Zest can be learned and built in life!

Engagement, optimism, low levels of stress together with high self-confidence – sounds like a dream? Developing a zestful attitude at work is the standard answer to getting all these.
Zest means approaching a situation, or life in general, with excitement and energy. People who are high in zest are excited to get up in the morning, and they dare to live their lives like an adventure. [read more about what zest is here].
Here is the good news: zest can be learned and built in life!
Besides creating a culture of health to set the stage for zest, we’ve compiled 10 simple and effective approaches that you could apply at your workplace to nurture a more enthusiastic, daring and self-content workforce.

  • 1. Focus on frequent recovery breaks to stay juicy
    Stress is not the problem, but an absence of recovery is. Especially mental recovery is scarce in a world that never stops… Foster a culture where recovery, both physically and mentally is a must for people to perform. Allow employees to make frequent short breaks. Did you know outlook allows to standardly have meetings of 55 minutes? That provides 5 minutes an hour to go to the loo, nurture yourself, move around and evenly important to recharge your brain. Short breaks can also be: a short mindful walk outside, using a mindfulness app, or take a few deep breaths. Recovery and mindfulness have the potential to bring attention back to the present moment, sparkling your zest!
  • 2. Fight the enemies of zest
    Mental Health issues like depression are a well-documented enemy of zest, and its toll on productivity and physical health is enormous. There is still a massive stigma around this topic in society so training your leaders in Mental Health First Aid can be a great first step. In 4 mornings they will get the basic knowledge on how to signal early signs of mental ill-health and respond appropriately.
  • 3. Build positive leaders
    Add a module about Positive Psychology within your Leadership curriculums. Championing and encouragement will become a natural part of their conversations with staff members and nurture what naturally brings enthusiasm to their team.
  • 4. Say Thank You more often!
    Create a Gratitude wall or offer other positive psychology exercises that cultivate gratitude and savoring. There is a ton of research on the positive benefits of gratitude and if tailored to the workplace they might also bolster zest.
  • 5. Offer meaningful work
    Any strategy that helps workers see where their activities fit into the larger picture should also increase their enthusiasm and excitement for what they do. Let them work on a personal work or career mission and discuss how this aligns or falls into the broader company’s mission.
  • 6. Find opportunities to recognize and celebrate
    Appreciations are great ways to revive the energy to continue the hard work with the same zestful spirit. It does not have to come from others. People can learn to give themselves a little pat on the back for any accomplishments they have made.
  • 7. Foster energizing relationships
    Let employees map existing relationships as more versus less energizing for them and let them talk about it. Awareness and the ability to choose paves the way to increase the density of energizing relationships at the workplace while decreasing or eliminating those that de-energize.
  • 8. Bring employee’s strengths to life
    Get to know all the strengths in your team and see how to use them better. Use for example the VIA scientific survey on character strengths, or the Strengths Profile, two well studied and validated tools that help you exchange with your staff about how they can tap more frequently into their top strengths.
  • 9. Pave an optimistic path
    Try the “Imagine yourself” exercise with your staff at the start of your next meeting. This is an excellent way of boosting them and getting rid of any negativity that might stand in the way.
    Here’s an example: Choose a time in the future, say five years, and imagine yourself working then. How do you see yourself? What do you want yourself to have achieved by then? Think of all the possibilities and picture yourself successful. Then ask yourself what will lead you to that position and how you can ensure you achieve it.
  • 10. Craft adventurous jobs
    Enable people to engage in exciting stuff that is not necessarily part of their role. It will spark energy and enthusiasm.
    The idea is to find a space where they can still satisfy and excel in their function, but which is simultaneously more aligned with their strengths, motives, and passions.

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