With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s focus on the most important ingredient of a healthy relationship: constructive conflict.
The term conflict usually brings to mind destructive conflict, such as yelling, bullying and physical aggression. But it’s also destructive to hold conflict in and be torn-up inside by anguish that isn’t being expressed. This is true for romances, friendships, parenting and work relationships.
When a deadline looms, it can be hard to take your foot off the gas pedal. The dominant paradigm is that we have to work harder and longer to do our best work. But neuroscience suggests that this approach is misguided.
Downtime helps the brain do its best work. Your brain prefers interval training to marathon work sessions. During breaks, your brain is working almost as hard behind the scenes as when your mind focuses on the task at hand. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang engagingly summarizes this research in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.
Try these downtime options to access your most productive and creative work.
Most winter holidays focus on the theme of Light in the Darkness. Light inspires hope whether you are celebrating the birth of Christ, the sustaining oil of Hanukkah, or light during the longest night of the year on the Winter Solstice. Sparkling holiday lights in the neighborhood brighten otherwise bleak winter nights. The warmth of a fire leaves you feeling cozy especially when it’s cold outside.
As the days grow shorter and you notice the contrast of light in the darkness, consider who helps you sustain your inner light. During the darkest times in your life, who brightened your spirits? Who held hope when you struggled to find it? When you see others lost in darkness, what can you do to be a beacon of hope for them?
This year’s holiday season has only just begun, but I have received my favorite present already. On Thanksgiving, a friend presented me with my already-cherished “Grati-tube.” He had created and decorated it himself: a large tube with a slit in the cap at one end, with a “Grati-pad” and pen attached to the tube with Velcro. The usercan jot down gratitude notes to stuff into the tube. The end cap can be removed to facilitate revisiting past gratitudes. This gift perfectly supports my goal of celebrating Thanksgiving all year long.
Whether or not you create your very own Grati-Tube, I encourage you to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive throughout the year. Continue reading