Tag Archives: coping

Coping or Complacency? Rationalization Instead of Behavior Change Is Learned Early

Sigmund Freud, Ernest Jones

Rationalization was described by Freud biographer and psychoanalyst Ernest Jones as an unconscious maneuver to provide plausible explanation that manages unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings.

Gil Diesendruck

This tactic was observed among children as young as ages four to six, by Bar-Ilan University’s Avi Benozio and Gil Diesendruck.
They suggested that these children had already learned to “reframe” disappointing circumstances as a way of reducing uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, described by New School’s Leon Festinger.

Leon Festinger

In Benozio’s and Diesendruck’s experiments, children ages three, four, five and six years old completed assignments in exchange for colorful adhesive stickers that varied in attractiveness and appeal to each age group.

The young participants could invest considerable effort or minimal work in tasks ranging in challenge from reporting current age to closing eyes and counting as far as possible – then counting five more.
The children were permitted to keep these prizes or give them to an unidentified person.

When six year olds invested substantial effort to obtain attractive rewards, they were less likely to relinquish these valued stickers to others.
However, four year olds did not demonstrate this discerning difference in awarding their winnings to others. 

Elliot Aronson

When six year olds applied significant effort to obtaining less desirable rewards, they also distributed fewer to others, but their reasoning differed.
They adjusted their appraisal of the less attractive stickers, indicating that these prizes were more appealing.
Younger children reduced the dissonance using a different strategy: Four year olds discarded stickers rather than more favorably assessing their value.

Aesop

These behavioral differences suggest that these children learn to rationalize by age six and this strategy persists among adults, found Stanford’s Elliot Aronson and the U.S. Army’s Judson Mills.
Their controlled studies validate Aesop‘s observation of “sweet lemons” and “sour grapes” in the well-known fable The Fox and the Grapes.

To mitigate potential errors in inferring preference and rationalization from this type of study, UCLA’s Johanna M. Jarcho and Matthew D. Lieberman with Elliot T. Berkman of University of Oregon conducted fMRIs while participants completed decisions to test attitude change linked to cognitive dissonance.

Joanna Jarcho

Joanna Jarcho

Brain activity significantly increased in the right-inferior frontal gyrus, medial fronto-parietal regions and ventral striatum while decreasing in the anterior insula, suggesting a pattern of rapid reappraisal required in emotional regulation.
Rationalization, then, may be an automatic coping mechanism rather than an unconscious defense mechanism.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr

Benozio and Diesendruck warned that this adaptive capacity could lead to complacent acceptance instead of working to change negative circumstances, articulated in the well-known Serenity Prayer attributed to Yale’s Reinhold Niebuhr:

…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

-*To what extent is rationalization a logical error?
-*Or is rationalization an effective emotional regulation strategy?

Related Posts:

Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+

Facebook

©Kathryn Welds

Advertisements

Recognizing, Coping with Long-Lasting Emotions

Philippe Verduyn

Philippe Verduyn

Most people feel sad longer than they feel ashamed, surprised, irritated or bored because sadness is most often triggered by important events that require time for emotional and cognitive processing, according to University of Leuven’s Philippe Verduyn and Saskia Lavrijsen.

Saskia Lavrijssen

Saskia Lavrijssen

This finding that emotions triggered by personally-important events are longer-lasting may seen intuitively obvious, but Verduyn and Lavrjsen empirically validated earlier hypotheses suggested by University of Amsterdam’s Joep Sonnemans and Nico Frijda as well as University of Leuven’s Verduyn, Iven Van Mechelen, and Francis Tuerlinckx.

Joep Sonnemans

Joep Sonnemans

They asked more than 230 volunteers to remember recent emotional episodes and report their duration.

Klaus R. Scherer

Klaus R. Scherer

Participants also described their strategies to evaluate and deal with emotions categorized by Swiss Center for Affective Sciences’ s Klaus R. Scherer, including admiration, anger, anxiety, being touched, boredom, compassion, contentment, desperation, disappointment, disgust, enthusiasm, fear, gratitude, guilt, hatred, hope, humiliation, irritation, jealousy, joy, pride, relaxation, relief, sadness, shame, stress, and surprise.

