Sunday, October 20, 2019


(Research findings from quantum physics, neuroscience, psychology, behaviour economics, sociology, genetics, artificial intelligence, business models and analytics …. sometimes lull us into believing that we know more than we know.  Bounce-Back-Ability, my book dealing with building hardiness against change, stress and trauma, ends with this piece on making space for the unknown. I want to share this at this time).  

When a bird is alive it eats ants. When the bird is dead ants eat the bird. So time and circumstances can change” - Mufti Ismail Menk

When the unexpected strikes (as it will)

‘I didn’t see that coming!’, ‘I can’t make any sense of this – Why me?’, ‘Where will it all end?’ ‘What could this possibly mean?’, ‘It’s like being hit by a bus that came out of nowhere!’
Life is full of unexpected setbacks, challenging change, traumatic incidents, like wave upon wave that knock us over each time we get up. For individuals and organisations these waves may be financial, relational, physical, spiritual …………

Life is “… a lot like walking into the ocean, and a big wave comes and knocks you over. And you find yourself lying on the bottom with sand in your nose and in your mouth. And you are lying there, and you have a choice. You can either lie there, or you can stand up and start to keep walking out to sea”. “So the waves keep coming … and you keep cultivating your courage and bravery and sense of humour to relate to this situation of the waves, and you keep getting up and going forward”. (1)

These events may shatter our reality, our assumptions, harshly expose that what we thought was known is unknown. “To be full of strength and vigor one moment and virtually helpless the next, in the pink and pride of health one moment and a cripple the next, with all one’s powers and faculties one moment and without them the next – such a change, such suddenness, is difficult to comprehend …” (2)

Essentially, the Un-Known is part of our human condition and is an existential given …… We basically lose our self and world-images. In these moments we encounter the Un-Known in the unnamed-able experience; something beyond words and imagination. This is the realm of Chaos. (3)

Is post-traumatic growth and real resilience real?

Tillich explains how this experience challenges us to find the courage to rise again and to create ….. True creativity often arises from our deepest despair. Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004) studied how people often grow stronger by processing the consequences of negative life events. They observed how individuals generated a stronger sense of self, a deeper connection to others, and a deeper appreciation of life. They called this post-traumatic growth, and they found that people became more resilient towards future sources of life stress because they were more able to bear the Un-Known or the ambiguous side of life (Tedeschi and Calhoun (2012)”. (3)

Two local living examples are:

 Schalk Burger, Rugby Union Springbok. He received the Laureaus Sport’s Foundation ‘comeback of the year’ award. In 2013 his career was cut short. Scans after a minor calf problem showed a cyst next to his spinal cord, requiring surgery. In hospital he contracted bacterial meningitis, and within 3 days was literally on his death bed. Friends and family came to pay their last respects. During his illness and recovery period Schalk lost 30 kg (25% of his body weight). He survived, recovered and represented South Africa at the 2015 World Rugby Championship.

 In 1994 Alison Botha was attacked, raped by two men, stabbed 37 times in her abdomen & disembowelled. Her throat was slashed and cut 17 times, and she was left for dead on a
lonely roadside ….. Today she is a motivational speaker, with a profound ABC message of
Attitude, Belief and Choice) (4)

At the time of such trauma and distress it is well-nigh impossible to accept that good can come out of what has and is happening to us. But through the experience many bounce back, achieve greater maturity, re-calibrate their perspectives, find deeper meaning.
We look forward to greater happiness, then something out of the unknown happens, and takes that away from us - can we make space for this? And what enables us to move forward?

Can we make space for the unknown – “good’ or ‘bad’?

Although we will always have areas of unknowing, we can begin to make sense of things (and our existence) by imaginatively examining what might be – not from a position of anxiety, but from positions of :

 Curiosity
 Mindful reflection, and
 Humour

We can be an observer to our own lives. We can tell a story of a future possibility – how you are fulfilling your purpose and where that may lead, how things will look when you overcome an existing challenge or trauma, where a relationship that you are in seems to be heading and what might happen along the way, how you are feeling after a recent medical check-up and what your plans are now ….. and we can enter Neil Gaiman’s world of “not yet”, asking and then answering for ourselves (perhaps in different ways) one or more of these three questions:
What if … ? If only … If this goes on …” (5)
(Wherever possible it is good to choose a positive attitude and outcome. See the stars rather than the bars.

