The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

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A Resiliency Killer: Loneliness

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 29, 2019

According to a CIGNA Survey conducted in 2018, 46% of Americans feel lonely sometimes or always. Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful, in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis. Gen Z's are among the most lonely. Although the 18-23-year-olds think they are super-connected, they are not. They're attached to the wireless "umbilical cords" connected to smart phones which—in the scheme of things—are not very smart. Communication that is purely digital can never replace the sound of a voice or the touch of a hand. Or—for that matter—the tone of a voice. Chronic use of social media increases loneliness.

Here’s the kicker: loneliness has been determined to be more dangerous to your health than if you smoked 15 cigarettes a day! According to Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, this loneliness epidemic poses significant risk for our nation’s well-being. A Brigham Young University study showed that loneliness can weaken your immune system, increase inflammation, and fuel heart disease and stroke.

Doesn’t sound resilient to me.

One solution: meaningful human connection through listening. When connected with someone who lovingly and respectfully listens with her heart, life become lighter, even healthier. It’s such a simple but powerful tool that psychologist Tracy Ruble began setting up chairs on a sidewalk in San Francisco. Trained volunteers sat and just listened to any passerby who just wanted to stop and talk. From humble beginnings in 2015, Sidewalk Talk has grown to over 400 volunteers in 50 cities and in 12 countries.

According to Ruble, “We aim to teach people how to be effective listeners and compassionate community members so we can all show up and support one another. We teach people how to be listeners and empower them to start Sidewalk Talk chapters in their own cities.”

SO, dear readers, put away your not-so-smart phones. Walk into your home, office, or neighborhood and just try listening to one person without judgment or advise. You can even download a training program on how to be a better listener. I’m in the field of communication and I know I can always become a better listener. Time to impact the loneliness epidemic!

Having a solid social network of real friends is an antidote, even the Magic Elixir for good physical and mental health. Being social can prevent us from being lonely which stresses our immune system.

 

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Resilience Requires Support and Empathy

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, March 11, 2019

A recent study at the University of Michigan found that empathetic skills in college students have declined by as much at 48% over the last 8 years. The reasons for the decline are many, but two in particular stand out: 

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Gifts from the Garden….YOUR HUMAN Garden

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, March 04, 2019

What is blossoming for you right now? A thought to ponder. Remember, resilience is cultivated. Like any plant, it takes time to grow and—sometimes- must be transplanted into a new “situation” to begin again.

Just like any plant, you must till the soil, seed, feed, and weed. Where are you in the cultivating process? Where is your soil hard-packed, root-bound—not letting any new idea or behavior surface? What seeds would you like to plant? How will you feed that seed? And, altho always a pain to do— there are times we must weed out emotions such as anger and fear. Forgiveness is a great fertilizer. Who deserves your forgiveness? Better still, even i they don’t “deserve it”, perhaps you do!  

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How to Stay Happily Married

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, February 11, 2019

Seems crazy but –as the song says—"what does love have to do with it?” 

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3 Tips for Creating Resilient Work Relationships—and it’s NOT Money

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, February 04, 2019

Let me first define what a resilient work relationship looks like. It is not someone who stays in the organization forever. The truth of the matter is people can “stay” but their minds and spirits are gone. Their bodies are present, but they are absentee landlords!  

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Our Common Fate Can Be Eased Through Singing

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, December 31, 2018

I am not talking about singing as you pay your taxes. Instead, it is the one fate that regardless of wealth, we all will experience: death. It is about joining your voice with others to ease the fear and pain of people who are facing the end of their lives. The seed for Threshold Choir began in 1990 when Kate Munger sang for her friend who was in a coma and dying of HIV/AIDS. In the 2 ½ hours that she sang, it comforted her while it comforted him. An idea was slowly born. Finally, through technology and the grace of women gathering together, Threshold Choir was born. 

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A Piece of Cake Cements A Customer Relationship

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, July 09, 2018

Let’s face it: there are many groceries we can chose from. Within close distance, I have Gelson’s, Albertson’s, and two Ralph’s.  Costco and Trader Joe’s are also nearby. (Yes, I can eat my way around the neighborhood!) 

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Loneliness Looms: An Epidemic of Our Making

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 14, 2018

The U.N.’s annual World Happiness Report ranks the happiest people in the world: Finns, Norwegians, and then Danes. The U.S. has dropped to 18th place. What is happening? Surely, we are (or were) a powerful, wealthy nation.

That’s the rub. What social psychologists tell us is that happiness flows from our connections to each other, our sense of community, and a shared purpose. It has nothing to do with a never-ending hunt for consumer goods, security, money or status. The bullying and hate speech, the demonizing of groups of people, a distrust of the media, and a political climate that seems bent on its own destruction have pushed us away from the very thing we need: human connection.  Loneliness is epidemic and researchers say, far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. And loneliness depletes the ability to be resilient because human contact—and therefore help—is diminished.

Here’s the challenge I am throwing out to myself, my family, and anyone who wishes to take up the banner: time to create opportunities for gatherings of family, friends and people who are “different.” Time to put away the digital devices that keep our eyes from seeing each other and the beauty of the natural world. Time to count blessings in terms of human connections instead of money in the bank. Time to put away consoling ourselves with unhealthy habits and possible addictions.

Author E.M. Forester had it right when he insisted “Just connect.”  And if you have no one to talk to, call me.

 

 

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The Care & Feeding of Virtual Teams

By Eileen McDargh - Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The good news about technology is that teams can be spread throughout the world, offering a rich background for global enterprises. The difficult news is that time zones and the absence of visual interaction can cause teams to stumble or even fail to start at all.  

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From Pain to Profit: Resiliency Lessons for Sales

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, February 05, 2018

Good old Webster defines sales as “the exchange of goods, services, or property for money.” I contend we also engage in the act of “selling” when we want support for an idea, a course of action, or the engaged hearts and minds of people who work with us. 

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