By Miranda Massie on February 5, 2018
A variety of personal, professional and educational situations have presented themselves recently that have prompted me to explore and reflect on my values.
Perhaps influenced by the current state of the world (or any number of other factors in my life at the moment), the value I seem most drawn to is love. After some coaching and reflection, I am able to say that I see love as the most foundational value upon which my values system is built.
Within a workplace context, I value leading with the heart and strongly believe that we should be able to bring our whole selves and whole hearts to work. I think work should be a place where is it safe to be authentic, and to openly acknowledge and practice our values.
There was a time not too long ago, when I felt that I had to separate my values from my professional self. I was sure that my personal values were too ‘soft’ to be present in my work. Bringing love into the workplace might seem like a radical idea, but I realize now that it might be a way to create change and to re-frame the idea of “workplace culture”.
In the spirit of love (and Valentine’s Day), I offer five ways to improve the physical and emotional health of your heart:
1. Say Thank You
Practice gratitude by thanking others, either publicly or privately. Doing this on a regular basis can increase happiness, contentment, pride and hope. It also make us more willing to help others. 
2. Laugh Out Loud
Laughter is one of the oldest and most cost-effective health products on the market. It produces a wide range of both physical (pain reduction, improved cardiovascular health, better immunity) and psychological benefits (elevates mood, creates focus, reduces stress). 
3. Show Compassion
Practicing compassion towards ourselves is just as important as showing compassion to others. Through compassion, we learn to soften our hearts and see improvements in kindness, self-confidence and connectedness. 
4. Spend Time in Nature
Exposure to nature not only boosts lower blood pressure, but it also builds empathy and fosters community. 
5. Stay Connected
Social support creates physical and emotional connection. It has also been found to be a protective factor against stress, and less stress on our hearts leads to healthier lives! 
This month, I invite you to imagine what it would be like if we worked from our hearts. Wishing you a February full of love, warmth and happiness.
All my best,
By Miranda Massie on February 4, 2015
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.-Helen Keller
I work on a remarkable campus with many remarkable people. I feel privileged have this opportunity and I often leave meetings thinking, “Wow, that person is really great at this” or “I am in awe of this person’s ability to do that…” This happened to me just the other day and then another thought popped into my head: “Isn’t it interesting that regularly I think these things to myself and then never actually share them with those colleagues?”
This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday and I find myself disappointed. In years past, a highlight for me has been to write personal Valentines for my co-workers-a tradition I started on my second week of work at UBC in 2011. I make a trip to the store and pick up the paper Valentines with Elmo or Strawberry Shortcake on the front and drop them off at peoples desks (because who doesn’t like to get a Valentine!) It is something fun and silly that tends to make people smile and hopefully lets them know that they are appreciated.
Taking the time to do this in a professional setting is often overlooked. We are busy rushing from meeting to meeting, constantly juggling priorities without always having the time to connect on a personal level with our colleagues.
In an effort to make up for my inability to shower my colleagues with Valentines on February 14, I have decided instead to send a small number of personal gratitude Valentines. I am going to actually share with others what I admire about them, how I appreciate their work and how they provide me inspiration.
Last year, I wrote about How To Be Your Own Valentine.
Did you know that practicing gratitude actually has health benefits?
- Sharing our gratitude for others or taking time to reflect on what you are grateful for can have a positive effect on levels of happiness and pleasant emotions.
- If harnessed and used as a personal strength, this gratitude can lead to increased relational wellbeing, helping us feel more connected to others.
- In addition, the simple act of witnessing gratitude (by others or towards others) can have a motivating effect on our own behavior. It can lead to increased social awareness, higher likelihood to support others and can motivate us to emulate these qualities in ourselves.
This Valentine’s Day, in addition to recognizing romantic partners and loved ones, I invite you to reflect on your colleagues. Whom do you admire? Who provides you with professional inspiration? If you are able to make the time share your feelings of gratitude with them you both might just end up a bit healthier than when you started!
All my best,
Algoe, S. B., & Haidt, J. (2009) Witnessing excellence in action: the ‘other-praising’ emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration. The Journal of Positive Psychology 4 (2), 105-127.
Emmons, R. A., & Crumpler, C.A. (2000) Gratitude as a Human Strength: Appraising the Evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 19(1), 56-69.
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.