It’s good to look ahead with optimism, see good resolutions, opportunities, new possibilities. Having such an outlook is laudable. But realistically. We can’t afford blind, unreasoned optimism nor despairing pessimism. I like Frances Moore Lappé’s refreshing notion of being a ‘possibilist’. Her thinking fits nicely with Eric Fromm’s ‘courageous, rational optimism’.

I don’t like the promises of instant gratification being held out to us on the internet and elsewhere, of ‘transformative rituals that'll help us to activate our inner heroes and light the fire of greatness within us’. Those promises that abundance and wealth are just around the corner - if we follow ‘the three simple steps that made me rich’. The notion that if we can envision then we must expect to boost our happiness, become legends, unleash our magnificence. For me this reeks of the unscrupulous or misinformed manipulating and making money out of the vulnerable.

Positive culture - yes, positive emotions – yes, positive attitude – yes, positive thinking - yes, IF REALISTIC)

Be curious about your resurrection out of a traumatic situation. Did this happen as a result of your own resilience, help from someone or something, or a combination? How does this inform your future living?

Mindful reflection
We can gain perspective from the present moment, focus on the now rather than obsess on regrets and resentment that belong in the past, or hopes, expectations, anxieties that may lie in the future. And return to what carries us through, including our own purpose, and finding meaning in beauty, wonderment and the ‘mundane’:

Little drops of water, 
Little grains of sand, 
Make the mighty ocean 
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes, 
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages 
Of eternity (6)

Or, through more formal contemplative practices. The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous 14th century monk, is an ‘instruction’ on entering the mystery and present/presence of God through prayer and meditation. (7)

We need to build on what we know we know. Remembering that we don’t know what we don’t know. And we should also learn to sometimes let go of what we think we know!
So we may need to let go of things in our past, revelations from our unconscious as they become known to us, and potential things in our future that are not yet known.

A man was running for his life to escape a hungry tiger.
He came to the edge of a cliff, stepped over and held onto a vine. The tiger couldn’t reach him, but there was no way up again.
Looking down he saw another tiger at the bottom waiting for him to let go and fall.
A rat appeared and began gnawing at the vine.
The man noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff.
He held the vine with one hand and with the other grabbed the strawberry and ate it.
How sweet it tasted!

Letting go and focusing mindfully on the present moment, opening up to curiosity, awe and wonder is a way of becoming free of the past and fear of the unknown, and embracing it.

Reframing our situation to see the funny side is a much- underrated coping mechanism. It’s a way of shifting to the positive, putting things into perspective.

“Walking naked in his bedroom at the White House after a bath and giving dictation, was interrupted by President Roosevelt who entered the room. Churchill, never being lost for words, said, ‘You see Mr President, I have nothing to conceal from you’”. (8)

Now, different people may perceive and respond to the same situation in radically different ways. That’s fine. We can learn generic skills, mechanisms, practices and coping characteristics, but we are all different and unique.

Two monks are doing a walking meditation together, one of them smoking and explaining that he had obtained permission from the abbot.
The other, who is also a smoker, exclaims, “I don’t understand. I asked the abbot if I could smoke while I meditated and his answer was an emphatic ‘No!’’
“Ah” says his companion, puffing away, “I asked him if could meditate while I was smoking!”


What we do have in common is that we can prepare for the unknown, learn during traumatic events, and build resilience for the next time around. Curiosity, mindful reflection and humour can be our companions on this journey. “Resilience is everything because it is the foundation of piloting through rough terrain in life, of gaining all possible power and knowledge from adversity”. (9)

A sage perspective, well worth reflecting on, comes from Primo Levi. Italian chemist, holocaust survivor and Nobel Literature prize winner. (I love his writing. In his autobiographical The Periodic Table every chapter is based on a chemical metaphor).(10) He says:

“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable”. (11)


BounceBackability details:

