The holidays can be challenging for some of us and emotional triggers appear to be in abundance during the festive season. Whether it is the stories of Christmas past or the stories and the demands of Christmas present, we certainly can find ourselves flooded with powerful emotions without realizing it.
When you find yourself being taken over by the “WHOOSH” of anger or sadness or any other emotions, catch yourself before you let others be on the receiving end, particularly at work.
Becoming mindful of your emotions so that they don’t trip you and put you in hot water at work is crucial to your professional success. If you find the holidays a challenging time, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your emotional intelligence “muscles”. Just like your physical muscles, your emotional intelligence muscles need to be developed. The good news is that the more you practice, the better you get at it.
Building your emotional intelligence “muscles” means being mindful and expressing your emotions appropriately based on the setting and the audience and remaining calm while others are expressing their own thoughts and emotions.
People are often critical of those who display little emotions at work. However, consider the following; when someone appears composed even during very difficult situations, it does not necessarily mean that they don’t have feelings. It may mean that they choose to express their emotions at the right time and in the right place.
Here are a few tips to get you started on building those emotional intelligence muscles and enhance your profile as a professional:
1) Observe your emotions – This may sound simple, but it takes a concerted effort to be conscious of your emotions throughout the day. Make a point of acknowledging different emotions and how they are connected to your experiences. For instance, if you get cut off during a meeting, how does that make you feel? What emotions come out when you are praised for doing a good job? How do you feel at certain times of the day such as first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Make note of these emotions.
2) Pay attention to your body – We are built as a complete package: body, mind and spirit. Take time to observe how your body responds to certain emotions. Do you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous? Heart racing when you’re passionate? Slow moving when you’re sad?
3) Take control of your “knee jerk reactions” – When the “WHOOSH” of your emotions take over, you may fall into “knee jerk reactions”. Make the connection between the specific emotions and your less desirable display of emotions. Consider what changes might be needed. For example, when you get angry do you start to yell or get red in the face?
4) Don’t judge – Feelings happen. They are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they simply ‘are’.
5) Be mindful –Before entering meetings take stock of your feelings, settle your thoughts and emotions, and prepare yourself to respond gracefully regardless of what may arise.
6) Suspend personal emotions– Show up at work demonstrating composure. This does not mean you are repressing your emotions. It simply means you will wait for the proper setting and support system to express yourself.
Finding ways to build your emotional intelligence muscles will serve you well in a professional and personal environment.