James Gross

James Gross

Volunteers rated coping strategies according to a model of emotional regulation developed by Stanford’s James Gross and Ross A. Thompson of University of California Davis:

  • Situation selection – Entering the situation that elicited emotion
  • Situation modification – Trying to change the event that elicited the emotion
  • Distraction – Attempting to distract attention from the emotional situation
  • Rumination – Continued thinking about feelings and consequences of the event
  • Reflecting – Considering the emotion-eliciting event, but not repetitively ruminating
  • Reappraisal – Trying to differently view the emotion-eliciting event
  • Emotional suppression – Attempting to stop experiencing the emotion
  • Expressive suppression – Trying not expressing the emotion.
Iven Van Mechelen

Iven Van Mechelen

Participants also rated their appraisal of the situation that triggered emotion based on Scherer’s Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire:

  • Event importance – Extent the event that elicited the emotion was important to them
  • Event impact – Advantages and disadvantages of the event that elicited the emotion
  • Other responsibility – Degree that someone else was responsible for the emotion-eliciting event
  • Self responsibility – Degree that they were responsible for the emotion-eliciting event
  • Problem-focused coping – Extent that they could change something about the emotion- eliciting event
  • Emotion-focused coping – Extent that they could change something about the emotion elicited by the event
  • Expectedness – Degree to which they anticipated the emotion-eliciting event
  • Negative impact on self-image – Extent to which they judged the emotion-evoking event as reducing self-esteem
  • Injustice – Degree to which they judged the emotion-eliciting event as unjust
  • Immorality – Extent to which they judged the emotion-eliciting event as immoral.

Verduyn and Lavrijsen differentiated emotions from moods by telling volunteers that an emotion is always elicited by an external or internal event with a specific onset point.

Karen Brans

Karen Brans

The team also provided two differing definitions of an emotion’s end point:
Half the participants were told than an emotion ends as soon as the emotion is no longer felt for the first time (except for sleep) whereas the remaining volunteers were told than an emotion ends as soon as one has fully recovered from the event.

Emotion duration differed for similar emotions, such as persistent guilt compared with transient shame, and longer-lasting anxiety contrasted with intense but fleeting fear.

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

Two regulation strategiesrumination and reflection – and one appraisal dimensionevent importance – were associated with increased emotion duration, supporting theories by KU Leuven’s Iven Van Mechelen, Verduyn, and Karen Brans, and empirical research by Yale’s Susan Nolen-Hoeksema.

Of these 27 emotions, sadness lasted the longest.
Other positive and negative emotions, including shame, surprise, fear, disgust, boredom, being touched, irritated or feeling relief, rapidly dissipated, supporting other findings by Verduyn and Brans.

Though boredom, shame, and fear seem to endure endlessly, this research indicates that they are more transient than most people expect.
These unpleasant experiences pass, as do significant incidents that require time to “process.”

Follow-share-like http://www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

  • What coping and appraisal strategies are most helpful in shortening the duration of unpleasant emotions?

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds

 

 

Are You Excited Yet? Anxiety as Positive “Excitement” to Improve Performance

Alison Wood Brooks

Alison Wood Brooks

People can improve performance in tasks as varied as public speaking, mathematical problem solving, and karaoke singing, by reappraising anxiety as “excitement,” according to Harvard’s Alison Wood Brooks.

Using silent self-talk messages like “I am excited” or reading self-direction messages like “Get excited!” fosters an “opportunity mind-set” by increasing “congruence” between physical arousal experience and situational appraisal.

Michael Eysenck

Michael Eysenck

Unlike “excitement,” anxiety drains working memory capacity, decreases self-confidence, self-efficacy, and performance for non-experts before or during a task, according to Michael W. Eysenck of Unversity of London.

Further, trying to counteract anxiety with “calm” is difficult and usually ineffective because it represents a large shift from negative emotion to neutral or positive emotion and from physiological activation to low arousal levels, noted Brooks.

Stefan Hofmann

Stefan Hofmann

In addition, efforts to “calm” physiological arousal during anxiety can result in a paradoxical increase in the suppressed, warded-off emotion, reported Stefan Hofmann of Boston University and colleagues.
However, most people in Woods’ studies still believed that the best way to handle anxiety is to increase calmness, whether for themselves or for a co-worker.

