulation of financial wealth, power, fame or glory but what one does with them. The point of this article is to ask how you define success for "you."
What gives you joy, happiness and satisfaction? To put it another way, what touches your most inner self, your soul? Define that, and you may discover your version of success.
Thanks for reading
Richard Fontanie, MSW, FCMC
Here are nine ways how people define success .
Working on the front-line all day can be draining. Take the example of the customer service professional who doesn’t know what the next question might be, what mood the next customer might be in, or whether the organization will be able to satisfy the customer’s need. Answering telephones, responding to queries, finding solutions to problems, and keeping people satisfied can be rewarding but also quite challenging. When we are at it all day long, week in and week out we can become stressed out. Consider the following six energizing saving strategies as a way to meet this challenge. (Note this post is a further elaboration of the post dated 2.1.17)
Set achievable personal and work goals.
When people set goals, conventional research shows that they live longer. However, if those goals are to be meaningful we should write them out in a way that shows action and measurement. Action means we are going to do something to achieve something; and measurement allows us to track progress along the way. So, when we write goals they should be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable. If goals are not SMART they usually fall into the category of a wish list.
Let's take a couple of examples. At work we can write something like "complete the policy on the wellness program." A laudable goal, but not fully measurable or trackable. There is no time line for completion, so I can say "I'll get to it when I can, and it will be completed sometime, maybe." A great incentive to procrastinate. The goal may be attainable, sometime, and may be relevant to our work. We need to ask, "How does it relate to our work?” And, “what is the level of priority?" If it is not relevant than why are we doing it; if it is, how important is it? Is it: necessary and urgent? urgent and necessary? necessary but not urgent? or urgent but not necessary?
Once these questions are answered we can write a SMART goal such as: "I will complete a draft policy statement on wellness and present it to management for approval by September 30, 2018." Once the goal is stated we can then break it down to achievable monthly tasks, such as: complete the research for the wellness policy by February 8; ask for input from colleagues and receive their comments by March 31; write the first draft of the of the wellness policy by May 31; circulate to colleagues for first review and receive their comments by June 31; make adjustments to the policy statement by July 31; circulate final draft to colleagues and receive their comments, by August 20; prepare a draft policy statement for approval by September 20,2018. Once we know where we are going, ambiguity is lessened, we can measure progress along the way, and we have a comfort level about its attainability. In the end our stress level is reduced.
We can use the same goal setting strategy for our personal life as well. Rather than saying "I'm going to lose weight this year," be more specific: "I'm going to lose 30 pounds/kilos by June 31, 2018." Then set out the tasks to achieve that goal.
Accept the givens.
Often, our anxiety level increases because we worry about things outside are control. Worry doesn't accomplish anything but personal grief, and sometimes grief for others. For instance, we can't control time, but we can control what we do within the time we have; we can't control the weather, but we can control how we plan for poor weather; we can't control how people will relate to us, but we can control how we relate to others. We will have less anxiety if we control those things that are in our control and accept those things that are outside our control.
Thinking positively means approaching our challenges with a positive outlook. It doesn't necessarily mean avoiding those things that make us uncomfortable or ignoring negative situations; instead it means approaching those situations in a positive light, or making the best of a bad situation.(a) We can improve our ability to think positively by affirming or actuating the positive for ourselves and others. Rather than thinking "I can't do this," affirm to yourself that "I can do this;" rather than thinking "I can't get along with this person," think about the positive aspects of the person and affirm those within your mind's eye; rather than thinking "this place is a lousy place to work," think about what I can do to make it a better place to work. Thinking positively is not Pollyanna, pie in the sky thinking. It is thinking that is realistic but tempered with a positive approach to life rather than a negative one.
Thinking positively works. According to the Mayo Clinic positive thinking can lead to a longer life span, less stress, lower rates of depression, increased resistance to the common cold, better coping skills, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, increased physical al well-being and overall better psychological health.
If your approach to life is more on the negative side, and you would like to change your approach take heart, because positive thinking can be learned. In essence you are learning a new habit and as is the case of any change in habit we need to develop habit changing strategies. In this case, identify what needs to change, name it and make a firm commitment to change; throughout the day take a time out and review how you are moving towards greater optimism; whenever you find yourself becoming negative, take pause, and rephrase your thinking or how you are verbalizing your thoughts; start the day with an affirmative or positive thought and reinforce it by verbalizing throughout the day; and, surround yourself with positive people.
Take energy breaks.
