Emotional resilience at work - Articles

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Thursday
Dec212017

« 8. How to be happy at work »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

Emotional intelligence encompasses the skill of being able to generate positive emotions such as happiness, hope and enthusiasm. These emotions can be important at work especially if you want to increase productivity, innovation and problem solving skills.

Stay happy and calm at work. (istockphoto)I once received a great Christmas gift. It was a calendar with a saying a day from the Dalai Lama. Every morning I looked forward to reading it.

As I read them I realised that above all else what he was trying to help us find, was happiness.

It's an important emotion and I've realised, deep down, this is really what most of us strive for, although we differ in our levels of success and how we go about it.

There's an old saying, "Don't take your emotions to work with you", but it's nonsense and not at all emotionally intelligent.

In fact, it denies the whole process upon which emotional intelligence is built, i.e. that emotions matter and are valuable.

Happiness at work can be of enormous benefit not only to an individual but to a team and a whole organisation. In fact, if you want to be an emotionally intelligent team or organisation, you need to be able to promote happiness as one of the ingredients of your culture.

Here are top tips on how to be happy at work.

Emotional intelligence tip 1: Stop repeating the bad things.

When it comes to having a job, and especially one that is stressful or you don't like, your negativity can get the better of you. Why? Because if you keep talking to yourself about what is bad about it, and talking to other people about what is bad about it, all you are doing is reinforcing that it's bad. You are hearing how bad it is over and over again. It distracts you from noticing what is good about it. And it makes the bad things seem even worse and bigger than ever. It is not emotionally intelligent but emotionally destructive.

So your first step towards happiness at work is to stop reminding yourself of, or describing the bad parts. You are making your own misery.

Having miserable people at work makes a workplace toxic and can lower employee engagement, buy-in and productivity. Instead of being miserable at work transform how you feel into something more productive. As a client said to me recently, "My work pays me money and I can pay the mortgage. I am grateful". This is emotional intelligence in action.

Emotional intelligence tip 2: Write down a list of 10 good things about work.

Once you stop saying the bad things, you need to still have something to think about or say about work. Practise recognising, acknowledging and saying the good things. This is one way to transform your emotions.

This can take a bit of discipline, at first, if you're not used to it. You might even argue with me that you can't find one good thing to say about work never mind 10! Well, there is a very good chance that a happy person is far more likely to see the good things and it's just that you haven't noticed them of late. So go and start looking.

You can start with very basic things like the fact that you have money coming in each week, and listing some of the things this money enables you do to - from drinking a bottle of red, to going to the movies, to having a Chinese takeaway, to simply eating a healthy breakfast each morning or paying the electricity bill.

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Then there are other things you could put on your list. For example, the good things it enables you to do for the other people on your team, or for your clients, customers or stakeholders, or indeed for your family and society.

We are all "cogs in the machine", so whether you empty dustbins, put data onto computers, issue vehicle registration plates, drive the trains, make the radio news, sell food, produce maps, or whatever your job involves, you are helping others. How does your job help you serve? Be grateful for that.

And then think of the people at work. Surely some of them are nice or kind? Focus on the good aspects of people to help you stay positive at work.

Emotional intelligence tip 3: Make your work place nicer.

If you're not happy at work, then make work a happier place for you to be in. It may be that some gentle music through headphones might help, bringing in a muffin each day at tea break, or bringing in a bunch of flowers ... whatever it is that will bring some cheer.

And what matters here is that cheer is contagious. Imagine what it would be like if you left a gift of a flower on everyone's desk one morning - would you increase the grumpiness or the happiness? You might get a buzz out of doing it, especially if you crept in and did it in secret! Then imagine the buzz others would get from it.

Now flowers might not be the best present, but the idea can be adapted to your workplace.

Emotional intelligence is not just one set of skills but many and there are many ways to increase positive emotions such as happiness.

Emotional intelligence tip 4: Praise yourself.

In some workplaces it's hard to get affirmation for the good work that you do and this can lower people's satisfaction rating. If this is typical of your workplace take responsibility instead for acknowledging your own good work - whether big or small. You might jot down in a journal things that worked well, or tell people of your success when you go home.

Of course, one of the reasons you may not be getting the praise you deserve is that everyone else is also busy and isn't noticing what you do. You can let them know and this may help.

Happiness comes as a result of our actions, not from suffering in silence hoping that it will arrive. Being emotionally intelligent isn't about waiting for others to help us feel happy, it's about taking responsibility for our own emotions.

Emotional intelligence tip 5: Take a break for something positive.

Break up your working day by doing something that boosts your mood.

It may be Tai Chi, yoga, massage or meditation or watching a funny YouTube video. Find something that's easy to do at work and helps you rejuvenate and refresh.

Some people simply wear themselves out at work and deplete their energy so badly that it is hard to stay happy simply because fatigue is so strong. So take care of yourself at work and enjoy emotional vitality. 

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Emotional resilience premium bundle $317 $189. Add to Cart

                   Save $128. Free shipping worldwide

It's emotionally intelligent to care for yourself and your emotions.

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:

Worried that you don't have enough emotional resilience and that you need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.