At a recent presentation of Vital Signs of Well-Being at Danbury Hospital, for nurses during National Nurses Week, I asked the participants to write down and share their own 3Ws, “What Went Well?” One of the nurses told the group about an experience earlier that day in the E D, when she was able to both comfort and inform a family in a serious situation. She was able to reconnect with a Peak Experience at work. Doing so allowed her to connect with her strengths, a sense of accomplishment and positive emotions.
Connecting with positive emotions leads to broaden and build. This theory was developed by Barbara Fredrickson at UNC and refers to broadening your capacity physically, socially and intellectually so that people are better at problem solving and more creative. Your experience of positive emotions also builds your resilience for dealing with challenges.
You can build your positive emotions through reconnecting with Peak Experiences. Turns out, many people have peak experiences and even flow experiences at work. This is often where you are challenged and successes are all the more meaningful.
Write up a list of Peak Experiences at Work and keep the list handy, in a pocket, a drawer or on your phone, where you can easily access it.
- Think about what skills you were using. These may be personal strengths of yours that you sometimes forget to call upon. People who use their personal strengths daily are happier. To learn more about personal strengths visit VIA where you can take a survey to find out your character strengths.
- Notice what impact you were having in these peak experience moments. Being aware of your impact is a way to overcome some aspects of the third hallmark of burnout, low sense of accomplishment. What you do does matter, these experiences remind you of that.
- Look at your list at the beginning of your day as a way to prime yourself with positive emotions, awareness of your impact and strengths. Keeping your list accessible allows you to check in when you are challenged.
What’s one of your peak experiences at work? We’d love to hear from you.
To explore your peak experiences and enhance your well-being, contact me.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, Well-Being Coach
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