#WFH: Will You Make 2021 a Happy New Year?

Now you want to “flip it” again. After you get a picture of what it is that you don’t want, take a good look at what you do want. If you stay focused on what it is that you don’t want, that will not help you respond with autonomy. Focus on what you want to change and what you want to create. To act with autonomy, you have to be able to think with autonomy. If you are experiencing emotional pain, hurt, discomfort or displeasure, ask yourself if you want to hang on to it or get over it. Many people will hang on to deep emotional pain for years or lifetimes. But it is a choice. If it is really difficult, you might want to get professional help, which is not a problem. You always have the choice to work on you. That is what acting with autonomy is all about – being able to respond independently, the way you choose to respond.

One important point with creating change: write what is currently happening. Then write down what you want to change. Choose the results you want and then move on to something else. Do not dwell on this or try to force change. If you focus too much on what is going wrong, your mind will make sure it continues. This is also not a once-and-done. Reflection is an ongoing process and repetition is very effective in learning. When changing, which is not always easy, what you are trying to do is tip the balance of power to a new direction.

Psychologists have lots of tools and techniques to help you do this. There are a variety of worksheets that are free on the The Pajama Effect website (http://www.thepajamaeffect.com). The last 50 years of psychology has concentrated on cognitive, rational and emotive therapy. Most people are not really into Freud anymore. Even fields like Neuro-Linguist Programming (NLP) focus on change your thoughts, change your thinking and change your actions. So approach changing your respond-abilities with an attitude of intention, ease and commitment.

Very few folks make significant changes the first time they attempt the process. The idea of a lightning bolt miracle occurring and your life being changed forever usually happens only in the movies. There is no magic in this but there is science. Neuroscience and brain mapping tell us that if you want to learn new things, you need new neuroanalytic pathways. The more well-worn the pathways, the more difficult, but not impossible, it is to make changes. Neuroplasticity research tells us that the brain is adaptive; it can and will change. Practice is very important to success, so stay positive with yourself. The brain releases chemicals every time you think and feel. If you strengthen the negative, guess what you are getting more of?

We have learned a great deal in the last few years, thanks to innovations in brain research and advancements in technologies. One thing we have learned is that negatives affect both the listener and the speaker. Drama causes chemicals to be fired off in the brain. This is why we are bombarded with disaster and drama on television. If it’s the weather channel reporting tornados a continent away or two politicians engaging in negative mudslinging campaigns, what you put into your mind sticks, whether we believe it is true or not! It is also the reason that pharmaceutical ads have couples walking hand in hand and beautiful people rowing a boat on the lake at sunset, just before they reel off pages of disclaimers on how their drugs may cause harm. What you hear and see sticks, unless you replace it with something else. When you are making changes, be careful to focus on what you want.

In the virtual workplace, you are much better off taking 15 minutes to be in silence than succumbing to an online distraction. Try to stay or get to a point of relaxation. Again, there is a lot of literature on present-moment awareness and relaxation responses. Meditation is one way folks achieve this. Distraction by watching TV, playing games or watching movies is another. When working virtually, be aware of and watch out for distractions – games, shows, chat rooms and social networks, to name just a few. Focused attention is much stronger than passive attention. You decided to play solitaire to relax at lunchtime and now it is 3:30 p.m. What happened? You fell into detached attention. You are not paying attention to what you are doing. When you are focused on something, even breathing, you are aware.

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