1. Chödrön, Pema How to Move Forward Once You’ve Hit Bottom Lion’s Roar Newsletter 7th October, 2016
2. Sacks, Oliver A leg to stand on Touchstone, NY 1984
3. Vanhooren, Siebrecht The Un-Known and practicing un-knowing edX Course: Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-centered Experiential Approach, Meaning and Spirituality Module (October 2016 to June 2017) referring to Tillich, P. (1952/2000) The courage to be New Haven: Yale University Press; Tedeschi, R. G. & Calhoun, L. G. (2004) Posttraumatic growth: conceptual foundations and empirical evidence Psychological Inquiry, 15, 1, 1-18 and Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2012) Pathways to personal transformation: theoretical and empirical developments - In: P. T. P. Wong (Ed) The human quest for meaning: theories, research and applications, second edition (p. 559 – 572) New York: Routledge
4. Botha, Alison (Thamm Marianne) I Have Life: Alison's journey as told to Marianne Thamm The Penguin Group (SA) (Pty) Ltd 2002
5. Gaiman, Neil The View From the Cheap Seats: selected Nonfiction Headline 2016
6. Carney , Julia Abigail Fletcher Little Things 1845
7. Anonymous The Cloud of Unknowing Harper Collins Spiritual Classics 2004
8. Gilbert, Martin Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite: Churchill’s war leadership Pimlico 2004 9. Trederwolff, Jude How Improvisation Grows Resilience — and resilience is everything October 2016
10. Levi, Primo The Periodic Table Penguin Books 1986
11. Levi, Primo If This is a Man/ The Truce Penguin Books 1979

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Creating Great Corporate Cultures

“It is the emotional nature of culture that renders it capable of becoming your worst nightmare or your most sustainable competitive advantage” - Coffman & Sorensen

It is being increasingly acknowledged that culture is the foundation for all that happens in, and issues from, strong, constructive, fully human, and psychologically strong organisations. It is the culture or character of an organisation that enables its coping, resilience, learning prowess, energy, successes, results and sustainability. It is the culture of an organisation that provides an authentic sense of purpose, meaning and belonging to its members; that attracts employees, customers and stakeholders; that upholds its values, behaviours and reputation.

The HR Research Institute ( researched over 500 respondents from all sectors (mainly USA-based) and have released their 2018/ 2019 report. There are 5 major findings and 11 important takeaways.   Here they are, together with our comments on how 

shows a way forward for go-ahead organisations. The Culturescan process enables and leverages an organisations latent ability to address and enhance its philosophy, principles, true values, underlying assumptions, competence, behaviour norms, processes and practices across a wide range of topics:

    (Keys to nurturing a performance-based culture)

Organizations are being thrust into the cauldron of radical resource and societal threats, accelerating technology change, shifting consumer demands, increasing activism in many areas, emerging new competency requirements, ever-changing governance and compliance issues, a bigger array of opportunity areas than have existed previously …
The 11 takeaways from the HR Research Institute report make even more sense in this context  

Make culture a strategic priority
CultureScan allows you to move beyond strategy by equipping you with a process that drives execution and allows for prioritisation and appropriate focus on specific cultural elements in “real time”

Do not assume “one culture” throughout the organization
CultureScan offers analyses, interpretations and alternative narratives across a wide range of breakdowns – division, department, gender, ethnicity, generation, length of experience with organisation, level …. Whatever is deemed appropriate by the user-organisation

Measure and assess culture more often
The Culturescan process is quick and easy - from set-up, analyses, reporting ….  

Within the HR function, consider creating a team that uses data and analytics to learn about the culture and subcultures of the organization
Culturescan is a good way to start. Adding (unnecessarily?) sophisticated analytics is a route that needs careful consideration within every organization, and is not always a panacea

Define, describe and communicate the key aspects of your culture
CultureScan facilitates this exercise for both existing and desired-future culture, and related aspects such as purpose, values

Consider creating a learning environment that makes “diversity of thought” a reality.
(Asking an unwise question or conveying an unconventional idea can be frowned on, or, worse yet, cost an individual a promotion or leadership opportunity.
Diversity of thought is about breaking down any potential barriers in your culture so every employee feels valued for their differences. It is all about respect for the individual and their opinions, which, over time, fosters an environment of trust. Moreover, diversity of thought affords employees opportunities to learn from each other and brings about higher levels or productivity (and innovation) as people become more engaged with one another and the organization at large).
Psychological safety, harnessing diversity, respect, trust, non-violent communication, bonding and engagement are all hallmarks of the CultureScan: conversations that count process

Provide appropriate training to managers, and make employees more comfortable talking about cultural differences.
Subtle ‘training’ takes place during the CultureScan process rendering the need for additional training doubtful in general. However, the process does cause specific, appropriate coaching and mentoring needs to emerge under certain circumstances. Conversations, immersion material, anecdote circle events that form part of topics like Diversity, Masks, Psychic Prisons facilitate the addressing of overt and unconscious biases.  

