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AWARE Ink Newsletter

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October Leadership Library Feature


Each month AWARE’s leadership team comes together in person to collaborate and coordinate across service lines, connect and learn from one another and model an effective organizational culture. During each meeting, the team sets aside time to explore ideas from thought leaders across varying industries within the context of our own programs and services. They have embraced the concept “leaders are readers” and are enthusiastic about continuous learning, growth and development. 

Last month, we gave you some insight on building a positive, forward-thinking mindset in The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. This month, we’ll cover Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski.

In Burnout, Emily and Amelia take a look at the causes of their everyday stress and anxiety and the different ways science can help. They provide insight into what’s really going on and what you can do to persist and thrive in the world. The book is aimed primarily at women but that doesn’t mean the lessons aren’t universally applicable. There’s something for everyone in this increasingly relevant book.

One of the key takeaways from the book is learning to close the stress cycle. The authors describe stress as basically a neurological and physiological reaction activated by apparent danger. All the reactions that happen within your body during times of stress and pressure are intended to help you do one thing – run. Running for our lives might have been crucial for our ancestors, but not so much anymore.

When stress and pressure build up, epinephrine is discharged into our systems. Our muscles tense while our pulse and breathing rates go up. Other body capacities like our ability to think, digest food, and maintain a healthy immune system are diminished. Sound familiar?

Our bodies are ready to dodge a charging rhino. They’re not aware of the stack of papers we need to file away, the constantly ringing phones we need to answer, and the challenging deadlines we need to meet.

This is where closing the loop becomes ever so important. If you ignore it, your body will likely remain in a constant state of hypertension. You’ll get sick more often and you’ll have a harder time absorbing the nutrients you need from food.

So how do you close the stress cycle? Well, exercise is one of the most effective methods. As little as 20 minutes of running, swimming, biking, or just plain old moving helps our muscles and bodies unwind. It doesn’t have to be physical activity though. Things like painting, music, and theater can all have similar outcomes. Hugging, spending quality time with family and friends, or playing with your pets can do the same thing.

The trick is finding something you enjoy, something that brings you peace and wellbeing, and making time to do it often. We should all strive to close the loop daily. So, what’s your method going to be?

Have you read any great leadership books? We’d love to know what you’re reading! Let us know by sending an email to bhiggins@aware-inc.org.

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