Jeremy Jamieson

Jeremy Jamieson

In contrast to the usually-unpleasant experience of anxiety, “excitement” is typically viewed as a positive, pleasant emotion that can improve performance, according to Harvard’s Jeremy Jamieson and colleagues.

Anxiety and excitement have similar physiological arousal profiles, but different effects on performance.

Stanley Schachter

Stanley Schachter

This can lead to mislabeling and confusing the two experiences, demonstrated in much-cited studies by Columbia’s Stanley Schacter and Jerome Singer of SUNY.
Anxiety’s similarity to excitement can be used to advantage by intentionally relabeling uncomfortably high “anxiety” as pleasant “excitement” to mitigate anxiety’s negative impact on performance.

Jerome Singer

Jerome Singer

Brooks provoked anxiety by telling volunteers that they would present an impromptu, videotaped speech.

For some participants, she moderated anxiety by mentioning that it is “normal” to feel discomfort or fear and asked them to “take a realistic perspective on this task, by recognizing that there is no reason to feel anxious” and “the situation does not present a threat to you…there are no negative consequences to be concerned with.”
She also told volunteers to say aloud randomly-assigned self-statements like “I am excited.”

People who stated I am excitedbefore their speech were rated as more persuasive, more competent more confident, and more persistent (spoke longer), than participants who said “I am calm.”

Brooks evaluated peoples’ reactions to another anxiety-provoking task, performing a karaoke song for an audience and rated by program’s voice recognition software for “singing accuracy” based on:

  • Volume (quiet-loud)
  • Pitch (distance from true pitch)
  • Note duration (accuracy of breaks between notes).

This score determined participants’ payment for participating in the study.

Before performing, she asked participants to make a randomly-assigned self-statement:

  • “I am anxious”
  • “I am excited”
  • “I am calm”
  • “I am angry”
  • “I am sad”
  • No statement.

Following their performance, volunteers rated their anxiety, excitement, and confidence in their singing ability.
People who said that they were “excited” had higher pulse rates than other groups, confirming that self-statements can affect physical experiences of emotion.

In addition, volunteers who said “I am excited” has the highest scores for singing accuracy and also for “singing self-efficacy” – confidence in singing skill.

In contrast, those who said, “I am anxious had the lowest scores for singing accuracy, suggesting that focus on anxiety is associated with lower performance.

Brooks elicited anxiety on “a very difficult IQ test…under time pressure” that would determine their payment for participation.
To evoke further anxiety, she concluded, “Good luck minimizing your loss.”

Before the test, participants read a statement:

  • “Try to remain calm” or
  • “Try to get excited.”

Those instructed to “get excited” produced more correct answers than those who tried to “remain calm.”

Across these anxiety-provoking tasks encountered in daily life – public speaking, cognitive tasks, creative performance – reappraising anxiety as “excitement” increased the subjective experience of “excitement” instead of anxiety, and improved subsequent performance.

Because reappraisal as “excitement” is congruent with physiological arousal common to both anxiety and excitement, volunteers more readily endorsed the reappraisal than the “arousal incongruent” appraisal of calmness.

Stéphane Côté

Stéphane Côté

Inauthentic emotional displays can be physically and psychologically demanding, according to University of Toronto’s Stéphane Côté and Christopher Miners, but arousal-congruent reappraisal primed an “opportunity mind-set” and a stress-is-enhancing” mind-set, which enabled superior performance across different anxiety-arousing situations.

People have “profound control and influence …over our own emotions,” according to Woods.
She noted that “Saying “I am excited” represents a simple, minimal intervention…to prime an opportunity mind-set and improve performance…

Advising employees to say “I am excited” before important performance tasks or simply encouraging them to “get excited” may increase their confidence, improve performance, and boost beliefs in their ability to perform well in the future.”

 -*How effective have you found focusing on “excitement” instead of “calm” in managing anxiety?

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds

Emotional Awareness Enables Focus, Risk-taking Even When “Stressed”

Jeremy Yip

Jeremy Yip

Greater emotional understanding enables people to quell the “incidental emotion” of anxiety while they focus on decisions, according to Wharton’s Jeremy Yip and Stéphane Côté of University of Toronto.

Stéphane Côté

Stéphane Côté

Incidental emotions that influence decision-making have been called “the affect heuristic” by University of Oregon’s Paul Slovic, Melissa Finucane of the East-West Center, Ohio State’s Ellen Peters, and Donald MacGregor, then of Decision Research.