Expect challenges and have a game plan.
This is built into the process, which allows deliberation on and auctioning of challenges and opportunities as they emerge.

Adopt/refine a recognition and rewards program to reinforce values and behaviors
We caution against the natural tendency to always control, over-measure, assess, appraise, punish and reward in order to get desired outcomes. Oftentimes this is what stifles employee ownership, commitment and enthusiastic engagement. Each organization merits a fit-for-purpose approach.

Make culture part of the hiring process 
Again, job descriptions, use of psychometric evaluations, screening and appointment/ selection criteria (and their application in a context where unconscious biases may be present) are organization-specific in our view. Innovative and alternative hiring, on-boarding and ‘assimilation’ processes deserve consideration. But certainly, cultural attributes, belief and value systems, motives are as important as experience, skills and knowledge.

Consider interest groups that reinforce culture and keep diversity top of mind
(Corporate culture is more successful when everyone in the organization has a chance to contribute. Culture prioritizations are also important (for example social purpose, diversity, project-based organization, coaching, learning … )
That’s CultureScan!

Expertise Available On Demand From Culturescan as   
Organisations Push Through and Execute the    
Strategies, Plans and Decisions that Flow Out of the  
CultureScan Process

During the execution phase, after the survey, anecdote circle and immersion work is completed and momentum developed, clients sometimes require our help in these areas:

Governance                                 breaking the shackles of compliance - governance to develop mastery in areas such as opportunity – governance

bridging governance gaps between Boards/ Leadership/ Management/ Employees/ Other Stakeholders

Operations Training,            formulating meaningful, shared purpose and values
Project Activities                     frameworks that facilitate the development of virtues and mature ethics, and result in reputational benefit
ensuring psychologically safe workplaces

developing mind-sets and plans for tackling carbon – footprint reduction, community engagement, encouraging gentle, reputation-building activism

adopting story, imagery, symbol, metaphor in applications throughout the organisation, including branding, data deployment competence, team-building, sense-making, change and transition …

setting up knowledge capture, storage, access and wise application

enhancing problem-solving, decision-making, sense-making and preparation skills and practices to accompany agile operations

developing practices to successfully incorporate strategy execution, communal leadership into the daily life of the organisation

Innovation                                  preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution

conducting scenario - formation as contexts for future-fit and focused innovation

advancing customer service through superior processes, technologies, people development, measures (organisations and contact centres) 

Coaching & Individual       whole person coaching frameworks (physical well- Development                           being, cognitive, mindfulness, emotional, social and
                                                            fully-human learning and improvement)

overcoming unconscious biases, expanding belief bubbles, non-dualistic thinking, forging valuable connection inside and outside the organisation

motivational fingerprinting (personal sense of purpose)

improving and managing personal resilience to change, stress and trauma

retreating to do reflective inner work, work on personal integration and balancing (leaders and others)

coaching performance in task, relating, agility

Communication                       developing deep listening skills for customer-facing employees and within the organisation

                                                            establishing a culture of nonviolent yet assertive communication, including social-contracting and conflict prevention and resolution skills

10 Most Wanted for 2020 and the Eagle Hoop Prophecy

In an increasingly complex, tech-driven, diversifying, polarised, rapidly changing and challenging world of business, there will be a growing need for organisations to master:

  • HUMAN CONNECTION in the form of small group conversations about big subjects* and leveraging a peer coaching practice*

  • RIGHT TO LEFT PREPARATION where the required deadline and quality determine actions and processes rather than conventional left-to-right planning.  Organisations use foresight, agility and project competence to pre-empt and handle new ethical situations, business processes (recruiting, innovation, customer demand shifts …) while simultaneously maintaining their levels of employee well-being to avoid burnout, and maximize learning gains and a sense of purpose and meaning      

  • LEVERAGING OUR STORY BRAINS (which incorporates imagery, symbol, metaphor and archetype) to operate at the cutting edges of sense-making, communication, scenario formation, spring-boarding change, forging connection and deftly steering their journey at the intersection of data, strategy and story. A recent article urging economists and others who work with data to become storytellers:    
           For story resources see        

  • SIMPLICITY, where wise leadership role models the stewardship of clothing, food, water usage and transport and leisure activities – for a more a sustainable lifestyle   

  • INTERFACE TRIGGERS. Business activities that impact on communities (environmentally, socially, economically), especially products, services and projects related to sustainability and good corporate citizenship, are modernised so that strategies, decisions, actions are not only informed by, but led by the affected communities

