Archive for the ‘Neuroscience and Brain Smarts’ Category

News Release: New book (Ease) — Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy

December 24, 2013

News Release:

(Note: republished from my Big Cheese Coaching blog)

 

Are times of ‘crazy busy’ now the new normal? According to Eileen Chadnick, a leadership and work-life coach and author of a new book, Ease, the season of rush is now year-round. Demands of work and life continue to accelerate to unprecedented levels.  In Ease, Chadnick offers strategies to manage overwhelm in times of “crazy busy”.

 

Ease-Book-Cover

 

“Overwhelm has become an equal-opportunity issue. Leaders of all levels and employees across the board are confronted with unprecedented levels of demands at work and in life. To successfully navigate the challenges of the day, we need to ramp up skills – not just the technical skills of work but also mental, personal, and emotional skills,” says Chadnick.

 

“With the right practices, one can develop new habits and more productive approaches to manage the loads, rein in the stress, and experience greater personal and professional well-being.”

 

Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of “Crazy Busy”:

 

In Ease, Chadnick deconstructs overwhelm from a mind-brain-body perspective and provides a toolkit of ideas that are deceptively simple yet draw from the wisdom of neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and the science of positivity. Three major areas addressed are:

 

1)      Mind Full: Organize and focus with the brain in mind

 

2)      Mindful: Develop conscious and empowering mindsets

 

3)      Mood matters: Leverage the positivity advantage

 

“Ease offers strategies that are straightforward and not at all difficult or complex. While some are even embarrassingly simple they are compelling reminders of what we may already know but often forget to apply in moments of stress and overload,” says Chadnick.

 

Despite the simplicity, Chadnick’s guidance provides an overlay of neuroscience with some basic brain-friendly principles giving rigor to the approaches.  With each ‘tool’, Chadnick shares stories from her own life as well from a decade of coaching clients. Bringing a light-hearted tone to her narratives, Chadnick shares how making potato knishes helped defrost a brain freeze; how keeners can better manage the ‘paradox of choice at the buffet of life’;  how we can all benefit from injecting more micro moments of positivity in our daily lives – and much more.

 

Readers will:

 

  • Learn to organize the burdensome loads and pre-empt the ‘Mind Full” syndrome.
  • Work with more “brain in mind” savvy and become more ‘mindful’
  • Develop more empowering thinking.
  • Leverage the positivity advantage and become more resilient, creative and resourceful.
  • Experience more ease and well-being in work and life

 

“Ease is about more than getting things done. Ease will help you reclaim your spark even in times of great challenge and crazy busy,“ says Chadnick.

 

About Ease:  Ease is available in most major online retailers in North America and comes in soft cover, hard cover and an e-book. See www.Easerx.com for more information on how to get Ease; and to read advance testimonials.

 

About the Author: Eileen Chadnick, PCC, ACPC, ABC is a certified coach and principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto. She coaches leaders and organizations towards achieving greater personal, professional and organizational well-being.  She draws from emotional intelligence, the science of positivity and neuroscience. She has more than 20 years experience in diverse careers including professional coaching, communications and fitness.  See here for a more detailed bio.

 

-30-

 

NOTE TO EDITORS:

 

Preview copies of Ease are available. Photos available (author photo, Ease book, etc.)

 

GET IN TOUCH:

 

Eileen Chadnick (416) 631-7437

 

Eileen@bigcheesecoaching.com 

 

Twitter@Chadnick

www.Facebook.com/bigcheesecoaching

3 Ways to Get Ease. Literally. My book is here!

November 18, 2013

Note: This was first published on my Big Cheese Coaching blog

I just received my first hard copies of my new book, Ease , last week! I’ve had many people share with me they were looking forward to reading Ease so here I am with the good news:

It’s Ready. Come and Get It! (please and if you like 🙂

This is so very exciting for me. See the pic below of me signing my first book for Terry Fallis* who has so generously provided some publishing savvy tips and guidance to me — and took the time to read Ease and offered some advance praise.

