Positive Psychology - Our Projects
In this section we seek to reach out and collaborate with other teams interested in the projects below. If you wish to collaborate or have ideas for project development please contact us
1. Emotional intelligence and the finance industry
Increasingly finance graduate training focuses on knowledge attainment, rather than the development of relationships and understanding how to apply that knowledge . There is an increasing requirement for graduates to have a broad range of knowledge, an ability to explore vast data sets and identify relevant information. The speed of information delivery, its depth and increasing human connectivity is fostering a state of permanent partial attention; people constantly searching for relevant packets of information. This has led to increased levels of distraction and physiological stress. Heightened expectations, information delivery and the size of data sets has led to a reduction in the quality of attention that people are able to pay to a subject. Increased distraction and time scarcity has led to a reduction in the ability of people to pick up subtle emotional signals in others (micro facial movements, body language and intonation).
Why: Lack of awareness and depth of analysis has allowed giant frauds such as Worldcom, Enron and Madoff.
Next steps: We are investigating to what extent the above is true by interviewing finance professionals from the Big 4 accountancy firms
2. Business leadership: MBA courses pay scant attention to business psychology
Why? Business leaders are being trained on a business as usual basis. The unparalleled stability and security of the last 50 years may well be over. The illusion of perfect markets and distribution of capital facilitating wellbeing is also over. The switch to a service based economic boom has led to capital markets being unable to adequately distribute capital. At times of uncertainty the need for calm leadership and clarity amongst political and business leaders is great.
Next steps: We are seeking to roll out our business psychology programme with business schools paying particular attention to training attention, strengths based coaching and emotional intelligence. Preliminary discussions have been held with Professor David Grayson of Cranfield Business School . www.davidgrayson.net
3. Introducing meditation programmes to business.
We have a programme to teach focus and attention techniques in business.
Why? David Moxon in a study of the employees in the finance industry has demonstrated that the ability to focus on a topic has declined from 10 minutes to 5 minutes in the last 10 years. www.davidmoxon.com
Listen to Maggie Jackson talk about the erosion of focus and the cost to business
Our switched on world (blackberries, email, pagers, internet advertising, digital television, social networking) means that we are constantly seeking relevant packets of information. This has led to an increased ability to skim information but a reduced ability to dive deep and a reduced ability to observe key emotional signals from friends and colleagues.
Learning to focus attention has been shown to foster creativity, reduce stress and increase teamwork. Studies in the US and Australia have shown a relationship between financial performance and meditation in business
In 2009, business faces contraction and uncertainty. Being able to both scan for trends and then be able to do something different from the crowd by relying on intuition and remaining calm is critical to business survival
Next steps: We are talking to the Big 4 accounting firms graduate recruitment departments to assess their views on graduate attention. We are also talking to a major publishing company about introducing the programme to their staff
4. Walking Tall Programme: An 8 week Positive Psychology course for the Youth sector
An 8 week coaching programme for youth workers working in the development sector fusing ideas from Positive Psychology with an awareness of the importance of nurturing basic human energy drivers (good posture, right diet, exercise and management of environment).
Why: We believe that in order for youth workers to engage young people, they themselves must be engaged and energised. Our experience tells us that this is often not the case because they are often living within an environment which fosters disengagement. We have worked with a number of youth development charities, including Yourstory and Community Links
Next steps: Youth sector charities often have limited resources and we seek funding for our programmes
5. Walking tall programme: Rhythm in motion – A guided meditation programme using drumming for schools
This is a guided imagery and meditation programme for schools - a 1 hour workshop aimed at disrupting habitual thoughts and patterns. We take a space in a school and re-engineer the sights, sounds and smells within that environment. The workshop takes participants on a journey commencing with slow drumbeats, slow movement and neutral colour schemes. From here we change the environment by introducing bright colours and vibrant beats. The children learn how to use simple tribal drum beats, to synchronise their activities and fall into alignment. From here the tone is softened with lots of positive guided imagery to leave students in a state ready for focussed learning.
It teaches people how environment and sound changes mood
It connects body and mind through rhythm and movement
It gives an outlet for creativity and physical expression
It teaches confidence through movement
It introduces mindfulness and meditation to youth in an engaging, authentic manner
Next steps : We are developing the programme with Lenny from Intoto theatre and are looking for schools to trial the workshop
6. The power of human touch: How Oxytocin facilitates trust
Breathe-London also runs a massage therapy business and is therefore well placed to investigate the importance of human touch. It seems that human touch facilitates the release of a hormone, Oxytocin which promotes wellbeing and trust. A warm handshake and a cuddle does this. Kids from families that cuddle tend to be more positive about the future and trusting.
Why: Do we touch less? More people are living alone, women are outliving their partners, contact sports is played less, increased time on line reduces human interaction and adults touch children less.
Next steps: We are looking for ideas. In the meantime for information on the power of touch visit www.hugthemonkey.com
Also for a one man mission to get us a cuddling more visit uk.youtube.com
7. Meditation to curb youth offending
Mediation training to curb re-offending and promote rehabilitation rather than punishment has already been a huge success in US prisons.
Why: We are facing uncertainty and loss. The last 15 years have, in general, been characterised by rising affluence and declining criminal activity. There is a strong relationship between crime and economic activity. If Britain is the worst placed of the major economies to face the current recession, then we may expect an increase in crime. Are we going to just lock them up?
Crime is an habitual pattern. Meditation has been demonstrated to interrupt habitual patterns and has been shown to lead to reduced re-offending.
Next steps: We have been put in touch with contacts within the prison service by www.kidsco.org.uk
We are looking for agencies willing to fund our meditation programmes