Taking Care of Our Own:
Generating Positive Emotions
Bolster Your Inner Capacity During Challenging Times
“As health care professionals, we are informed by our science and guided by our hearts.”
Kathleen Robertson,UMHS Employee Assistance Program
An interesting thing about working in health care is that what makes us elegant and extraordinary is also the thing that can burn us out. The price of opening ourselves to another’s humanity is that we share their pain and suffering which can, over time, compromise our own health and well-being. There is no doubt that employees of our Health System automatically rise to the challenges.
This holiday season we’re facing bigger challenges than ever and employees are asking themselves: How can I continue to care for patients, deal with economic challenges, face the unknown impact of the H1N1 flu virus at work and home, and care for myself and family? When we fail to practice self-care we place ourselves at risk for burnout. When this occurs, we may experience a loss of energy, a loss of joy, a reluctance to engage with others, and a sense of futility.
Working as a counselor at the Employee Assistance Program, I’ve seen many people find ways to tap into the inner strength found in each of us to build positive emotions, which help manage stressors. Barbara Fredrickson, author of “Positivity,” has studied positive emotions extensively. Fredrickson found those who flourish both in good and challenging times have a 3:1 positive to negative ratio. She identifies the following emotions as the fuel that promotes positivity: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. When we experience positive emotions, we become more tolerant, expansive, and creative. The more positive emotions we encounter the more open we become to new ideas and new experiences.
Interested in increasing your positivity?
Consider these tips:
At the Employee Assistance Program we ask our clients to pay attention to how their activities, circumstances and current lines of thought make them feel. We then ask them to recreate those activities, circumstances and thoughts that enliven and uplift them. Our wish this season is for all of us to generate positive emotions for ourselves and others.
The EAP is a confidential, no-cost service for Health System faculty, staff and their families.
Positive emotions are:
Inside View Editorial Advisory Group
Constance Bridges, Office of the Dean, Medical School
Paula Greeno, Office of the EVPMA
Teri Grieb, MSA Office of Research
Judy Hallberg, UMMS Human Resources
Kelly, UMHS Human Resources
Mark A. Kempton, UMHS Human Resources
Erin Koenigsknecht, UMHS Marketing Communications
Eric Kratochwill, UMHHC Office of the CEO
Allison Krieger, Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Rick Krupinski, Editor, Medicine at Michigan
Alisa Morningstar, UMHS, MFit Health Promotion
Sara Stephens, Safety Management Services
Tammy Nipper, UMMS Human Resources
Juanita Parry, Nurse Recruitment & Retention
Steve Raymond, UMHHC Leadership & Staff Development
Karen Schlueter, Livonia Health Center
Connie Standiford, Medical School Administration
Carole Strong, House Officers Association
Public Relations & Marketing Communications Staff
Michael Harrison, chief public relations and marketing officer
Kara Gavin, director of public relations
Beth Johnson, editor and senior writer
Jessica Soulliere, assistant editor
Geoff O'Connor, Web developer
Shantell Kirkendoll, senior public relations representative
Nicole Fawcett, lead public relations representative
Cathy Mellett, contributing writer
Juliet Fuller, photography coordinator