Terry Fallis shows Eileen the tricks of the tradeTerry Fallis shows Eileen the tricks of the trade*Terry Fallis shows me the ropes – how to properly sign a book! Terry is the award-winning author of The Best Laid Plans and cofounder of Thornley Fallis Communications.

Ease is now available to order from several major online book retailers. In the weeks and months ahead, Ease will be available at thousands of online retailers globally. Right now, many of the major retailers are posting it. See links below.

There are three formats: hard copy (my favorite); soft cover and e-book. Currently not all online sites are posting the e-book just yet (but more will in the weeks ahead).

If you go to a site directly, rather than searching for ‘Ease’ type in “Eileen Chadnick” and it will take you to the Ease page if it’s posted. Better yet, check out these links below and they will take you directly to the Ease page. Note: pricing varies so look for the best deal!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

i-Universe

Books-a-Million (Bam)

There are and will be more availability in the weeks ahead. Do check out my book website ‘buy’ page for more details on retailers and delivery timing (especially if buying Ease as a holiday gift).

Would love to hear your feedback! Please share and help spread the word.

Here’s to a TGIM work life with abundance and Ease.

Eileen

Update on Ease (my book)

October 28, 2013

Note: this was first published on my Big Cheese Coaching blog

 

UPDATE ON EASE – Pre-launch News:

The T’s are crossed. The i’s are dotted. The book is now in the stages of design, production and….drum roll please: closer to launch.

For those of you subscribing to my newsletter, you have heard me talk about a book I’ve been working on for quite some time. Much of the past months (year) have been about writing, editing, etc. Well it’s time for a shout-out:

COMING SOON!

Ease Book Cover V2 (as of Aug 27)

(Book Design Concept by H2 Marketing Central)

The front cover concept above is not yet 100% final because we may be tweaking the words on the bottom and I’ll have more to share as we finalize the back cover too.  But it’s pretty close.  And a huge shout-out of thanks to H2 Marketing Central who designed this cover concept. Looks good eh?!

In the meantime, I’ve been receiving some stellar advance praise — I can’t wait to share with you (stay tuned for an upcoming post on this).  And more good news: Ease has also been awarded an ‘Editor’s Choice” from an independent panel associated with the publishing company I am working with. This is a thumbs up on the editorial quality — I’ve gone the self publishing route so this is a very important stamp of approval by a panel of industry editors. Well – that puts me at ‘ease’ to say the least!

Gotcha curious? Make sure you come back and visit soon….I’ll be sharing more news about the launch of Ease in the weeks ahead as we get closer to take off.

So what’s Ease all about? If you haven’t heard me speak of this before read on for a little description….

——

EASE

Do you ever find yourself asking, “Where did the day go? Where did the week go? Where did the years go?” Do you look at the stuff you have to do and ask, “How the heck will I get all this done? How will I survive this week, month, year? Where did all the fun go?”

Do you sometimes feel bogged down and overwhelmed by it all? We live in times of unprecedented busyness. Having too much to do in work and life seems to be the new normal these days.

Ease offers strategies to manage overwhelm in times of ‘crazy busy’.
The heart Ease is a toolkit that you can customize for your own personal and professional well-being.

Ease offers hundreds of deceptively simple ideas and tips backed up by the rigours of neuroscience, emotional intelligence and the science of positivity. You can pick your spots with simple ways to make work and life flow with more ease, productivity and fulfillment.

More than just getting things done – Ease will help you reclaim your spark even in times of “crazy busy”. 

  • Learn to better organize the burdensome loads with a “brain in mind” approach.
  • Become more mindful and develop conscious, empowering mindsets that will energize and empower you.
  • Develop the positivity advantage and become more resilient, creative and resourceful.
  • Experience more ease and well-being in work and life

Coming soon! It will be available from book vendors across North America.