  • CLICKS NOT BRICKS as we witness more and more use of on-line services such as expanded home deliveries in many markets, an upsurge in “gig-market” activity and freelancing of skills at all levels, adoption of the informative, quick survey to poll opinion and ascertain knowledge that informs action (both externally and internally)

  • CULTURE SCANNING. Leading organisations get to grips with a still-emerging competence, the ‘how?’ of shifting culture and sub cultures constructively within organisations. This enables them to access and optimise the key drivers of engagement and high performance

  • COMMUNICATING. The advance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) ushers in a growing need for a high tech/ high touch balance, which in turn calls for greater competence at building soft skills, fast and comprehensive spread of information, and high levels of conflict-management and communication expertise – internally and externally (which includes highly tuned listening and “nonviolent” communication)   

  • LEARNING. Accelerated learning of new, and polishing and adapting  of existing mental models and skills, are mastered by thriving organisations during the 4IR era  

Culturescan processes are designed to facilitate mastery of these fast-emerging business imperatives

(* In a 2018 survey of 1,000 full time employees, Imperative found that people reported
being more than twice as likely to learn from their peers as from their managers) 

Mastery in the areas of organizational life outlined above will also contribute to improvement in wider society, which is so characterized by dictatorial, self-invested leaders in too many countries, by polarization on many levels and a decline in civility and respect. My hope is that the current surge in  awareness of what needs fixing and what might be, becomes accompanied by mutually beneficial exchanges and connections at all levels. Exchanges of resources, wisdom, support and appreciation that lead us from separation to oneness. And where "trickle down" turns into a two-way cascade!  

Human connection, simplicity, interface triggers, building belonging, communicating, learning – are all well met by Anita Sanchez’s powerful approach of four sacred gifts, guided by the Eagle Hoop Prophecy.

Within the indigenous Native American Full Circle framework, she teaches the interconnected gifts of forgiving, healing, unity and hope as the pathway to belonging, trust, respect, and wise, nurturing leadership in all of organisational life – so needed in these divided, fast-paced, challenging times.

actual Eagle Hoop 

For me, this fits with the rainbow metaphor and symbolism: the heralding of a new beginning as happens with forgiveness, the one-ness of the colour spectrum, and the healing and hope that follows periods of darkness.

It also applies to both the collective and the individual, in an Ubuntu way. We all have a basic need to belong and be connected – with self, family, community, nature, the web of life, the cosmos … the part is in the whole and the whole in the part …. At the self-level we need complete self-forgiveness, as we move towards healing and wholeness, reach unity within (integration) and look forward with hope.


It covers all who wish to hold hands
And its size depends on each other
It is a vision of solidarity

It turns outwards to interact with the outside
And inward for self-critique
A circle expands forever 
It is a vision of accountability

It grows as the other is moved to grow
A circle must have a centre
But a single dot does not make a Circle
One tree does not make a forest

A circle, a vision of cooperation, mutuality and care (Oduyoye, M. 2001)

Anita: "The 27 indigenous Elders from different traditions and I are honored to have these messages reach 
your readers".
"There is a free song titled "In Right Relations" that your readers can download for free 
The song is created by The Koren Brothers and me holding many of the messages in my book.   
Best  Anita"

An imperative in these times to build bridges not walls, and Anita Sanchez certainly does that!  She is authentic, humble, erudite, wise and gives freely of her wisdom and passion. 

Oduyoye, Mercy Amba (2001) The Story of a Circle (Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians 


Neuroscientist Dr Sarah Mackay offers a free download called 7 Habits of a Healthy Brain. We checked her advice against the Halo & Noose/ Culturescan  9M Model covering the “whole person”: physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual. 


The two models fit snugly. The factors covered by our 9Ms and expanded upon in the Bounce-Back-Ability booklet that accompanies the Hardy Personality Questionnaire for individuals as part of the Culturescan hardiness – to - change topic ( are shown below in the  comments, in red. 

The Culturescan process topic Hardiness to Change is designed to address change fatigue and readiness in organisations, as well as individual coping with change and transition on a whole-person basis. The 9M model is included.

