KINDNESS. IT’S THE NEW KPI

Kindness. Its the new KPT, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

The world has changed irrevocably over the last year. And the importance of showing kindness and empathy has never been a greater key performance index (KPI) in life and business, writes Lee-Anne Carter.

Isolation is an absolutely mind-blowing scenario – there is a reason as an extreme form of punishment people are sent to isolation.

And as a result of Covid 19 many of us have experienced just how punishing it can be. 

There is no negating we have been under extreme duress, unprecedented stress from so many angles. 

Many of us losing livelihoods, not to mention recreation space, routines, sleep, time alone – or on the flip side having too much time alone – and I have not even touched on the incredibly distressing loss of loved ones, or not being able to be there for loved ones. 

Anxiety has approached us at every turn and no-one really knows when or how it will finally, truly be over. 

But when did it turn adults, some adults I should say – but professional adults no less – into cyber bullies?

It would stand to reason that the past year has been a time to support, to reach out, to assist each other, to put differences aside and opt for understanding, no? 

So, it was with real dismay that I recently noticed something that I had not witnessed before on a networking business platform. 

Some of the comments became – for want of a better explanation – pure vitriol. Some were pushing political agendas or extreme viewpoints but most were taking people part for no seeming reason other than they did not share opinions.

One participant in this flurry of negativity had re-posted a column from a newspaper writer, deriding the author (who is a friend, but that is not the point) who had written a very obviously tongue-in-cheek piece, which I found spectacularly funny and en pointe. 

But the re-poster had, it seems intently, set out to shame them in no uncertain terms. 

I wanted to wade in and clarify. Actually I did, then promptly deleted my comment as I did not want to exacerbate the situation. 

But it has sat with me that someone could be so scornful, and downright bullying, to personally attack in such a format. For what? For writing a humorous piece that they did not see the humour in? 

In another thread of discourse, a personal attack on someone else’s opinion resulted in a not so thinly veiled insinuation of them belonging to the [Nazi] Brownshirts – actually, the Brownshirts were mentioned so it was not even veiled! 

The comments section of a business connection platform – and of course personal connection platforms – are not meant to be a personal battleground. For discussion, discourse and even dissent, yes. For personal attack? Never.

Are people truly not aware of how damaging, and destroying this kind of behaviour can be? At any time, let alone in this time frame, when isolation and fear is creating a veritable Pandora’s Box of mental health issues, where the slightest thing can tip someone over the edge of that very thin precipice they are balancing on? 

Anxiety has approached us at every turn and no-one really knows when or how it will finally, truly be over. But when did it turn some adults into cyber bullies?

Before Covid 19, one in five people globally suffered from anxiety. Social anxiety media became a term as people experienced social anxiety for not measuring up, and initiatives such as the Washington Post’s launch of the s(ad) blocker, which allowed people to receive only positive news, were already being established, such was the need. 

I am not of the ilk that I cannot tolerate differing opinions. I actually have an issue with how non-resilient we are becoming as a society, and how so few voices can drown out so many with just a well-aimed phrase, such as “racist” or “religious” or “sexist”. 

What I am saying is that there are ways to comment, to have a discussion, to argue a point, to have one’s side of the story heard – and bullying, attacking, disparaging or calling someone names is certainly not it.

I live by the adage: “I disagree with what you say but will fight to death your right to say it.” (Attributed to Voltaire, generally). 

Kindness has recently been touted as the newest key performance index (KPI) for forward-thinking companies. It is a measure of tolerance, empathy and emotional intelligence which is the new biggie for businesses globally, and one we will be hearing a lot more of. 

This new focus on kindness and optimism has been fuelling a range of positivity movements, to empower people, to reach out and re-connect, to feel good about themselves.

When freedom of thought and opinion is gone, there simply is no freedom. And when kindness and empathy are eradicated, we simply cease to be human (the kind anyone wants to know, that is!).

In this current world of distress and instability, there is much to be said for tempering reactions with positivity and kindness. 

You do not know what anyone else is dealing with, and it should not matter – kindness costs nothing. 

As UK TV presenter Caroline Flack, who took her own life last year aged 40 [a coronial inquest found she had done so after an “exacerbation and fluctuation” of ill health and distress] posted in an incredibly heartfelt message: “In a world where you can be anything – be kind.”