Stay tuned for more…..

Eileen Chadnick

Positivity at Work

October 28, 2013

NOTE: This was originally posted on my Big Cheese Coaching blog:

I’ve been swimming blissfully in the study and application of positivity for quite some time and lately have ramped it up a notch. I have always been hugely interested in and engaged with the science of positivity. I think it’s part of my innate DNA — but also very much a learned skill too.

professional

Recently, I’ve joined a group of global participants in an eight week  learning opportunity: a master class on positivity lead by the Barbara Fredrickson, the pre-eminent expert on the science of positive emotions and author of Positivity and Love 2.0.  This has been an amazing experience (and we’re not yet done).

I’ve also had the opportunity to bring the topic of positivity to several workshops and presentations lately (talking to staff at Sick Kids Hospital, UoT, Administrative Professionals Conference, Red Mountain Resort) and have more on the horizon.  It’s been tremendous fun and the participants seem to have really enjoyed the sessions. Check out the recent testimonials.

I just wrote an article for the Globe and Mail on the positivity advantage  (as part of my “Brain Works” series). It’s been getting a ton of buzz. You can read it here.

I’m learning so much  (from my studies and ‘living it’). Here are just a few tidbits.

1) Positivity matters: It is not just a ‘nice to have’. It is truly an essential ingredient to your success and well-being. There’s over 20 years of hard scientific evidence that links positive emotions with better health, improved brain and cognitive function, greater personal efficacy, a heightened ability to connect and a spark plug to boost your mojo (and much more….but hey, that’s plenty to convince me).

2) It’s in us already – we just need to tap into it with new habits: Positivity isn’t dependent on circumstances. Positive emotions can reside side by side with a range of emotions – even the not-so-positive. We just need to be intentional and learn easy yet authentic ways to tap into our positivity reservoir.

3) We need a steady and diversified diet of positivity: Good nutrition tells us to get a steady and ample diet of fruits and vegetables (and other essential food groups). Likewise, for well-being, we need a steady, ample diet of positive “moments”. Most people go with less than the recommended allotment. It’s not as hard as one may think to get your ‘dose’.  It can be just a thought away – or an intention to be present to moments that might offer you joy, gratitude, inspiration and more.

4) Positivity comes in moments: It’s not about getting to a permanent state. Positivity comes in moments and are fleeting. Still, if we get enough (a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to one negative) we will benefit from all the rewards.

Curious? Want more? Here’s how to tap into this further:

1) Read my latest Globe and Mail article for some high-level ideas and tips.

2) Get ready for Ease, my upcoming book soon to be released. It includes a lot of strategies on how to hone the positivity advantage.

3) Invite me to speak to your people (conference, employees, etc.) Have a look what others have said about my sessions.

4) Engage in coaching – this is my sweet spot and I’d love to help you hone your positivity advantage!

More to come but lots to dive into RIGHT NOW!

Enjoy and may you live with Ease and Well-being.

Eileen

Six Ways To Tame Your Stressed Out Brain

August 12, 2013

UPDATE (DEC 2013):  if the topic of managing overwhelm is of interest to you – I just launched a new book called, Ease – Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy. You can get it at most online book retailers. Read here for more!

(Originally posted at http://www.bigcheesecoaching.com)

A slighted shorter version of this article has also been published in the Globe and Mail Careers.

The Scenario:

It is late afternoon and a busy executive, whom we will call Sue, is trying to finish up a project before she leaves to get her daughter from daycare. Simultaneously she is also dealing with several other priorities on her plate. Already running late, she receives an urgent email from her boss advising of a change in direction for a proposal due the next day.  Feeling stressed, Sue feels her anxiety escalate even further. Just when she needs it most, her normally sharp ‘thinking brain’ seems to freeze up. She feels overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck not knowing how to handle the demands piling up.

Stressed Businesswoman

(Microsoft Image)

Bye Bye Thinking Capacity – Hello Brain Freeze?

