Holidays Have You Happy Or Horrified? A Mindset Shift May Help You And Your Team

Jarret Jackson
7 min readApr 29, 2022
Our perspective shapes how we interact with the world. | Photo by Michael Dziedzic for Unsplash

The holiday season is upon us! Winter is coming. For some, any celebration is great news, but for others, the combination of the omicron variant, holiday stress, and less sunshine may be impacting more than how they feel. It might also be impacting how they think.

Worries Getting In The Way?

A new study, conducted by Boston University emeritus professor of psychology and psychiatry David Barlow and colleagues and written about on, suggests that neurotic thinking patterns (the negative-thinking traps that are generally associated with anger, anxiety, depression, irritability, and self‐consciousness, for example), may be getting in the way of your team’s mental health and their success. Individuals that are high on neuroticism may feel a lack of control over their work or environment and experience more distress than others in the face of most work and life stressors.

That’s helpful insight for leaders and managers whose teams may feel like they are falling apart under the strain and stress of the past two years: It’s not time for another pep-talk. It’s time to challenge ourselves and each other to change the way we think; to re-write the stories we’ve been telling ourselves about the difficulties we’ve been facing and create ones that find the silver linings and opportunities instead.

According to the researchers, by challenging individuals to understand their emotions, become more mindful and aware of the world around them, and identify alternative explanations that are soothing instead of concerning, for example, neurotic thinkers can learn to be more open to other ideas and perspectives and to reduce their stress levels in the process.

Guiding others away from neurotic thinking patterns may be one of the most meaningful and important leadership opportunities ahead.

How To Flip The Script

Most people tend to approach the world in one of two ways: with fear, or with curiosity. Individuals who approach the world with fear, I call iceberg thinkers. They are focused on survival, often acting out distress or the desire to minimize the potential for distress. You see that in their FOMO (fear…

Jarret Jackson

I write about strategy, adaptive leadership and managerial psychology.