7 Habits of a Healthy Brain
by neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay

Dr Sarah McKay is an Oxford University-educated neuroscientist, science writer and founder of The Neuroscience Academy.  She writes a popular science-based blog Your Brain Health

A good night’s sleep every night should be a priority, not a luxury. Sleep is overlooked, underappreciated, and the number one, fundamental bedrock of good health. Sleep deprivation (even a few hours a night) impacts cognition (thinking), mood, memory and learning and leads to chronic disease. Sleep is essential for consolidating memories and for draining waste products from the brain. Not only do we under-sleep, we under-consume natural light during the day and over-consume artificial light at night leaving our circadian rhythms, hormones and immune systems dysregulated. Short afternoon naps consolidate memory, spark creativity and smooth your rough emotional edges (no guru, course or app required!).
How much sleep is recommended:  Matthew Walker – author of ‘Why We Sleep’ - says a minimum of 7 hours per night. 

MEDITATION: Lower states (good sleep, meditation) reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and raise creativity. 

2. MOVE:
The best exercise for your brain is physical exercise. Daily exercise increases blood flow to the brain. Exercise triggers the release of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes neuronal growth and survival, reduces inflammation, and supports the formation of long-term memories. Exercise reduces the risk of dementia (and other chronic lifestyle diseases), acts as an anti-depressant, and regulates mood. Our brains evolved to support bodies that move through, make sense of, and respond to the natural world around us. A simple walk outdoors gets you away from digital devices and into nature. You’ll do your best thinking when walking.
How much movement is recommended: If you loathe exercise try 20 minutes gentle walking 4 to 5 times a week.

MOVEMENT:  The wonder of our chemical, electrical and mechanical movement

A healthy brain requires a healthy well-nourished body. Research points towards a Mediterranean-based diet of mostly plants (vegetables, fruit and legumes), fish, some meat, olive oil and nuts as optimal nourishment for brain health. Wine and coffee in moderation (yes, really!) prevent cognitive decline, memory loss and protect against dementia (Plus, the little pleasures in life are important too!).
Add a piece of fruit or a vegetable to each meal.Fruit and veg provide your brain with the essential nutrition it needs.Vitamin pills are no substitute for a poor diet.

MEALS: In addition to healthy eating habits, ensure sufficient water intake

4. CALM:
Find your moment of calm. Not all stress is bad, but chronic stress, especially life events that are out of our control, can change the wiring of our brains. Too much cortisol (a stress hormone) prevents the birth of new neurons and causes the hippocampus (the brain structure involved in learning and memory) to shrink, reducing your powers of learning and memory. To de-stress find your place or moment of calm. Do something pleasurable — meditate, practice mindfulness, walk, or nap. The most pleasure is to be found in doing something you’re reasonably good at and that also poses some degree of challenge.
And laugh … a lot!

MEDITATION. Also MUSIC: Beethoven: “Music is the electric soil in which the spirit lives, breathes and creates”

We are born as social animals and have a fundamental need for human warmth and connection. Having supportive friends, family and social connections helps you live longer, happier and healthier. Socialising reduces the harmful effects of stress and requires many complex cognitive functions such as thinking, feeling, sensing, reasoning and intuition. Loneliness and social isolation have comparable impacts on health and survival as smoking.
Find your ‘tribe’.  Connecting with like-minded people gives us a comforting sense of belonging

MIRTH: A recent Harvard finding is that humour is the number one coping mechanism. Also MASSAGE is both connecting and calming

Keep your brain mentally active. Adults who regularly challenge their minds and stay mentally active throughout life have healthier brains and are less likely to develop dementia. It’s thought ongoing education and mentally challenging work build cognitive reserve (the capacity to cope better and keep working properly if any brain cells are damaged or die). Choose mentally challenging activities that you can practice regularly, that are reasonably complex and that take you out of your cognitive comfort zone. Try activities that combine mental, social and physical challenges.
With technology impacting everything, we also need to challenge ourselves to UNLEARN what we think we know.

MENTAL STIMULATION: Read interesting books, do puzzles, play word games, interesting conversations …

Seek out your purpose in life. Find your true north, your passion, your bliss, your inner voice, your wisdom, your calling. Whatever you call it. Research has found that people who score high on life purpose live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Do extraordinary things! Set fantastic, passionate goals and work like crazy to achieve them. Find your place of flow—that sweet spot where you so intensely and completely focus on the present moment and the task at hand and that time passes effortlessly. Some say flow is the point of life.

MEANING: Purpose, supported by well-considered virtues
Also MOTIVATION. A fulfilling purpose, aims and goals Csikzentmihályi’s “flow”: that satisfying, exhilarating feeling of creative accomplishment and heightened functioning