Sound familiar? Many people can likely relate to this scenario. It’s normal to feel occasional bouts of overwhelm.   Most people want to do well and to feel good about their work. But when stress levels go into overdrive, judgment, prioritizing and other critical thinking skills can become compromised, further escalating stress and impacting performance – and wellbeing.

Take heart. It may not be you. It could be your brain. And with just a little neuroscience savvy and a few brain-friendly strategies you can be better equipped to handle those times of ‘crazy busy’,  boost your performance and feel calmer too.

Brain Work 101: The Higher Thinking Brain vs. the Survival Brain.

Blame your stress on the amygdala – the part of the brain that ‘detects and protects’. Formed earliest in our evolution and part of the limbic system, the amygdala is akin to being a ‘survival brain’ with a super sharp ability to scan for and react to any perception of danger. Reacting instantaneously to any hint of threat, it gets us ready for fight or flight. Eliciting what’s known as the “stress response” with the release of adrenaline and cortisol to get our heart pumping and muscles primed for….well that depends on what happens next.

Is that a lion or a crazy deadline? The amygdala doesn’t know or care. Its job is not to discern whether the threat is real or perceived; its job is simply to protect.  When we experience an emotional response related to our work or life (‘oh no, not another crazy deadline or yet another change!), it fires the alarm just as it would if there was a real physical threat.

Unfortunately since survival always trumps reflection this happens at the expense of another essential part of our brain: the prefrontal cortex (PFC) which handles higher thinking skills like critical thinking, discernment, judgment and other cognitive skills. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) works best when under moderate stress and gets suppressed when the amygdala is all fired up.  Paradoxically, we need the skills of the prefrontal cortex to deal effectively with the stressful ‘stuff’ of work and life.

Bring back the calm  

To get a grip in a stressful moment, we need strategies that put the perceived threat back into its respectful cage and deliberately bring our higher thinking abilities (via the PFC) back online.  Here are six brain-friendly strategies to help you “tame your brain” and give your higher thinking brain a better chance at doing its work.

Six Strategies to Tame Your Brain and Give Your Higher Thinking Brain a Better Chance

1) Pause

When in the midst of a stressful moment, take a moment to simply pause.  While it may feel counter-intuitive when rushed with time-sensitive workloads, a short pause provides a time buffer that can weaken the impulse and mitigate falling into the stress response.  Counting to 10 or 20, breathing deeply or taking a short break can provide that reprieve amidst a sense of urgency and chaos.  More importantly, this intentional break can give you that small but critical opening for more productive thinking and putting things in better perspective.

2) Notice and Name it.

In his book “Your Brain at Work, David Rock, President of the Neuroleadership Institute, shares a powerful yet simple strategy for bringing your higher thinking skills (via the prefrontal cortex) back on line. Simply observe and then name your emotional reaction. For instance, you might say to yourself, “I’m feeling very stressed” or “I’m frazzled”.  It’s important to notice then label the experience without feeding into the emotion. While this awareness won’t likely give you full relief this simple cognitive act engages the PFC which can diffuse the strength of the ‘amygdala attack’ — making room for a more reflective approach.  Additionally, engaging the prefrontal cortex can elicit the hormone know as Gaba (gamma-amino butyric acid ) which provides a calming effect when there is too much adrenaline in the body.

3) Organize

Our left hemisphere brains love it when we make plans and get organized. Organizing is a powerful antidote to overwhelm and can provide a calming effect when we feel chaos and fear. Write out a to-do list; revisit your priorities; create an action plan; clean up the clutter on your desk or in a file. Do anything that gives you (and your brain) a greater sense of order amidst all the pressure of a demanding workload.

