We are all motivated to be happy, feel good and thrive. Not just at work, but in life in general. But are we going about that in the best way? We have probably all established certain behaviours and goals that we hope support our wellbeing and help us thrive. We might be doing all kinds of things; we eat healthily; we play sports; we listen and play music; we learn and study, everyone will have their strategy. To check how we are doing, we take stock. We measure how we feel things are going in our life and compare them how we would like things to be. If we perceive a gap, we take action.
When we pursue thriving and wellbeing in this way, we are using our analytical and problem-solving skills, which can be a very powerful ally, but has its limits when it comes to achieving our desire for wellbeing. Have you ever noticed that when you reached a certain goal that you were sure would make you happy, the satisfaction lasted only a short while? Soon enough, you want something else, and the cycle starts again. If you are not careful, you are never fully experiencing wellbeing, but always seeking it.
The reality is that things we want change, and are never ending. In addition, life has a tendency to throw out things that we do not like or want but which are there none the less.
How we deal with the reality of things changing and not always being how we want them to be is critical for our overall wellbeing and ability to thrive. For this, we need to be able to add experiential processing skills to our analytical and problem-solving skills.
Using experiential processing skills will increase your chances of dealing well with anything that comes your way and free yourself from unnecessarily making it harder to experience wellbeing. These skills will support you to feel satisfied, happier and more relaxed and as such be able get the best out of yourself and your life.
So, what are experiential processing skills? Quite simply, it is the skill to be aware of your full experience, the wanted and the unwanted, and the skill to use that awareness to choose your response to what is going on for you. In our society these skills are often underprioritized, mostly because they are misunderstood and judged as fuzzy or not relevant. When faced with responding to situations in our lives, we are generally much more comfortable with analysing and rational problem-solving than with feeling and experiencing.
Neuroscientists have been researching the effects that using experiential processing skills have on people’s brains, and evidence is showing that brains of people who use these skills in their day to day are different from those who do not, and that these people experience a greater sense of wellbeing and satisfaction in life.
How can we train our experiential processing skills?
Good news is, these are skills you were born with, but probably have not received the same level of support and training as your analytical and problem-solving skills. For you to be able to access and use your natural ability of experiential processing there are several things you can do. In this short programme you will get a basic understanding and experience of using experiential processing. Like any skill, it does take practice and commitment.
In this introduction, you will learn more about the 4 key elements you need to cultivate and train to optimize your ability to use experiential processing skills in addition to analytical and problem-solving skills. We will provide basic theoretical underpinnings and some short exercises that will help you gain both intellectual understanding (analytical) and feeling and experiencing (experiential).
If you want to learn more and go into more depth, you can access the ‘MindStrength@work’ training on https://www.mindstrength.org