Focus Less on Work to Improve Everything – Even Your Job

Stressed about not getting enough done at work? Don’t be. It turns out that you can improve how much you get things done at the office by not thinking about it. Turn your attention elsewhere and focus on things that do matter instead.

But, how can performance at work improve with less attention paid to it? There are several reasons:

  • Clearer focus on results that really matter to the people around you.
  • Less wasted effort on activities that aren’t that important.
  • Reduced psychological interference across domains as a result of being less distracted, because you’re taking care of critical needs in those other parts.
  • A virtuous cycle of benefits from one part of your life spilling over to other parts; for example, greater confidence, less crankiness, and a stronger sense of control.

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help Patients Cope with Schizophrenia

Cognitive behavioural therapy can be used by people dealing with schizophrenia to improve their lives. Just six sessions of the therapy can help people deal with worry which can lead to schizophrenic episodes or even be used to help people who are at risk of developing schizophrenia.

Six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) focused upon reducing worry reduced the severity of persecutory delusions, the researchers found.

The patients were much happier and less fearful of other people after therapy. These effects lasted at least six months.

A study participant commented, ‘The breakthrough was that I was able to, with the help of my psychologist, come up with a strategy – that is, when worry is gripping me I would say ‘Excuse me worry, I need to interrupt you because…’. I sometime worry about people trying to harm me but now I can interrupt my worry and do something else’.

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Investing in Mental Health is Good for Everyone

Mental health is important for everybody and painting it can be challenging for many people. As with most preventive practises it’s wise to invest in it. The benefits of keeping society in good mental health is a benefit for everybody.

Where relevant statistics have been available, a huge trove of data has been collected over the past 15 years on how these mental health issues translate into healthcare costs and disability claims expenses. While nations that don’t really recognize or provide for mental health issues don’t have to deal with the aforementioned costs, the data also consistently shows that mental health problems result in quantifiable losses in productivity and profitability due to days skipped, employee turnover, and even just zoning out or slowing down while at work. Estimates from the early 2000s claim an office could lose up to six days of labor per month to absenteeism, and 31 days per month due to presenteeism (being there but working at a low speed), problems up to three times more likely to occur in mentally unhealthy workers than in other groups. In the U.S., mental health disorders contribute to job loss or the inability to find a job for over three million workers per year, and chronic unemployment seems even more common the more severe one’s mental health issues become.

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Habits for Happiness

It turns out that just by doing some small changes to your daily routine you can dramatically improve your happiness. By adding very small habits to your day you can see big change! It’s not only for happiness but you can also use habits to alter other aspects of your life.

The key is not to think about grand, sweeping changes, but rather, small ones. Fogg would say very, very small. Back at Stanford, Fogg used his research to develop the “Tiny Habits” formation by keeping it deliberately simple. It runs counter to the way we think about changing habits. No one tries to meditate for three breaths; it’s often 15 or 30 minutes. Maybe we think aiming big is important because, that way, at least we’ll do half of it. It turns out the exact opposite is true.

To build a habit, Fogg says, you use an existing routine, such as brushing your teeth, as the anchor. That anchor becomes the reminder. Next, you do an incredibly simple version of the target behaviour. If you want to develop the habit of flossing, you make your goal to floss one tooth. That’s it. The habit isn’t learning how to floss, because everyone knows how to do it. The habit, Fogg says, is remembering to do it. Then, the final step is to celebrate instantly. Maybe shout “Victory!” or think of the theme music to Rocky. “What you’re doing is, you’re hacking your emotional state,” says Fogg. “You’re deliberately firing off an emotion right after you floss.” It sounds odd, especially because your fingers are probably messy and your gums could be painful. But, says Fogg, “emotions create habits. The habits that form quickly in our lives have an instant emotional payoff.”

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