Scientists seek to quantify everything—even the ineffable. And so the human search for meaning recently took a physical turn as Columbia and Yale University researchers isolated the place in our brains that processes spiritual experiences.
In a new study, published in Cerebral Cortex (paywall) on May 29, neuroscientists explain how they generated “personally relevant” spiritual experiences in a diverse group of subjects and scanned their brains while these experiences were happening. The results indicate that there is a “neurobiological home” for spirituality. When we feel a sense of connection with something greater than the self—whether transcendence involves communion with God, nature, or humanity—a certain part of the brain appears to activate.
The study suggests that there is universal, cognitive basis for spirituality, as opposed to a cultural grounding for such states. This new discovery, researchers say, could help improve mental health treatment down the line.
by Marcel Schwantes
Anger is one powerful human emotion. It is also a very normal human emotion that needs to be expressed in a healthy way. But there's a place and time for appropriate anger, and we all have to learn how to manage it before it escalates.
That takes emotional intelligence -- the ability to exercise self-awareness to understand the situation from multiple angles and self-control to see things through other filters before pulling the anger-trigger.
When anger comes knocking, and it will, we have to know how to deal with it appropriately. If mismanaged, it can take down company morale and sabotage your ability to lead and collaborate well.
Here are six habits of people that manage theirs remarkably well.
By Adam Schorr
Consider a married couple. He’s spent the last 20 years working on himself. Learning, exploring, discovering. Changing. So has she. Each has been on a journey of enlightenment to become a better person. And they are, in fact, both of them, wonderful people. But they’ve each been on their own journey, and now, while each is one with the universe, they’re not in the same universe. They have nothing left in common. He doesn’t fit in her world. And she doesn’t fit in his.
This scenario came to mind recently during a conversation with a financial services executive I advise. He is interested in becoming a more creative leader. And it occurred to me that there are really two dimensions to this challenge. Or any leadership challenge.
There’s the internal work of improving yourself. But in parallel, there must also be the work of engaging your team. When you work on yourself but not on your team, two unintended consequences can unfold.
by Suzie Doscher
There are wonderful books, classes, films, talks, workshops, DVDs, magazine articles, conversations, coaches, and therapists teaching the importance of being in the moment, staying in the now and going with the flow. But how do you really do this?
It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the now. After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the now, is all we have. The fact remains that most people do not live in the present moment and have to learn how to do so.
Reasons to master living in the moment:
Steps to practice being in the moment:
By Carol Tuttle
Overwhelmed, scattered, totally worn out. Does that ever sound like you? Even though you’re committed to work-life balance, sometimes equilibrium isn’t as easy to find as you’d like.
Most advice suggests that you set boundaries, manage time better, and practice self-care. Yes, those are important. But if you’re juggling a hundred balls, you need an overall strategy to calm things down — not just tactics that give you more to do.
Consider the possibility that you can have work-life balance with a simpler (and even counterintuitive) approach.
Where your balance (and imbalance) actually comes from
It’s easy to look at your emails, phone calls, meetings and to-do’s and believe that they are the problem. Everything coming at you is just too much!
by Suzie Doscher, Executive and Life Coach, Zurich, Switzerland
In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.” One way or another, control freaks are not always easy to be around.
I understand this personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust others or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason, control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
by Suzie Doscher, Life and Executive Coach - The Coaching Group of Switzerland
Learning how to respond to a situation rather than reacting brings huge rewards. Needless to say, it is one of those behaviour changes that are easier said than done. However it can be achieved.
Being able to respond to /act upon means you are in a mindful place - a place where you are aware of your thoughts and feelings. This means you have considered the situation and the response that best suits you.
'Responding' rather than 'reacting' means you are choosing your behaviour. To 'react' indicates that a button has been pushed – something triggered you not to take the time to think and consider your response. This can often leave you in a position at the mercy of others.
Some of the benefits by stopping the knee-jerk type reactions are:
By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
by Thomas Oppong
You are most productive in the morning, according to research.
Your best work happens within a short time span of the day. And you should be making the most of it.
Instead of letting others dictate your priorities, give yourself at least an hour to focus without external distractions.
BY STEPHANIE VOZZA - 4 MINUTE READ
Ever have to psych yourself up to go to work? If that’s the case more often than not, your job might not align with your personal motives, says Carter Cast, author of The Right (and Wrong) Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made and Unmade.
Strengths are your natural skillsets, and motives are the place from which you draw energy, says Cast. They differ from values, which are what’s important to you. “If you ask someone what their values are, they can rattle them off quickly,” he says. “Motives are much harder to identify because we’re often not conscious of them. They’re the river that flows under us.”
A mismatch in job and motives will wear you down and eventually cause you to fail to live up to your potential, says Cast. “Currently, the assumption is that if you took this job, it’s the right job for you,” says Cast. “But people who are smart, don’t have a skill gap, and are good interpersonally will underperform if they don’t have energy for position.”