Paul Slovic

Paul Slovic

People with greater emotional intelligence can separate unpleasant thoughts and feelings from decision making and are less likely to show the affect heuristic bias in risky decisions.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud considered this ability to separate unpleasant thoughts and feelings as a defense mechanism deployed unconsciously to reduce anxiety and preserve self-esteem.
He called this experience “isolation,” contrasted with “compartmentalization,” which he defined as separating unpleasant emotions from each other.

Roy Baumeister

Roy Baumeister

Florida State’s Roy F. Baumeister, with Karen Dale then of Case Western, and Baruch College’s Kristin L. Sommer, documented recent studies that demonstrate “isolation” as a defense mechanism or coping strategy to contain negative feelings, “emotional contagion,” and “spillover.”

John Mayer

John Mayer

Yip and Côté demonstrated the relationship among emotional intelligence, evoked anxiety and propensity to make riskier choices in their lab studies of more than 100 volunteers, who completed the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test developed by Yale’s Peter Salovey and David R. Caruso with John D. Mayer of University of New Hampshire.

David R Caruso

David R Caruso

One group received an anxiety-provoking assignment:  One minute to prepare a videotaped speech shown to peers studying “academic and social standing” at the university.
The other group was given a less stressful assignment:  Prepare a grocery list.

Volunteers in both groups could choose their compensation for participating in the study: Receive $1, or take a one in 10 chance to receive $10.

Melissa Finucane

Melissa Finucane

For those given the stressful speech-writing task, people who scored higher on emotional intelligence chose the riskier option to receive $10 three times as often as those who scored lower on emotional intelligence.

In contrast, volunteers who completed the low-stress task made similar choices for compensation no matter the level of emotional intelligence.

Ellen Peters

Ellen Peters

However, people can learn emotional awareness skills to enable mental focus and contain unrelated incidental emotions, according to related studies by Yip and Côté.

They demonstrated this ability to contain anxiety when some volunteers in the speech-writing task were told they “might feel worried” because making a speech is an anxiety-producing task.
Other speech-creators received no further instructions.

Kristin Sommer

Kristin Sommer

Yip and Côté “primed” no emotion among some grocery list-creators by saying that they “may feel no emotion” or no instructions.
Participants were then primed to separate their emotions from their decision-making by being told that their emotions were irrelevant to their decisions.

 Volunteers read information about the benefits of receiving flu injections and consequences of no inoculation during flu season.
Then participants were given the option to register for nearby flu injection clinic.

The reminder that emotions were irrelevant to decisions changed previous results, by increasing the frequency that participants with lower emotional awareness chose the riskier option of not attending the flu injection clinic.

 The findings suggest that adults can reduce emotional bias in decision-making by explicitly identifying emotions and separating them from critical thinking processes

Questions that enable people to separate emotions, thoughts, and decisions include:

  • How do I feel right now?
  • What is causing me to feel that way?
  • And are my feelings relevant to the decision I need to make?

-*How do you avoid the affect heuristic when making decisions?

Follow-share-like http://www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Evidence-Based Stress Management – Physical Exercise – Part 5 of 5

Michael Hopkins-David Bucci

Michael Hopkins-David Bucci

“The positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms,” argue Michael Hopkins, FC DavisMichelle VanTieghemPaul Whalen and David Bucci of Dartmouth.

Michelle VanTieghem

Michelle VanTieghem

They compared effects of a single exercise session or repeated sessions on non-exercising volunteers who were genotyped to determine brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a nerve growth factor important in long-term memory.

Paul Whalen

Paul Whalen

Participants were measured on novel object recognition (NOR) memory and mental health dimensions before and after engaging in a 4-week exercise program or a single exercise session.

More frequent exercisers performed better on object recognition memory and said they experienced less stress, but only when their 4 week program included a final test.
In contrast, a single exercise session did not affect recognition memory and resulted in increased perceived stress levels.

This study found no relationship between exercise-induced cognitive benefits and changes in mood and anxiety, suggesting that perceived stress is controlled by a different neural system.

