Activating our parasympathetic systems stokes compassion and creativity, say scientists
Positivity increases when workers are given more flexibility in their roles
Research shows chronic stress levels hinder professionals and those in leadership positions
Editor’s Note: “Thinking Business” focuses on the psychology of getting ahead in the workplace by exploring techniques to boost employee performance, increase creativity and productivity.
Whether it’s infuriating colleagues, inept management or a lack of appreciation, the modern day workplace can be a positivity free zone.
Sometimes counting to ten or daydreaming of a desert island just won’t purge the everyday monotony of office life and it’s common to become trapped in a spiral of negativity.
But regular coffee breaks, yoga and even praying to a loving god could change all that.
According to psychology expert Richard Boyatzis, these simple exercises can engage the parasympathetic nervous system – the function responsible for relaxation and slowing the heart rate – resulting in renewed optimism and improvements in working relationships.
Boyatzis, psychology and cognitive science professor at Case Western Reserve University, said there is strong neurological evidence supporting the theory that engaging our parasympathetic systems – through regular physical or leisure activities – stokes compassion and creativity.
“Strain causes a person to be cognitively, perceptually and emotionally impaired,” he said, “if you’re under pressure and stress at work, then you can’t think outside the box because you can’t see the box.”
Boyatzis maintains that chronic stress l