Studies have shown that relationships are the most important aspect of our lives for happiness. You can use this information to focus where you want to put your efforts to recover from burnout. It may seem daunting to think about being social when you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and low, and yet relating to others is a big part of moving toward well-being.
Today, I was with a group and asked “What inspires you to take action?” Among the top motivators for taking action was personal Connection. I was reminded of Barbara Fredrickson’s definition of love which is in last week’s post.
In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie offers a number of principles for getting along well with people. Here are 3 which fall into what I consider to be part of Relate with thoughtful effort and time.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.* Asking questions and showing interest often requires thoughtfulness and active listening. While connections can be made in an instant as described in Love 2.0, deepening connections occur over the course of time.
- Smile* – This one may feel particularly hard when you’re feeling low, however the effort is worth it. Smiling conveys, warmth and openness, not just to others, but yourself too. When you smile you effect changes within yourself. Try it right now. It may feel a bit silly, and may even cause you to laugh a little, that’s what’s happening to me.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.* Using someone’s name is a way to recognize the other’s individuality. The second hallmark of burnout in healthcare is depersonalization, in its lightest forms it shows up as referring to a patient by bed number, address or diagnosis, descriptions that are relatively easily interchanged. Do you like wearing a name tag? How do you like being referred to as “Doc” or “Nurse”? For some it adds to the feeling of being an interchangeable widget.
The three principles above are not new. They not only win friends, they also help you recover from burnout. These are tried and true ways to move toward well-being.
You don’t have to go on the path alone. For more ways to improve your relationships and live with more joy, contact me.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, Well-Being Coach
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* Carnegie, Dale, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. New York, 1981, pp. 62, 70, 79 respectively.