Posts in control
I Win, You Win - Tips for Effective Communication

I’ve had many people come to me with concerns over how they are being perceived, with frequent feelings of being misunderstood. Much of the time, issues in this realm boil down to communication styles and patterns.

Bringing awareness to ones communication style, can be very helpful. Often, I will suggest some assertiveness training, so that when communicating with others, people can adopt a sense of, “I win, you win” instead of simply trying to, “get what we want.”

Quiz: What’s your communication style?

Being assertive isn’t only good for your relationships, it’s good for reducing stress and anger, and communicating better according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also help boost self-esteem.

We all have different ways of getting our points across. Most communication styles fall within four categories: Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, or Assertive.

Passive aggressive  communication action is a deliberate but covert way of expressing anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009) and is most often motivated by a person’s  fear  of expressing anger directly.

Passive aggressive communication action is a deliberate but covert way of expressing anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009) and is most often motivated by a person’s fear of expressing anger directly.

What type of communication style do you typically use? Does your style change depending on your audience? In which situations would you be most likely to try to improve your assertiveness?

When someone comes at you more aggressively, it’s important to consider the source. Why might this person be saying what they are saying? It might have nothing to do with you, maybe they’re just having a bad day, or a hard time. Try and take a moment to reflect before responding. If it is personal, not all criticism is bad. In this case, can any of what they are saying be true and helpful? Is there something to learn and grow from here? If so, maybe say to this person that you hear their perspective, and you would like to do better. Ask if they have any specific feedback you can use to improve. Then remember that this is just someone’s opinion. Sometimes you will want to take that in, and sometimes you won’t.

The next time you draft an email or text message that could be interpreted different ways; re-read it to yourself and imagine someone was sending you the same message. Is there anything you would change?

Read more about assertiveness here

Contact me if you would like to work on your own assertiveness skills, or for a company training.

Positive Psychology 101 - The Science of Gratitude

Instead of focusing on maladaptive patterns and behavior, positive psychology focuses on helping people function at an optimal level. Positive psychology aims to better understand and apply factors that help individuals and communities thrive and flourish (Seligman & Csikszentmihay, 2000).

Well-being can be achieved or increased through deliberate interventions.

One of the earliest documented interventions involved guiding people to adopt traits present in happy people (Fordyce, 1977, 1983).

To date, many interventions have been developed that have been shown to increase well-being including:

Practicing forgiveness (McCullough, Pargament, & Thoresen, 2000)

Participating in happiness training (Goldwurm, Baruffi, & Colombo, 2003)

Keeping a gratitude journal (Emmons & McCullough, 2003)

Thinking about positive experiences (Burton & King, 2004)

Writing a gratitude letter (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)

Engaging in acts of kindness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005)

Counting one’s blessings (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005)

Engaging in productive activities (Baker, Cahalin, Gerst, & Burr, 2005)  

 Reliving positive events (Lyubomirsky, Sousa, & Dickerhoof, 2006)

Nurturing relationships (Lyubomirsky, 2008),

Participating in goal-setting (MacLeod, Coates, & Hetherton, 2008).

seligman quote

One of the first things that comes up when you start researching Positive Psychology is GRATITUDE! Gratitude is strongly correlated with greater happiness and better relationships When we tap into a state of gratitude, we elevate our functioning and see improvement in a variety of areas.

This is a summary of over 40 research studies on gratitude. Click the picture to link to the source.

This is a summary of over 40 research studies on gratitude. Click the picture to link to the source.

A simple thing we can do to tap into gratitude is to create a gratitude journal. Just write down 5 things that you are grateful for. You can start a notes page on your phone, or can write these down on a piece of paper. Take a moment to rate your sense of well-being before writing down your gratitude list. Write down your list, then re-rate your sense of well-being.

P.S. This can work even if you go through the list mentally, but better if you write it down.

Growth Mindset

Mindset = the underlying beliefs people have about intelligence and learning. There is a lot of research on growth mindset and it’s relationship to praise from parents and teachers. After studying thousands of people, Dr. Carol Dweck discovered the tendency for people to have either fixed or growth mindsets, and that people with a growth mindset will learn more, learn faster, and more thoroughly if they believe that intelligence is not fixed. This has huge implications for parenting and teaching!