One of the hard lessons busy people learn is that their energy drains when they don't fuel up. They skip meals or skimp on meals, gobble down food while working the phone or their computer, and eat junk food rather than nutritious meals. They also learn that when they are at their computer long hours without ergonomic seating or the monitor is too close, they experience strain and pain from their eyes, backs, shoulders and wrists. When these things, happen their body is yelling out, "Take a break!" (For more information on the importance of an energy break for personal wellbeing and business read this Globe and Mail article)
Here are a few suggestions: Work in 90-minute sprints and take a five or ten minute break – in some instances work in fifteen and thirty-minute sprints and take a couple minutes out. Consider: standing up and stretching; taking a short walk down the hall; shifting your eyes from the computer to something else; moving away from your desk to eat properly; going for a walk over the noon hour; or taking five deep breaths, slowing down the mind, and after three minutes coming back to the work at hand. (Read more about 3 minute break}
Drink plenty of fluids.
Walk through any office or observe the reception area and you will find beverages in hand or on the desk – and not the right kind of beverage. We see soda beverages with high sugar content; lattes with high fat content, or coffees with high caffeine content. What's wrong with this picture? It's true our bodies need fluids, but they need the right kind of fluids. Too much of these types of fluids clog the arteries, add an inch or more to the waste and make us jittery. The health hazards are well known – well ok, maybe not so for coffee, but more than four cups of the stuff begin to take its toll. 1. 2.
Water should be at the top of the fluid list. An average adult body is 57%-60% water, lack of water drains our energy and leads to dehydration. Nearly all systems in our body depend on water. Water moistens tissues such as those in the eyes, mouth and nose; regulates body temperature; lubricates joints, helps prevent constipation, lessens the strain on the kidneys and liver and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Drinking water after waking helps activate internal organs, one glass before meals helps digestion, and one glass before bed time helps reduce strokes and heart attack. Make sure water is a major part of your fluid diet. 1
Our body is built to move, so move it regularly. We can be quite sedentary on the front line such as standing or sitting for long periods. Overtime this takes its toll on our bodies and we find fat rolls creeping around our stomach, back-end, and other places too numerous to mention. The antidote to this is exercise. Get up from the chair and walk around, take a walk over the noon hour, take ten-minute walks in the morning, afternoon and evening, take the stairs, if sitting, stand up and read or walk about while reading; join a gym; seek a life style coach or trainer. Do something, just don't sit and stand for hours on end. One more thing, reduce television time, get off the couch and do something in the yard, in the garage or in the park. Do one or two of these activities a day and you will find a change in your energy level.
These re-energizing strategies are not difficult, they just take a bit a self-discipline, and that just might be the hard part. Try one of the strategies each month and find out the difference in: your outlook on life, the strength of your body, the calmness of your mind, and the wholeness of your spirit.
Author Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC
Over the years I have coached many managers, business owners and employees about facing their fears. Here are three typical examples: Jane operated a business which "failed," and now wants to start another, but is "fearful" of "failing again;" a group of employees said "they feared their boss; and, Joe lost his job and now "fears" for his future.
When I asked my partner about her thoughts on fear she said, "fear is the big elephant's mouse in the room." So let's take a look at this little rascal that makes the mighty elephant afraid.
First there are many positive things to say about fear. Fear keeps us from making stupid mistakes, spending money foolishly, and taking unnecessary risks. When an impending danger faces us we rightly react instinctively with a "freeze, flight or fight" response. But when fear stops us from going forward when we should be going forward, or running away from something when we shouldn't, or being overly anxious about something that is trivial, then it's time to take a hard look at how fear holds us hostage. If you are experiencing these later situations here are eight key questions to explore:
Now that you understand the nature of your fear, answer these four questions to begin moving forward.
Let's take another look at the three scenarios mentioned at the beginning of this post.
"Fear of failure."
There are probably many reasons why the first business wasn't successful. What could this person do? She should avoid the "failure trap" and think about how the first experience has taught her many good lessons. Looking at "failure" from this point of view may point her to greater success in her new business. She can also identify the weaknesses and the strengths of the first experience and treat them as learning opportunities; and then. avoid the mistakes and build on the strengths as she prepares for her second journey.
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." Robert Kennedy
"Fear of the boss."
What can the employees do? First they should review why they fear their boss and confront their own fears; secondly, respectfully approach the boss and discuss the negative consequences of his behavior has on them and the culture of the organization; and thirdly, if the situation doesn't change they could seek alternate employment or, accept the givens and recognize that this is the boss's problem and not the employees.
"A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting." - Russell H. Ewing
"Fear of the future."
