The holidays are right around the corner, and there’s no better gift to give yourself than increased emotional intelligence.
After all, learning to manage our emotions doesn’t just help us control our reactions in the moment; it helps us become hardier, and more resilient in the face of challenging situations.
This holiday season, we suggest giving yourself one of the most useful gifts of all: investment in your professional abilities.
Start with the following 12 days of emotional intelligence:
Day One: Gratitude for everything I see
As we ease into the holiday season, find time to step back and appreciate all you have.
That could be a supportive partner, relationships with friends and colleagues, or the joy you find through the work you do - whatever it is, take time to reflect on the many things in life for which you are grateful.
Day Two: A big dose of empathy
As you consider the many positives in your life, make sure to remember that many people out there haven’t had the same experiences you’ve had. As a result, they approach situations through the lens of their personal experiences.
Do your best to show empathy towards others who might be struggling. Keep in mind that emotional responses are often due to situations beyond your control, and could be related to issues and anxieties you are not aware of.
Day Three: Courage to take risks
Taking risks is how we grow. Even if you’re generally risk-averse, try to find small ways to take risks in your daily life.
Say hi to strangers; nominate yourself to lead a project at work; volunteer for a local community organization that aligns with your values. All of these small actions build over time to help you become more resilient, and better at managing challenging situations in your life.
Day Four: Trust in myself and others
One of the keys to emotional intelligence is to learn to trust ourselves and others.
When we trust ourselves, we can feel confident that we’re making decisions that will lead to outcomes that are positive, and in everyone’s best interest.
Trusting others makes us kinder and helps minimize miscommunications, hurt feelings, and arguments. When we put our trust in someone, we begin every interaction by assuming that they’re coming from a place of good intentions. This simple shift can be life-changing in our attitudes and interactions with others.
Day Five: Managing my stress
Managing stress has been shown to yield positive effects beyond just managing our emotions; reducing how stressed we feel improves our mental well-being, keeps us resilient, enhances memory and attention to detail, and more.
We love these simple stress management tips from the Mayo Clinic:
Get regular physical activity
Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or massage
Keep a sense of humor
Spend time with family and friends
Set aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
Day Six: Acceptance in what I can’t change
Maya Angelou is famous for saying: “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
We agree: the easiest way to resolve conflicts, or to stop allowing ourselves to dwell on an outcome we disagree with, is to do our best to accept it and move on.
Day Seven: Connecting with others
In this digital age it’s easy to feel connected to others, but social media, email, and even texting are superficial forms of communication compared to face-to-face meetings.
This season, take time to go for coffee with friends, or make a point to get out and enjoy the season outdoors with family. Take time to re-invest in the relationships that matter.
Day Eight: Flexibility
We all need to feel a sense of control to some degree, but being flexible and adaptable in the face of change is just as important as the sense of self-efficacy we feel from the belief that we can influence the outcomes in our life.
Allowing ourselves to be flexible can alleviate some of the stress associated with the anxieties we feel around change. To learn more about how you react to change, click here.
Day Nine: Asking for what I want and need
It can be hard to ask for what we want, especially if our roles in life requires us to be responsible for others.
This holiday season, take time to reflect on the times you have (and haven’t) asked for what you wanted and needed, and how that made you feel. How did that affect your mood? Your decision-making ability?
Commit yourself to asking for more of what you want and need this coming year.
Day Ten: Spending more time on “me”
This ties into asking for what you want and need, and to the tendency to over-commit to things out of a sense of obligation. Taking time for yourself is essential for your mental well-being, and plays an important role in regulating emotions and anxiety levels.
Take time to have a nice long bath, or indulge for a few hours with a good book over the holidays.
Day Eleven: Investing more in those around me
Now that you’ve spent time nourishing your soul, it’s time to turn that kindness back outward and invest more time in those you care about most.
Write a series of holiday cards to your coworkers to them know that you appreciate their hard work all year long, or spend time with a family member you haven’t seen in a while. These small acts of kindness don’t just make others feel good, but will make you feel great as well!
Day Twelve: Learning to be more resilient
Spend time learning about your resilience, and learn developmental strategies to improve and maintain your best qualities. Understanding your hardiness level can help you develop a flexible and confident approach to life - this year, and every year.
Ready to understand how you resilient you are, and how to develop it? Contact us to learn more about the Hardiness Resilience Gauge or to become certified to deliver it to others.
You can also join us in Toronto in March 4 - 5, 2020 for in-person EQi-2.0 & EQ360 Certification. Spots are limited, so don’t wait!