4) Focus

Our brains crave focus.  But all too often we work against this by trying to multi-task. Our brains, in fact, are not built for multi-tasking attention. Instead, the brain simply toggles from one thinking task to another. This constant switching is a major energy drain and a first class ticket to frazzle. This unfocused waste of attention also compromises productivity, creativity and efficiency.  Instead, work on scheduling more focus time in your day; chunk down your priorities and focus on one task at a time. Pay attention to your habits and notice where you can reign in the multitasking beast.

 5) Visualize

While our left hemisphere of our brain craves order, the right hemisphere can help us access calm with strategies like visualizing, looking at the big picture, and reflecting on meaningful symbols and metaphors.  Try to visualize success in handling a challenge you are facing; create an image in your mind that inspires calm; identify and tune into a metaphor that symbolizes strength. The possibilities are endless. The key is to integrate your whole brain and that includes both left and right hemisphere brain strengths.

6) Connect

Interacting with people you like can boost levels of the Oxytocin hormone which can have a calming effect when stressed.  Avoid the urge to hide or go it alone. Instead seek out others whom you trust and can count on for support.

So – how do you manage work overload?

Here’s to your personal and professional wellbeing.

Eileen Chadnick

Why Doing Nothing Could be the Most Productive Thing You (don’t) Do

June 30, 2013

(Originally posted at http://www.bigcheesecoaching.com)

I used to be good at doing nothing. I mean really good. I remember years ago during summer breaks as a young adult I’d hang out on the porch (when I wasn’t working at my summer job) and just relax. No goals, no agenda….just me and some music and my wandering mind. Me and my imagination. Some of my best daydreams happened in those idyllic hours. I don’t seem to do enough of that these days. Ahhh, the art of non-doing….

P1010245

Wow. I miss those days. Not because of the time I had (well that too) but because I now realize how valuable and important downtime really is.

I’m not referring to hobbies. Those I do plenty. I’m referring to ‘simply doing nothing’. The act of hanging out where there is no agenda, no structure, no goal….nada.

Why is doing nothing so important?

Neuroscience experts say some of our best breakthroughs and thinking comes when we stop consciously thinking and completely disengage from goal-oriented activity.

Huh?

By intentionally disconnecting from deliberate, goal-focused, conscious thinking, we give our brains a chance to “clear the cache” (that’s my expression for declutter and break from mental patterns) — and instead, engage in a process called ‘integration’. This has something to do with letting the brain access disparate information stored in our memory in a natural way. The unfolding of new connections without effort often leading to insights and creativity that far surpasses that which may come from deliberate problem solving. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should stop thinking or trying to solve our creative problems – just that we should also allow some white space too and deliberately take time to disengage.

A shout-out to leaders: doing nothing is actually a leadership competency. Add that to your to-do list!

Herbert Benson, MD and William Proctor, co-authored a book called The Break-Out Principle, which talks about this concept in great detail. They say taking breaks from thinking about an issue can trigger an inner switch (that they call “the break-out principle” that increases mental function, creativity and productivity.

Hmmm, I’ll take two orders of that please!

Actually come to think of it, while I may not disengage as often as I’d like, I have had many of my moments and share of break-out principles. In fact, just this weekend I was taking a break from my book writing project and forced myself to get out for a ‘do-nothing’ walk in the ravine. Well go figure – I came back with so many new thoughts and ideas.

The problem is this boost of creativity ends up adding to more ‘doing’ for me because of all those shiny new ideas and inspired energy (gotta actualize those ideas!) instead of taking coveted rest, rest, rest. Ahh, but that is another topic.

Well, it is summer and this weekend it’s Canada Day so hopefully many of us are getting out to do lots of nothing. Two more months before the so-called ‘busy season’ (yeah, I know, it’s always the busy season). Let’s make a pact and try to do lots more of this quality nothing.

You in?

By the way, I get into more detail on this concept in my upcoming book on managing overload in times of crazy busy. Stay tuned…and if you aren’t on my mailing list, send me a note and get onboard!

To your personal and professional wellbeing!

Eileen Chadnick

Back to TGIMworklife home page