Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices.
The essence of emotional and social intelligence (ESI) is a mindful and intentional approach towards life. This translates into our ability to recognize our internal states in each moment and being able to discern whether a current inner state serves ourselves and others or whether it is self-defeating and potentially destructive to others. ESI is the capacity to choose to move towards a greener, more optimistic and empowering state. It is also being able to tune into other people’s experience with empathy and compassion in order to choose the most appropriate response to them, and it is knowing how to respond skillfully –at work and at home — in a way that leads to the best possible outcomes.
COVID-19 presents a challenge to our normal lives that has caused many to find themselves experiencing increased anxiety and contextual depression—a sluggish tiredness that mitigates against a sense of empowerment and aliveness. In times of stress and uncertainty, Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) helps us grow the capacity to face life as it is with vitality, optimism and compassion. This compassion, it must be said, is also meant to be extended to ourselves, when we come, even momentarily, to the limits of our optimism and vitality. This blog series is specifically intended to provide teachings and guidance for enlivening ourselves in challenging times, especially those brought about by COVID-19. This first installment addresses the topic of our inner multiplicity and the power this gives us to hold more of life and to function freely instead of becoming fractured.
I never hated my trips to the dentist until the anesthetic injection didn’t work and I felt everything the dentist was doing as he relentlessly drilled my molar. We eventually figured out why the injection didn’t work and solved the problem. I have had numerous pain-free visits since then, yet each time I’m in that chair my mind is anticipating impending doom.
Examine how businesses are evolving and changing the way we think about the world around us at the 2016 International Forum on Consciousness. This year’s theme, Awakened Consciousness and the Evolution of Business, brings together a diverse group of presenters including Chip Conley (Airbnb), Martin Kalungu-Banda (Presencing Institute), Gunnar Lovelac, John Roulac (Nutiva Corporation), Mike Mears (Mears Consulting), Betsy Myers (Center for Women & Business) and Raj Sisodia, Ph.D. (Conscious Capitalism Inc.), among others. The forum will be held May 5–6, 2016, in Madison, Wisconsin. An event schedule, presenter biographies and presentation abstracts are available at https://www.btci.org/.
Each year, the International Forum on Consciousness explores a different—and often challenging—topic related to the exploration of consciousness. Awakened Consciousness and the Evolution of Business is an invitation to envision businesses of the 21st century. The 2016 forum will showcase how today’s business leaders are enriching employees, communities and the health of our planet. Key questions to be addressed include:
How have business practices historically shaped society?
What does it mean to awaken to the potential for workplace and broader business practices to transform our view of self, others and society—to focus on purpose and meaning through the work we do?
What work-based opportunities for personal and professional development contribute most effectively to this shift?
How does the self-actualized business become a model and advocate for change?
Held at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center on the Promega Campus (5445 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711), the International Forum on Consciousness is open to the general public but limited to 350 participants. Forum registrants have the opportunity to join a presenter for a small group discussion over dinner on Thursday evening, May 5. Registration is now open. For more information or to register, visit: https://www.btci.org/.
When Dave Romanin came to work for Promega he was fresh out of school with a degree in bacteriology. His plan was to work for a year in manufacturing and then go back to graduate school. But in the end, he didn’t go. There was no incentive, he explains, for him to spend five years in graduate school making little to no money. He didn’t want to write grants or run his own lab, and he enjoyed what he was doing.
Twenty‐four years later, Dave is still here. He’s moved around a bit, first manufacturing, then dispensing, kit packaging and then on to software development with Lou Mezei. Their first software project was a quality control software to capture data from the scales weighing bottles to ensure they were filled correctly. His experience in manufacturing helped him understand what the program needed to do and helped him define the specifications for the software for the programmer. He has been designing software for the last 10 years, and has worked on projects for everyone from marketing to manufacturing.
He describes his job, in part, as a game of cat and mouse. Dave spends hours testing the software, trying to find the weaknesses the developer didn’t anticipate—in essence, trying to break it. When he finds something that throws the software off or causes it to crash, he and the programmer decide on the next steps. Sometimes it is an easy fix, and sometimes they have to decide if it is worth what it would take to fix it. Would a user be likely to ever do what Dave did? Continue reading “In the Moment with Promega Software Designer, Dave Romanin”
Corporate wellness programs have been discussed in the media over the past few years, and as I read more about them this week, I discovered that the tangible benefits of such programs are vast, ranging from blood pressure and cholesterol management, to stress reduction and mental wellness. I also came across articles claiming wellness initiatives don’t encourage healthy behavior beyond the requirements, or can be an invasion of privacy when employees are required to submit to comprehensive health screenings. Do corporate wellness programs really work? In my experience, they are indispensable. Wellness programs can serve as motivational starting points for employees interested in leading healthier lifestyles and are thus a very positive component of a company’s culture. In my case, the programs offered at Promega greatly facilitated my personal efforts to become more active and mindful.
As many Wisconsinites can attest, staying active in Wisconsin during the winter months can be incredibly challenging. Even walking from your car to the gym might cause your eyes to water and fingers to go numb from the cold. It is no wonder that when given the chance to snuggle up on a warm couch or to go for a run in the brisk weather this winter, I chose the former. Continue reading “Wellness at Work: Pedal to Petal Summer Bike Event and Other Initiatives”
Mindfulness is all over the news these days, with people touting research-backed benefits like stress reduction, better grades, improved emotional regulation and even boosting you towards your weight loss goals. Here at Promega we have offered yoga classes and meditation sessions for years, and we just finished an 8 week internally developed mindfulness training program.
The approach was to present mindfulness techniques in a “profoundly lighthearted” way. As participants, we were encouraged to be our own test subjects and experiment. In the 30-minute Friday group sessions we learned about a new aspect of mindfulness through teachings, stories and practice and were then encouraged to practice throughout the week. The results were nothing less than life-changing for some participants. Here are a few techniques you can experiment with incorporating into your life. Continue reading “ProMindful”
When my my Mother’s sister, Pat, was seven years old, she was in a car-bicycle accident that resulted in some very serious brain trauma. She spent better than a year learning to walk and talk again, and although there were some lasting personality changes, she went on to earn a nursing degree and live an independent life. When I think of My Aunt Pat, I can’t help but marvel at what the human brain can do. Damaged brain tissue does not re-grow, but still the brain can find a way to rewire itself to circumvent damaged areas.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take trauma to the brain for it to demonstrate its plasticity. Our neural structures can be modified with the right training. Studies have shown task-specific increases in gray matter as a result of things such as learning an abstract skill or increasing aerobic activity. Cross-sectional studies have established that differences in performance abilities are associated with differences in regional gray matter. To me this begs the question: Can we consciously increase gray matter in specific regions of the brain? Continue reading “When Being Dense is Good: Mindfulness, Meditation and Increasing Gray Matter”