Status and the impact on our wellbeing.

The dictionary describes Status as the ‘relative social or professional position.

Perceived status changes can result in intense emotional responses – in its simplest form, we can feel buoyed up by an improved status and threatened when it falls.

Whilst we might choose to hope that status has no influence beyond the emotional response, the scientific reality is that improved status sees benefits to our life outcomes, and human longevity (The Status Syndrome by Michael Marmot).  And yet there is no universal scale for it – it is our brain’s positioning, our brain’s belief system.

Some might say the self-esteem movement encourages our need to boost status by feeling better than our fellow human beings….indeed some have said this has led to the rise in narcissism in our young people.

Traditionally our sense of status bore a direct correlation to our self-esteem.   If the focus of this is influenced only by external factors, such as our occupation, income, and the car we drive, we are constantly at the mercy of others.

Thankfully we know it isn’t just the external influences that matter, the relationship we have with ourselves can make a significant difference. 

Can we change our status without self-esteem boosts, without someone else’s downfall?

Once we understand status as being something that is within our own control we can learn to support it ourselves.  It is from this position that we can develop our self-compassion which arguably provides more emotional stability and stable self-worth. Our subconscious brain keeps a constant eye on our status even if we don’t believe ourselves to be naturally status-driven but when status is altered by our self-compassion we do not need to see someone else’s decline.

Why does Status Matter?

The higher your status the more dopamine and serotonin are released into your system.

With a reduced threat response (lower cortisol) the higher-status individual can seem to ‘fire on all cylinders’- far outperforming the lower-status individual who is caught in a high cortisol stress response.

So whilst companies fiddle around trying to create hierarchy, improving status with bigger cars and new job titles – the exciting news is you can work alone on this and have a significant impact on your status and therefore life outcomes.

Three things to improve your status before your next meeting.

Write down three wins in your day – three things that have gone well, such as; you caught the train on time; your shoe didn’t get stuck in the door; you remembered your phone charger.  Simple wins immediately link to feeling happier, testosterone increases, giving a feeling of confidence and reducing stress.

Acknowledge your knowledge – turn down the self-sabotaging critics in your head. Read your notes and acknowledge you know what the meeting is about and that you are prepared.

Picture yourself winning a race  – visualisation is one of the most powerful tools you can use to improve your status. Imagine that promotion, winning that bid, or getting a pay rise, literally puff out your chest and stand tall – your mind will know your status is being raised and your unconscious will work to prove it.

Find small ways to boost your status by boosting your own self-compassion, and appreciating yourself in both moments of success and failure and you’ll see the benefits without having to watch other people’s status fall. 

It’s definitely more satisfying to rise up without diminishing your colleagues as you go.

The Communication Collective work throughout the UK and internationally.

To get in touch with one of the team, please email, phone, or use the form below.

Charlotte: 07966 538 159 / Celia: 07793 560 649

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