Self-Care, Happiness, Emotional/Social Intelligence: A bibliography

I recently had the privilege of keynoting the Access Services conference on November 12, 2015 (slides available on slideshare.)   I offered to put together a bibliography of the articles and research that informed some of my points around emotional and social intelligence, mindfulness, happiness, health, stress, and effectiveness.  Here it is!

This bibliography skews more towards “popular” books, articles, and resources as opposed to clinical studies and academic research.  This was a conscious choice I made because so many of the “popular” articles contain links and references to the harder science, and I thought this approach would be of more value to the layperson or casual reader, while still providing a pathway into the research for those so inclined to dive deeper.

If there are books, articles, videos, workshops, or other resources that have been helpful to you, please share your recommendations in the comments section.

Thank you and enjoy!

Articles and Blog Posts

Books

  • Becoming a Resonant Leader: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence, Renew Your Relationships, Sustain Your Effectiveness.  by Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Fran Johnston. Harvard Business Review Press, 2008.
  • Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.  By Daniel Goleman. Harper Paperbacks, 2015.
  • Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life.  By Barbara Frederickson. Harmony, 2009.
  • Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Harvard Business School Press,  2005.
  • The Scientific Power of Naps. Asap Science Video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ_f9onTTQE.
  • Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).  By Chade-Meng Tan.  HarperOne, 2014.  (see also: https://www.youtube.com/user/Siyli)
  • The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.  By Alex Korb.   New Harbinger Publications, 2015.
  • Working with Mindfulness – Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations. (Kindle Only)  by Mirabai Bush, Jeremy Hunter, Daniel Goleman,  Richard Davidson, George Kohlrieser . More Than Sound, 2015.  http://www.amazon.com/Working-Mindfulness-Research-Techniques-Organizations-ebook/dp/B00E67LDQS .
  • Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.   By David Rock. HarperBusiness, 2009.

Other Resources

Want to be healthier, smarter, more creative? Get some sleep!

Sleeping Cat

Courtesy Flickr User thejbird (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve written about the importance of sleep before.  The research suggesting that sleep is vital to our health — physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional health — could reach from here to the moon and back if you started piling it up.

Here is the latest in a long series of articles that I routinely bookmark: Why You Should Sleep Your Way to the Top.  In the article, Dr. Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley (where he runs a sleep research lab) talks about the relationship between sleep and memory, learning, and emotions.

The whole article, which is in easily-readable interview format, is worth a read. Here are some key excerpts:

I would argue that, if you look at the other main biological drives—things like eating and drinking—it’s fairly clear that the lack of one night of sleep causes detriments to your brain and body that far exceed anything you would see from a lack of food over the same duration of time.  In fact, studies on animals in the 1980’s demonstrated that rats will die as quickly of sleep deprivation as they will from food deprivation. Sleep is that essential.

When you are sleep deprived, the frontal lobe and the amygdala become disconnected, and so you become all emotional gas pedal, without sufficient brake.

Socially appropriate responses and controlled emotional reactions are quintessential for cooperation and interactions with others, so sleep loss has the potential to impact such processes.

[R]esearch has clearly demonstrated that if you restore and normalize sleep in different severe mental health conditions, you can see very significant clinical improvements.

Many of the emotional benefits that sleep provides involve taking the painful sting out of difficult emotional experiences from the day before, or balancing our reactivity to next-day emotional challenges. Sleep even improves our capacity to recognize different and specific types of emotions in people’s faces more accurately.

Sleep before learning is critical; but you also need to sleep after learning, and to take that new information and essentially cement it into the neural architecture of the brain.  More recently, we’ve realized there’s an additional benefit for learning. Sleep is much more intelligent than we have previously considered. It not only takes individual pieces of information and saves them and protects them, but sleep can intelligently cross-link new pieces of information together. As a result, you can start to extract commonalities and develop novel insights into problems that you were having the day before.

We’ve found that sleep will  more than triple  the probability that you’ll figure out [a] hidden rule. Sleep seems to inspire a creative insight into previous problems and challenges we’ve faced.

Sleep seems to support such a remarkable and broad constellation of different functions. Not just the brain; your body also benefits dramatically, your immune health, your metabolic system, your cardiovascular health. Indeed, there is not one major tissue or organ in the brain or body that is not benefited by sleep. 

Simply put, the single most important thing you can do each and every day to reset your brain and body health is to sleep. Once you start to get anything less than about 7 hours of sleep, we can start to measure biological and behavioral changes quite clearly.  People will say, “I can get by on 4 or 5 hours of sleep.” But your subjective opinion of how you’re doing with insufficient sleep is a miserable predictor of objectively how you’re doing with insufficient sleep. Essentially it’s like the drunk driver at the bar picking up his keys after a couple of drinks and saying, “No, no. I think I’m fine; I’m perfectly fine to drive.”

 

Learn More, do Nothing: The Importance of rest and renewal

Would you like to be more creative?  Learn faster?  Super, all you need to do is… Nothing.