No one can predict the future with any certainty but one thing I do know is that there is "life" after leaving a place of employment. In this case the person can look at her previous employment with an objective eye and review the results he achieved, understand his own work style and skill sets, and build a resume that outlines these qualities and achievements. This is an opportunity for him to seek the type of employment he always wanted, find a better "employment fit" for his profile and skill sets, or become self-employed. Rather than fear the future, embrace it with a positive attitude and recognize it is filled with opportunity.
"The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future." Audrey Hepburn
Consider all the courageous people who overcame their fear and accomplished great things for themselves and human kind. Yes, they were afraid but they broke through their fear barrier - often with the help of others and a Higher Power. Confront the mouse in your room and you may find it's just a tiny thing anyway.
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC
Revised article from Fontanie Learning Solutions
A positive self-image and personal self-esteem coupled with one's knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, values, attitudes and habits (KSAE'VAH), bring the "I" factor to what one does in life. All of these attributes make up who "I" am and what "I" do
When our purpose and our work's purpose positively intersect, we tend to approach it with greater focus, discipline and positive energy. We also tend to feel alive in mind, spirit and body. There is a synergy about "who we are" and "what we do," which translates into a self-directed passion in life. And when we balance this with all the other values we hold be they for family, community, or personal well being, we begin to contribute in a more meaningful and productive way to work and to society.
Added to this mix is a factor often overlooked and that is the "Power" within us. A "Power “which comes from a Spiritual Source. When we touch this Source and connect with It, then purpose, passion and values "truly" become alive in our everyday action. We move from going through the motions on the job to becoming fully alive in our work and life.
Our sense of pride and accomplishment comes from doing our best - no matter what the job is. A sense of confidence comes from understanding our products and services and having the skills to do the work. We are who we are because of our KSAE'VAHs all of which may be strengthened or weakened by what we do, who we associate with and what we say.
To be a "Star" in our work and in service to our customers, colleagues and others require us not only to have knowledge and skills but also to understand our "inner selves" and then to err on the side of positive values, attitudes and habits.
"When our "I" aligns with our work we succeed, no matter what we do. In that sense there is no work better than other work. And there is no room to look down upon another because of what she or he does in life." Anonymous
What to do: Consider the following questions - Am "I" really connected with what "I" do? How do "I" contribute to the well being of my organization, family or society? What are the three most important qualities of my work? How do they contribute to my well being? Am I "truly alive" in what I do and how I serve others?
Want to learn more? Consider reading a book on self-improvement, here are three that may help: Stephen R. Covey, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change," Dale Carnegie's classic book, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People," and Travis Bradberry's book "Emotional Intelligence." Consider a workshop on Influencing- www.Prioritymanagement.com has a excellent one, or Adventures in Attitudes, or A Course in Miracles.
Author: From the archives Fontanie Learning Solutions.
One of my former business colleagues was a retired goldsmith. His designs and craftsmanship became the envy of all who knew him. He told me that the Canadian Diamond was one of his favorite gems. He promoted Canadian Diamonds not only for their pristine brilliance and clarity but also for the way they are mined, cut and polished in keeping with high environmental and labour standards.
Diamonds have a unique standing in our society. They represent value, love, longevity, strength and purity. Diamonds are exchanged as gifts to express one's love and yes, sometimes forgiveness. They symbolize lasting relationships and are set in rings of gold to celebrate and cherish engagements, weddings and anniversaries.
Before the stone becomes the gem of sparkling brilliance it is nothing more than a diamond in the rough. Are we diamonds in the rough? Can we reflect the brilliance of the diamond within us? The answer of course is, yes. It takes the polish of practice, determination and constant honing of our skills, character and habits to get there though.
We have heard of the dictum "give and you shall receive," but to give without expecting to receive makes our diamond shine brighter.
What to do: Take five minutes out from what you are doing right now and start polishing the diamond within you.
Want to learn more? Read a good book that will inspire you. Here's one that I enjoyed: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, "Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling."
Working on the front-line all day long can be draining. Take the example of the customer service professional who doesn’t know what the next question might be, what mood the next customer might be in, or whether the organization will be able to satisfy the customer’s need. Answering telephones, responding to queries, finding solutions to problems, and keeping people satisfied can be rewarding but also quite challenging. When we are at it all day long, week in and week out we can become stressed out.
What to do: In order to be “up” to the challenge consider the following 15 tips:
Want to Learn More? Spend 10 minutes a day reading books by Eckhart Tolle author of "The Power of Now" and "Stillness Speaks"; or Peter G. Hanson, M.D. author of "The Joy of Stress" and "Stress for Success."
From the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.