Timothy Schoenfeld

Timothy Schoenfeld

In contrast, Princeton’s Timothy Schoenfeld, Pedro Rada, Pedro Pieruzzini, Brian Hsueh, and Elizabeth Gould, reported different results with mice.
They investigated the paradox of exercise:  It promotes new, excitable brain cells that can aid learning and memory, yet exercise can induce calm in various brain areas.

Elizabeth Gould

Elizabeth Gould

Schoenfeld and team controlled for pre-existing nervousness in adult mice and allowed half to exercise and half to remain sedentary over a six week period.

Exercisers were more willing to cautiously explore and spend time in open areas, suggesting they were more confident and less anxious than their sedentary counterparts.

Brian Hsueh

Brian Hsueh

The runners’ brains developed new, excitable neurons in the hippocampus’ ventral region, associated with processing emotions and releasing GABA, which inhibits brain activity such as the subjective experience of anxiety.

All animals encountered the physical stress of cold water for five minutes, and showed many immediate early genes indicating neuron firing.
However, the runner rats calmed more rapidly due to their release of GABA after this physical stress.

Though this study was conducted with animals, the findings suggest that physical exercise builds capacity to recover more rapidly from stress by regulating anxiety through ventral hippocampus inhibition.

Brett Klika

Brett Klika

Like other stress management recommendations, regular exercise is difficult for many to adopt as an habit.
For reluctant exercisers, Brett Klika and Chris Jordan of Human Performance Institute offer a rapid but challenging solution: “Seven Minutes of Steady Discomfort.”

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan

Their Scientific 7-Minute Workout includes 12 exercises using a chair, wall and body weight, for interval training alternating large muscles in the upper and lower body.
Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds, at a discomfort rating of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 second rest between.
Though quick, this routine may not be easy, and further willpower may be needed to adopt this approach.

Kirsten Burgomaster

Kirsten Burgomaster

McMaster University’s Kirsten BurgomasterKrista Howarth, Stuart PhillipsMaureen MacDonaldSL McGeeMartin Gibala with Mark Rakobowchuk now of Brunel University validated Klika and Jordan’s proposed Seven Minutes of Discomfort.

Stuart Phillips

Stuart Phillips

They noted that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of endurance training like running or bike riding.

John Salamone

John Salamone

Motivational help may be available by activating nucleus accumbens dopamine, which can regulate motivation and lead to goal initiation and persistence, according to University of Connecticut’s John Salamone and Mercè Correa of Universitat Jaume I of Castellón.

Mercè Correa

Mercè Correa

They refined the common assumption that dopamine is associated with reward systems and noted that nucleus accumbens dopamine, involved in appetitive and aversive motivational processes, may provide a biochemical approach to managing motivation and task persistence.

Though it may be difficult to muster the motivation to exercise regularly, these research findings suggest that regular exercise can lead to increased coping and cognitive abilities.

-*To what extent should workplaces promote exercise to reduce stress and increase cognitive performance?

->Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS

Motivation to Manage Stress

Mindful Attention (Part 2)

Social Support (Part 3)

Music (Part 4)

Nature

Sleep

Organizational Roles, Practices

Look for related posts on:

  • Vitamins and Probiotcs (Part 1)
  • Mindful Attention (Part 2)
  • Social Support (Part 3)
  • Music (Part 4)

Twitter@kathrynwelds
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
Google+:
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Evidence-Based Stress Management – Vitamins, Probiotics – Part 1 of 5

The majority of U.S. adults experience significant anxiety and stress each day, often compounded by the use of multiple electronic devices, cognitive overload, and “social comparison” when participating in social media.

Amy Arnsten

Amy Arnsten

General stress and anxiety can negatively affect work performance because it can undermine prefrontal cognitive abilities and eventually lead to architectural changes in prefrontal dendrites, according to Yale’s Amy Arnsten.

John Medina of Seattle University concurred, noting that prefrontal cortex structural damage occurs when catecholamines and glucocorticoids are released during stress experiences.

John Medina

John Medina

He amplified Arnsten’s findings by linking these substances to declines in processing language and math, working memory, and attention regulation as well as to increased fear conditioning and memory for negative emotional states.

Stress management recommendations abound, and this series of five blog posts reviews research evidence supporting suggestions that usually require commitment and willpower, such as eliminating multi-tasking and reducing internet usage.

