There’s an oppressive cloud that hangs over humans—often without their permission. And that’s how we’re hard-wired, says Bryan Sexton, Ph.D., reflecting on research at the Patient Safety Center of Duke University Health System.
It’s because we have to remember the bad things in order to not repeat them. The hissing of a snake reminds us that danger is near and we ought not have to relearn that lesson in life. So the bad stuff tends to stick more than the good stuff.
Unless, he says, we can make a more concerted effort to remember the good stuff. And that’s where their research gets practical.
By writing down three good things that happened to us—and our role in them—at the end of each day, we cultivate the habit of looking for the good. This helps develop resiliency and address exhaustion, stress, burn-out and even depression. Their results are rather striking.
You can see the 11-minute summary of the research here—if you’re curious.
And now let us link this to the world of communication and leadership.
Employee engagement and performance is surely linked to burn-out and stress. It’s the nature of most of our work to be resolving problems. The communicator can play a vital role in restoring the balance and organizational energy by reminding us of the good things, like:
- The impact of our work on other humans
- The reasons behind our work
- The benefits of navigating difficult passages
Leaders and communicators play a vital role in restoring balance and focus to the workforce by what they talk about.
Perhaps we can start with logging our own three good things each day.