Interested?  Read the complete post over at ALA Learning
(also archived below on 3/27/13)

October 9, 2010 update:  Check out Bobbi Newman’s post on the connection between innovation and working less


The New York Times reported this week that researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that rats don’t learn from experience until they take a break from the experience.  The break gives them time to process and create persistent memories.  Furthermore, the researchers believe that their findings almost certainly apply to the way humans learn. Uh oh…

Why uh oh?  Because many humans are increasingly connected to our ipads, blackberrys, smartphones, and laptops, keeping our brains engaged continually throughout the day.  And while all of that ubiquitous connectivity offers us the possibility of reaching heretofore unreachable levels of efficiency and productivity it seems that it might come at a price:  The Times reports that “when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. ”

Having recently started a new job, I can attest to the fact that there’s nothing like a silent drive or a brief nap to process and organize a great deal of new information.  My 45 minute commute home might be the most productive part of my day, as that’s where all of the sense-making is happening.  Strange as it may seem, sleeping has also been incredibly productive as I awake many mornings with a number of ideas synthesized from the previous day’s conversations, observations, and readings.

So as we come to the end of another summer and start getting geared up for the busier days of Fall let’s take a moment to remember:  There might be no better way to learn than by stopping, unplugging, and doing absolutely nothing.

Photo Credit: Simone Ramella via Compfight cc

Friday Fun: Sleeping your way to the top

[Note: this was a Toastmasters speech I gave last year, slightly revised for your reading pleasure.]

It has long been suspected, but scientific studies prove it: Sleeping around the office is a great way to make it to the top.

If you don’t believe me, consider this: A study released by the National Sleep Foundation says that taking afternoon naps increases your productivity.

A Survey of American workers supports this finding with 40% reporting that daytime drowsiness prevents them from doing their best work.

But Napping doesn’t just improve our productivity, it may even save our lives.

Consider this: Fatigue has widely been cited as a contributing factor to both the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents. The Pepsi syndrome? I think not. The ambien syndrome, maybe… You know a few well-placed nap rooms at our nuclear facilities could make the difference between active workers and radioactive workers.

Sleep deprivation has also been cited as a contributing factor to numerous railroad accidents. Engineers need to spend less time on their feet and more time on their… caboose.

There are many studies that show a marked loss of alertness in the afternoon. Did you know that more accidents occur between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. than in any other 2 hour span? And when you consider how many drunk people are bumping into things at 2 am on Saturday night, that’s a truly sobering thought.

So on the one hand we have the possibility of sleepy employees and train derailments and nuclear destruction, and on the other hand we have alert employees and an attentive, productive workforce. And yet nap enthusiasts still find employer resistance to catching a little cubicle snooze. Why?

Why why, why?

Because the poor, sweet, gentle, nap has been unfairly stigmatized as the luxury of the rich or the indulgence of the lazy. This was probably epitomized in the classic Seinfeld episode when George Costanza worked so hard to conceal his dirty little napping secret: a nap chamber custom built into his desk. But as dumb and lazy as George Costanza was, he knew enough to avoid the stigma of the nap!

Unfortunately, the taint of napping in the workplace is all too real, so nap rooms may not soon be coming to an office near you. But fear not fellow dozers, nodders, sleepers, and snoozers, all is not lost! Recent research in the field of creativity suggests that a mere BREAK in the “attentive activity” can lead to clearer, more creative thinking.

Scientists who have spent millions of dollars and years of their lives studying the phenomenon call this an “incubation hypothesis.” You and I call it “taking a break.”

According to the “incubation” hypothesis, it is best if we incubate once or twice a day for a period of 10-20 minutes, enaging in no activity during this incubation. The incubation’s only function is to divert our attention from work, releasing our minds. We are thereby enabled to freshly engage in our tasks and do better creative problem solving when we return from the incubation.

I think Archimedes would wholeheartedly agree with the incubation hypothesis. In Greek probably, but he’d agree. You remember the story of Archimedes? Eureka! Archimedes made a major scientific discovery while soaking in the tub. It’s suggested that Isaac Newton discovered gravity while lounging under an apple tree. And Frederick Banting — who dreamed how insulin could be used to control diabetesand won the Nobel prize for his discovery — would certainly agree that a little shut-eye can work wonders.

So why do most employers still frown on napping and slacking? Maybe nappers need to get the research into the hands of a good PR firm. I can see the billboards now: Save a life, take a nap.

There is at least one major American company seems to get it. Google!  Google permits their employees to spend 20% of their time on non-work related activities. Stacy Sullivan, Google’s HR Director says,

“We want to take as much hurry and worry out of people’s lives as we can, because a relaxed state of mind unleashes creativity. Everybody’s on flextime here, so we don’t reward face time or working super-long hours. We just measure results.”

And as we all know, the results at Google have been pretty good. Hey, maybe George Costanza had it right after all… Maybe sleeping our way to the top really is the way to go.

I will leave you to ponder: To drowse or not to drowse, That is the question.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a great deal of work to do so I’d better get back to my desk and, uh, nod off?

[Sleepy Penguin photo courtesy of: http://flickr.com/photos/slightlynorth/1583420981/ Some rights reserved]