Michael Roizen

Michael Roizen

If reducing media usage is an unappealing prospect, heavy users can cite  Michael Roizen‘s findings at Cleveland Clinic, that the internet can be a vehicle for stress management.
He reported that internet-based stress management programs are effective.

Two familiar nutritional suggestions have been reconfirmed in recent research:  Include vitamins as well as probiotics (beneficial bacteria) found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, soft cheese, miso, sourdough bread, sour pickles or supplements.

Bonnie Kaplan

Bonnie Kaplan

University of Calgary’s Bonnie Kaplan validated claims that vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy, manage stress, enhance mood and reduce fatigue for those prone to anxiety and depression as well as for healthy adults.

Kaplan found that among 97 adults with diagnosed mood disorders, higher vitamin and mineral intake over three days were significantly correlated with enhanced mood, better mental functioning and reduced stress.

Sara-Jayne Long

Sara-Jayne Long

David Benton

David Benton

Similarly, Sara-Jayne Long and David Benton of University of Swansea showed that people who took a multivitamin pill for a month experienced a 68 percent reduction in anxiety and perceived stress, but not depression, fatigue or confusion, in their meta-analytic review.
Supplements containing high doses of B vitamins may be more effective in improving mood states.

Kirsten Tillisch

Kirsten Tillisch

Kirsten Tillisch of UCLA and 10 collaborators demonstrated the cognitive benefits of eating foods containing probiotics.
Tillisch and team reported that women who regularly consumed probiotics in yogurt showed altered brain function in managing stress and anxiety both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.

Participants were women between ages 18 and 55, divided into three groups who consumed different dietary products:

  • Yogurt containing a mix of several probiotics twice a day for four weeks
  • Dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics
  • No fermented milk product

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans before and after the four-week study and found that women who consumed the probiotic yogurt were better able to modulate experimentally-induced anxiety and stress.

Participants showed decreased activity in the insula when they viewed a series of pictures of people with angry or frightened faces and matched them to other faces showing the same emotions.
In addition, volunteers had somatosensory cortex activity during the emotional reactivity task, demonstrating better stress coping.

During the resting brain scan, participants in each group showed differing activity patterns in the brainstem’s periaqueductal grey area and the prefrontal cortex, confirming the impact of dietary change on signals to and from the intestine to the brain.

Probiotics were associated with enhanced stress management, with the benefits popularized by journalist Michael Pollan.

For those unenthusiastic about foods containing probiotics, supplements may complement vitamins in a stress-containment program.

-*How effective have you found probiotics, vitamins, and reduced internet usage to manage stress?
-*What approaches do you use to initiate and sustain habit change for stress management?

RELATED POSTS

Motivation to Manage Stress

Mindful Attention (Part 2)

Social Support (Part 3)

Music (Part 4)

Nature

Sleep

Organizational Roles, Practices

Look for related posts on:

  • Mindful Attention (Part 2)
  • Social Support (Part 3)
  • Music (Part 4)
  • Physical Exercise (Part 5)

    Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

Twitter:  @kathrynwelds
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
Google+:
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Innovators’s Personality Characteristics and Shibumi Principles Drive Innovation

Øyvind Martinsen

Øyvind Martinsen

BI Norwegian Business School’s Øyvind Martinsen identified components of creative personalities as key attributes for innovative problem solving in business organizations.

Martinsen’s study of 481 people included two groups of students in creative fields: advertising and performing artists,  and a control group of lecturers and managers.

He found that creative individuals differed from the control groups in several dimensions:

  • Have an active imagination, “associative orientation”, an “experimental attitude”
  • Value originality, are comfortable rebelling against rules, standards, and systems
  • Demonstrate high motivation to succeed
  • Become absorbed in creative work
  • Are ambitious Desire recognition, fame
  • Adapt, reimagine, rebrand, and flex to meet current demands and realities
  • Express anxiety, worry, volatile emotions  
  • Demonstrate less concern, friendliness and sensitivity to others
  • Tend to be more critical of others

Martinsen says that a less creative individuals can increase this capacity when their work environments encourage rule-bending and free thought, so organizations can modify policies and practices to convey acceptance of exploration.

Employees are often urged to take chances by innovating solutions, but sometimes these Ryan Fehr - Workplace Forgiveness Modelincubation efforts may not result in a commercial success — and organizations may not “forgive” the investment of time and money in speculative efforts.

