Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., shares importance of self-compassion and self-care

February 26, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

To support Michigan Medicine faculty and staff, the Office of Faculty Development hosted a presentation by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., on health care leadership in stressful times.

Goleman is an internationally-known psychologist and science journalist whose 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, was on The New York Times bestseller list with more than 5,000,000 copies in print worldwide in 40 languages.

Watch the talk in full here (login with your Level 1).

Goleman stressed the importance of self-compassion and self-care, naming them as essential components for dealing with the incredible stress of our current environment. As he explained the four components of emotional intelligence, he posed questions that participants can ask themselves to become more self-aware, emotionally connected to others and, ultimately, able to lead with empathy and compassion: 

  • Am I aware of my emotions right now?
  • Am I being triggered emotionally?
  • Am I aware of how I’m expressing my emotions?
  • What is the emotional tone of my self-talk? Am I being self-critical?
  • Are my basic needs being met?

Goleman also touched on a few specific techniques that can be used in the moment to deal with stress, heightened emotions and the fight or flight response. One such technique is mindfulness, or mindful breathing.

According to Goleman, “there is a dose response relationship; the more you do it, the better the benefits.”

He recommended starting with 5-10 minutes of mindfulness at the beginning of the day. Focusing on the breath has many benefits, which are explored more deeply in Faculty Development’s monthly Exploring Mindfulness workshops, led by Frank Anderson, M.D., M.P.H., and are open to all faculty and staff.

Throughout his talk, Goleman discussed the connection between emotional intelligence and leadership, including references to research that shows that positive attitudes in leadership lead to better performance by team members. The themes of caring, one of Michigan Medicine’s five core values, and empathy were also woven throughout the speech.

According to Goleman, the application of empathy is essential to good working relationships, and is of particular importance in healthcare and interactions with patients. Some questions to consider that help to increase empathy and understanding:

  • Am I being patient with the people I interact with?
  • Am I assuming the best of others?
  • Am I open to feedback on my performance?
  • Do I slow down for key moments in an interaction?
  • Do I thank people?

Goleman ended his talk with the importance of gratitude. Simply writing in a gratitude journal each night and naming three people you are grateful for, has a major impact on managing stress and anxiety.

If you’d like to learn more from Goleman about emotional intelligence and handling stress during these difficult times, watch the entire talk on the Organizational Learning MiVideo site.

To explore related learning, here are upcoming lectures and development workshops offered to all Michigan Medicine faculty and staff:

Upcoming webinars and resources provided by Organizational Learning:

Watch these online courses available anytime through LinkedIn Learning: 

Additional reading, including references from Goleman’s presentation:

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