Kindness is the new KPI, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Australian born journalist Lee-Anne Carter is an editor, storyteller-writer, creative director and trend forecaster who for nearly nine years was Swarovski’s Head of Global Trend Intelligence, Marketing and Communications, based in Austria. Now based in Marrakesh, Morocco, she has launched the Creative Soul agency, specialising in creative direction, trend analysis, consumer insights and consultancy. 

www.creativesoul.agency

MINDFUL WAYS TO STRESS LESS

Mindful ways to stress less , Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Wellness guru Lee Holmes shares her top tips for taming the beast, quickly and naturally.

Over the past year, one thing that’s exponentially increased, along with the use of the phrase “unprecedented times”, is the global experience of stress.  

In a nutshell, what is stress?

Well, your adrenal system performs various functions, including producing the stress hormone cortisol. While cortisol has a terrible reputation, it’s needed it to keep us alive. Without it, people from the Paleolithic times wouldn’t have run from tigers, and hipsters in Bondi now wouldn’t run from dairy (sorry not sorry).

Cortisol is essential for regulating blood sugar, metabolism and cognitive function. The problem with cortisol, like most things, is when you have too much of it. Chronic cortisol can send your body into overdrive, weakening your ability to function daily, impacting your immune and digestive system, as well as your hormones. Stress can also negatively impact mental health.

I believe that relieving stress is a daily practice. While there are so many things out of our control, empower yourself to control what you can. We can be present, go slow and do something every day to manage our stress.

Some of my favourite ways to manage stress are with mindfulness activities:

Thrive Issue 6, Mindful ways to stress less

Walk it off

I believe walking is one of the most therapeutic exercises you can do for mind and body. I try to start every day with a walk. If I’m alone, I’ll try point out to myself things I can hear, smell, feel and see. 

I can listen to the wind rustle the trees, smell my neighbour’s new banana bread, feel the ground beneath my feet and see leaves on the floor. This exercise awakens your senses and keeps you in the present. 

If you’re in a moment of stress while at your desk, doing this activity sitting down will only take a few moments and is a great way to bring yourself back to earth.

Do a scan

It’s easy to hold tension in lots of places in the body, including the shoulders, neck, jaw and abdomen. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and like my body is stiffening because of it, I love doing a body scan meditation.

While there are beautiful body scan meditations on various apps, here’s a basic version. With your eyes closed, think about your feet; each toe, the back of the foot and then your ankle. 

Slowly focus on each area, moving up the body until you reach the top of your head. If you feel the tension in a specific body part, visualise that tension and then let it go.

Get to the guts of it

If my stomach ties itself up in knots, I’ll do a simple tummy massage, which is excellent for relieving stress and anxiety and muscle aches and pains. You can read all about self-stomach massage here: www.superchargedfood.com/blog/simple-self-care-tummy-massage-for-anxiety/

Using oil in the Ayurvedic practice of “abhyunga” can also help to get deep into the muscles and promote relaxation.

Based on your personal Ayurvedic constitution or dosha, you can read more about Ayurveda here in my book Eat Right for Your Shape – www.superchargedfood.myshopify.com/collections/books/products/eat-right-for-your-shape – various oils can be used to balance the body:

Vata Dosha: sesame, avocado or almond oil

Pitta Dosha: olive, coconut or ghee

Kapha Dosha: flaxseed or sesame 

Tridoshic Oil: Jojoba oil

2-minute stress less activities 

When you’re in a rush and need some calming down stat, the following are great to bring you back to the present and calm the stressors:

Box breathing: Exhale completely through your mouth. Then close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale completely through your mouth, for a count of 4. Hold for 4 seconds at the bottom, and then repeat. 

Tense and release: Tense all of your muscles for a count of five, and then release.

LIFESTYLE TIPS

  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but over-consuming caffeine can wreak havoc on cortisol levels. If you do drink coffee, I recommend having one coffee a day before midday. Great alternatives to coffee are home-made chai teas, dandelion tea and herbal teas. 
  • Another tip I encourage you to do is switch off your social media a few hours while you rise in the morning and before bed to help you wind down. 
  • To regulate blood sugar levels, and monitor your stress, nourish yourself throughout the day. Are you looking for foods to elevate your mood? Check out some options here: www.superchargedfood.com/blog/foods-to-improve-your-mood-cheesy-kale-chips/
  • I recommend seeking guidance from a health care professional, and getting support from trusted friends, family or loved ones, too.

                                            www.superchargedfood.com

About the Author 

Mindful ways to stress less, Thrive Magazine Issue 6

Lee Holmes is a clinical nutritionist (Adv. Diploma of Integrative Nutritional Therapeutics), yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, founder and blogger at superchargedfood.com and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health.