University of Washington’s Ryan Fehr with Michele Gelfand of University of Maryland suggest that organizations should establish the conditions for innovation and for accepting that experimentation may provide “lessons learned” even when efforts cannot be brought to market.

Ryan Fehr

Ryan Fehr

Their research investigated “forgiving organizations” that expand the individual practice of workplace compassion and mindfulness to an institutional level.

Michele Gelfand

Michele Gelfand

Fehr and Gelfand propose a “sensemaking” organizational model based on restorative justice, temperance, and compassion to cultivate the climate of fearless innovation and confident exploration in high-support organizations, which benefit from process and product breakthroughs and related financial rewards.

Matthew May

Matthew May

Matthew May explored a multi-faced exemplar of innovation, Shibumi,   imperfectly defined as “effortless effectiveness”, simply-expressed complexity, flawed perfection.

Baldassarre Castiglione

Baldassarre Castiglione

Shibumi shares some qualities with Baldassare Castiglione’s idea of “sprezzatura,” or making “whatever one does or says seem effortless, and almost unpremeditate,” Shibumi, says May, is typically achieved through an innovation-change management sequence of:

  • Commitment
  • Preparation
  • Struggle
  • Breakthrough
  • Transformation
Trevanian

Trevanian

Film scholar Rodney William Whitaker, who wrote under the pseudonym Trevanian, opined that “Shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances,” and architect Sarah Susanka observed that “…shibumi evolves out of a process of complexity, though none of this complexity shows in the result…to meet a particular design challenge.”

Sarah Susanka

Sarah Susanka

May illustrated examples of familiar Japanese management principles including Hoshin (goal alignment) and Kaizen (continuous improvement), with less familiar principles:

  • Kata (patterns of effective behavior)
  • Genchi genbutsu (observation)
  • Hansei (reflection).

Matthew May-The Shibumi StrategyInnovation and creative problem-solving in any field can benefit from attention to Shibumi’s seven principles:

  • Austerity – Less is more
    Koko” suggests restraint, sparseness, and intentional omission, and ‘Is/isn’t analysis” provides the focus and clarity to exclude elements beyond a designated scope

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Antoine de Saint Exupery captured this principle in his view that “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

In another book, May offered 4 Ss of “elegant”, innovative, and austere solutions:

  • Symmetry” to help solve problems of structure, order, and aesthetics
  • Seduction” for creative engagement
  • Subtraction” for problems of economy
  • Sustainability” for a process or solution that is both repeatable and lasting
  • Simplicity
    Kanso” signals the “enoughness” of streamlined utility, based on prioritization, understatement, and order for the central purpose.
  • Naturalness
    Shizen” points to the paradox of intentional artlessness, or balancing nature’s randomness and patterns with intentional curation.
  • Subtlety
    Yugen” refers to the tension between stagnation of precision in contrast with nature’s growth.
    One example is Steve Jobs building anticipation through restrained information release.
  • Asymmetric Imperfection
    Fukinsei points to the symmetry of nature through its counterpoint:  Asymmetrical and incomplete representations that encourage the viewer’s participation to “complete the incomplete.”Gestalt Art
    Gestalt
    researchers and artists demonstrated increased visual impact when participants co-create and collaborate in the innovation effort.
  • Change Routine Thinking and Actions
    Datsuzoku suggests a break from routine, such as adopting free-spirited Carnival demeanor at the annual masked Fasching in German-speaking countries.Fasching
    Breaking patterns enables breakthrough innovation and creative resourcefulness.
  • Active Stillness, Dynamic Tranquility
    Seijaku is serenity in the midst of activity and provides context of datsuzoku, transcendence of conventional ideas and traditional usage, leading to surprise, astonishment, and freedom to create.
    “Doing nothing” in mindfulness practice can be provide unconscious incubation for eventual creative syntheses to solve complex design issues, and increase self-awareness, focus, and attention.
    Individuals who wish to become more creative even in more confining organizations have reported success by adopting mindfulness meditation based on conscious breathing.
    In addition mindfulness practice can enhance resilience to accept critique in the creative process.

-*How do you establish the individual and organizational conditions for innovations?
-*How do organizations become “forgiving”?

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter:   @kathrynwelds
BlogKathryn Welds |Curated Research and Commentary
Google+:
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds