• Coping with Stress during COVID (0) July 17, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    With all the uncertainty of unemployment and virus, it is not uncommon to have anxiety about a new disease. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
    How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your emotional past, your social support, your financial situation, your health, and the community where you reside.
    Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes produce the following areas:
    • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, or your financial situation.
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
    • Worsening of chronic health problems.
    • Worsening of mental health conditions.
    • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
    Ways to Cope
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Listening to the pandemic news repeatedly can be distressing.
    Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy, reading, cooking or even gardening.
    Connect with others online or on the phone. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting through social media.
    Above all, be safe.
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  • Loss and Time to Renew (0) June 23, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    As many of you know, I lost my husband this year to a sudden stroke–hence, my lack of posting. As I return to the working world, thought this might help others that have had a loss too. This is by Henry Scott-Holland:

    Death is nothing at all.
    It does not count.
    I have only slipped away into the next room.
    Nothing has happened.

    Everything remains exactly as it was.
    I am I, and you are you,
    and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

    Call me by the old familiar name.
    Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was.
    There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
    What is this death but a negligible accident?.

    I’ll be joining you again more regularly in July of this year.

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  • Let’s Be Happy Now (0) November 27, 2019Bradley Ann Morgan

    This past January, we both attended a seminar on the components that contribute to happiness. As we listened to the participants’ voice their beliefs, one person said, “I thought I would be happy when I bought my first Mercedes. Then I thought I would be happy when I bought my ideal house. After that, I thought I would be happy when I took that glamorous Chief Editors job traveling the world in first class for the news desk. But after each one of these acquisitions, I was on to the next purchase or thing! I kept saying, I’ll be happy when….” Other attendees commented a similar reaction. Most stated that they thought happiness would occur and last when they received that new big screen TV, that next promotion, or that new office. The overall prominent remark was that none of these acquisitions or profile changes truly lasted in happiness for the individual.
    What does lead to lasting happiness? It can be vastly different for each of us. From a recent study by the assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, Ryan Howell presented his results at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s annual meeting. The study had participants answer questions about a recent purchase, either material or experiential, that they had made in the last three months with the express intent of making themselves happy. While most were generally happy with the purchase, those who wrote about experiences tended to show higher fulfillment after the experience had passed. The experiences led to more happiness than did object purchases. Professor Howell said, “When people spend money on life experiences, whether they take someone with them or buy an extra ticket, most of our life experiences involve other individuals.” Consequently, he found that people were fulfilling their need for social bonding while living through those experiences. During the experience event, they developed a sense of relation to each other. Getting closer to friends and family may be the reason why experiences generate more lasting happiness. Folks can relive the memories of those experiences many times over, in any of chapter of their lives. Let’s be happy now.
    What can you do to release yourself from the endless cycle of I’ll be happy when? Try some of these:
    • Be mindful of the very moment you are in. Try putting down the Blackberry or pager. Release the future to the future, let history be in the past; and, deliberately focus on the present. Change your body posture when necessary so that your breathing can fill your lungs & physical being with a rush of awareness of what is being said, your physical surroundings, even the true appreciation of the loyal love of a pet. Poor breathing robs essential energy and negatively affects your mental alertness. Qigong & Riki exercises both utilize breathing techniques renewing your ‘bio-fields’ for a vital life force.

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  • Going Forward Through a Crisis (0) November 9, 2019Bradley Ann Morgan

    Circumstances in our personal or professional life can change radically in a short term quarter, a single month, or even in one day. Normally, we can assess the situation and find an appropriate solution. However, events in our lives can be significantly serious enough to constitute a crisis. What is the definition of a crisis? A crisis is any event that is, or expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, community, industry, corporation, or a whole nation. Crisis incidents can include the diagnosis of a life threatening illness, surviving a natural disaster such as, Hurricane Katrina, handling a company’s product malfunction publicly, or managing a company’s dilemma that has occurred without warning; and, is beyond the organization’s control. Business leaders will tell you that they come up against roadblocks, but try to respond summarily and decisively under the pressure of uncommon conditions. What do you do when you find yourself in a crisis situation? Follow these guidelines to help you go forward through the immediacy of a company crisis:
    • Where you can, change your environment. It is not unusual at the scene of the crisis that there will be panic or anxiety; and often, a tremendous amount of noise. Putting some space between you and the site of the crisis will restore calm to your thinking practices.
    • Collect real data to assess the damage to the company or possible harmful media coverage. As a leader, others will look to you to communicate real facts. Clarify what you do know and state what information is not yet known. Describe what the company will be doing to uncover the missing information. Use language that is direct; and, can be understood by all personnel. If the company has a public relations spokesperson, use that resource to address the news groups and deliver a consistent message at each briefing.
    • Once relevant information is in hand, focus on the first actions. Assemble other company leaders into a ‘strike force’. Identify the tasks to be performed immediately, prioritize the remaining responsibilities, and delegate ownership of each task to the most competent individual. Also, determine a later check-in meeting to determine progress and further strategy plans.
    • If there are personal injuries to any of the employees, ensure relatives or guardians are contacted prior to any public announcements. Subsequently, you can use any systems records, evaluation reports, or environmental findings to update all company branches, investors, trade unions, and the press.
    • Demonstrate the company’s humanity where public harm is found or perceived. The company can provide aid in several ways such as, creating a help line with volunteer counselors, establishing a hardship fund for emergency expenses, or designating a facility for temporary housing and a haven for community safety.
    • When necessary, use the advice of the company’s legal counselors. When the immediacy of the crisis is over, you can include their advice in future briefings.
    • If the crisis was not a natural disaster, review the circumstances of how this crisis occurred. Are there industry trends, national legislation, faulty product designs, or global financial developments that had a direct cause to this crisis? Gather other leaders in the company and develop plans of how the business could emerge from this crisis even stronger than before.

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  • What are We Caught up In? (0) June 15, 2019Bradley Ann Morgan

    Have you ever watched people at the pharmacy or the bank spiral down into a self-absorbed world of their own creation? Recently in the grocery store, we observed a frantic woman demanding that a young stock clerk find beef broth for her. As the teen eager clerk got down on his hands and knees to begin the search in the shelves, this woman exclaimed to the whole store that her dinner that night would be ruined if he didn’t find beef broth in the next few minutes. This verbal outburst made the clerk even more anxious. Consequently, in his haste to satisfy her he mistakenly handed her cans of beef noodle soup. In reward for his efforts, she further exclaimed, “I can’t believe you would let the store run out of beef broth on a night when I really need it. Now I will have to drive in ridiculous traffic to get it at the next store. I’m never coming back here!” As the woman stormed out, the stricken clerk resumed his search. Almost immediately he found the cans of broth; but, offered up the cans to only our presence.

    What really happened here? It was clear the woman was caught up in her own world of worry, urgency; and possibly, self regret at her own mismanagement of time. Unfortunately, the transfer of blame was apparent by accusing the clerk as ‘letting the store run out of broth’! Most of us know that a store manager or inventory supervisor is in charge of the re-stocking of an entire grocery location, not one individual clerk. And, what of the non-acknowledgement of the clerk for finally finding the correct cans of broth? This woman had already marched out of the store without giving the clerk a second chance. Shame. Have you caught yourself in a similar situation?

    Let’s think about this behavior demonstration for a minute. Some would label this behavior as self-absorption, self-centeredness, lack of self-accountability, lack of impulse control, or an inflated self-entitlement level. The emotional ‘spin cycle’ was clearly under way in this event. This individual mixed together the possible fear of not making dinner perfect, the resulting response to this fear was anger, a lack of respect for the store clerk, a demand for obedience, a sense of authority, displayed a compulsive need to openly criticize, moved the blame to resolve the situation; and, demonstrated a general lack of social awareness. Essentially, this individual was hi-jacked by her emotions!

    When can we step outside of our own story and acknowledge when someone is trying to help us and we’re not helping? When can we catch ourselves in the frenzy of task accomplishment and appreciate when other human beings are trying to help us achieve our needs?

    Remember that emotion and mood are two different distinctions. Emotions are always bound to particular events; and, we can normally point to the event that generated it. Emotions are specific and reactive. Events precede them, such as, the dishwasher flooding, the dog tracking mud thru the house, or even the checkbook being out of balance. Everything was right with the world and then something occurs that challenges us. Moods are not specific. Normally we cannot relate them to particular events. They live in the background, like white noise. No matter where we are and no matter what we are doing, we human beings are always in a mood. Ordinarily we don’t choose or control our moods we just find ourselves in them.

    Try practicing emotional intelligence. People who are conscious of their feelings and aware of the social signals of what others are trying to provide for them are superior directors of their lives. When challenged by social events or adversity they can enter into a state characterized by calmness, alertness, and focus. They are able to assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of these emotions, and manage them for an optimal outcome. As documented in the four-branch model of emotional intelligence (Mayer & Salovey, 1997) the following capacities collectively describe the areas of emotional intelligence. This model includes these abilities to be practiced jointly in both personal & professional relationships:
     accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others,
     use emotions to facilitate thinking,
     understand emotional meanings; and,
     take charge of emotions.

    If you find yourself caught up in the ‘spin cycle’ of an event, ask yourself:
    • Are you easily irritated over customer service responses even if they are only following their company’s policies? How can you let them do their job with dignity while you achieve the outcome you want?
    • When presented with adversity, can you complete your plans without unnecessary force to others?

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