Micro-interventions to make today better
from Ben Michaelis
With the ubiquitous coronavirus, the unpredictability of the federal government and the gyrations of the stock market, 2020 may have you feeling a bit… pessimistic about the state of the world. I feel you. But there are small things that you can do to stem the tide of negativity coming at you.
Here are four micro-interventions which can change the course of your day…1. Choose your inputs — The computers that we are all carrying with us in our pockets can have an outsized negative impact on our state of mind. Each time we look at them we don’t know what we are going to get — a kind note from our partner (see below), a guilt-inducing text from a parent (“Why don’t you call me enough?”), a scolding from a boss or client, or a news alert telling us to panic. While you can’t control everything, you do have influence over some of the information you take in. Take the time to make thoughtful choices about what apps you have on your phone, what alerts you get, and always take a brief pause before picking up the phone to reckon with the fact that you don’t know what is about to come at you.
2. Focus on what is going right — It is a natural human tendency to focus on what is wrong in our environments because negative experiences are viewed as threats to our well-being (see Loss Aversion, etc). With all of the dire news that is around us these days we need to train our brains to focus on what is going right, because there is a lot of it. And focusing on these things can help. For example, did you get your kids to school safely and on time this morning? Did your elevator successfully bring you to the correct floor? Did you not run out of toilet paper this morning? It’s the little things. (Also, see the book recommendation below).
3. Do one small thing that has the potential to have a big impact — It’s understandable to feel like the problems of the world are overwhelming to address, but if you train your energy on making one small difference that positivity can be amplified. (Personally, I am working to bring Susan Collins’s successor to NYC to expand her message. If you are interested in this race, please email me and I’ll put you on the event list).
4. Pay attention to the people you love — This is an easy one that we often overlook. For those of you who are in a partnership, marriage, etc, the data about the mental and physical health benefits for people in strong unions is air-tight, which is to say, it’s really good. This is also true for having pets. The research data on having kids is, honestly, a bit more mixed, but if you have kids, give ‘em an extra hug anyway. I mean, it can’t hurt.
In the vein of paying attention to your loved ones, I am proud to announce that the group will be hosting its first ever Family Trip this coming Columbus Day Weekend (October 9-12) which will allow for an expansion of the intimate conversations that we have been having to include those closest to us. In addition to the individually focused intimate group sessions that have been a hallmark of the group, we will be including some sessions that are aimed at facilitating conversations that aim to strengthen our families. Mark your calendars now!
We want to celebrate you! – two things we enjoy most at the group include 1) when members connect in ways beyond our retreats and 2) when members commit to making really meaningful changes in their lives. We have stories ranging from members who joined forces to start a new business to parents prioritizing time for their kids in new ways. Your win is anything you want it to be – you cooked 3 times last week, or you faced a fear & spoke in front of 1,000 people, or you climbed Mount Everest with your daughter. We’d love to hear your wins & share them with the community in future newsletters. Tell us here!
the group Bookshelf
Curl up with a book or your tablet. Here’s what we’ve been reading recently…
- Article: the downside of being human and small changes we can make to address our evolutionary inheritances — a brief interview with Steven Pinker in Forbes.
- Excerpt: The Collapse of the Family – taken from Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. A striking dissection & analysis of the relationship between family/community, state/market & individuality.
- Quick Read: The 36 Questions That Lead to Love – being vulnerable isn’t easy, but we know that it’s an important part of feeling connection.
- Book: Thanks A Thousand – the journey of A.J. Jacobs and his mission to thank everyone involved in producing his morning cup of coffee, ultimately revealing the power of gratitude.
What are you reading that you are passionate about?
Let us know.
Until we meet again!
– the group –