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Beat the January Blues (With Emotional Intelligence)

by Alexandra Nodes

Emotional intelligence and wellbeing are critical parts of everyday life. The idea that we need to be self aware and to make sure we are doing our best for ourselves and others in terms of our mental health as well as our physical health is becoming more and more mainstream. And thank heavens for that!

In January, after the whirlwind of party season is over and we might be left with a nagging guilt after over-indulging, the tendency is to hit the gym, start running, have a “dry January” or start a diet. But we often overlook the equally important habits that improve our emotional wellbeing and stop us from falling into a winter lull at work.

I’ve always been fascinated with emotional intelligence, and how it translates into our professional and family lives. I think that at this time of year it’s easy to feel melancholy or overwhelmed, and it’s a great opportunity to remember some of the key ways emotional intelligence can make us happier at home and at work.



So what is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence uses the part of your brain which develops the slowest. That’s because EI is acquired by experience; learning from different and repeated situations how you and others react to things. EI is about the way we see ourselves, our empathy towards others, and an ability to understand how we are understood by others.

More than just being “sensitive”, EI means understanding how our actions and interactions affect our happiness and the happiness of others.



Key things to think about this January to be more Emotionally Intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is basically made up of a few different factors. Going back to work after the holidays can be challenging (yes, we did see your Facebook memes). Maybe you’re not feeling the rhythm of your usual routine.

Try keeping the basic principles of EI in mind by remembering the key principles.

  1. Be actively self-aware. Self-awareness means understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. If you know you thrive under pressure, but struggle with deadlines, try to work in a team and force yourself to address this. Keep in mind how your actions impact others, and act accordingly.
  2. Manage yourself and your expectations. Know what you are capable of, and understand that your emotions can be managed and channeled to make yourself and others feel more positive about what you’re doing.
  3. Keep yourself motivated. Find things in your work that challenge you and make you feel passionate. Not matter how small. Feeling positive about what you are doing will make you more productive, and have a positive impact on other members of your team.
  4. Make an effort to relate. Empathy is a key part or emotional intelligence, and actively listening and trying to relate to people around us is critical for emotional wellbeing. Listen to colleagues, explain problems and be sensitive to the fact that not everybody expresses their feelings in the same way.



Flex your EI muscles.

Just like the muscles in your body become stronger the more you use them, emotional intelligence is about actively building up techniques and practices that work for you. Think about the factors above, and focus on the key elements of being happy at work.

Can you find the meaning and purpose in what you are doing? You’ll be happier and more productive if you can find elements of your work that align with your personal values.

Do you feel optimistic about the future? Trying to better understand your needs and having a concrete plan for yourself will help you to relate and express these things to the people around you.

Are you actively building positive personal relationships and friendships? Being connected to others, and investing time in building those relationships, will make you feel better about being at work and make those around you feel it too.



Beating the January blues.

Don’t make January a dull month you just have to get through. Embrace the new beginning, and make sure you start the year actively trying to be happier, healthier and more emotionally intelligent. And don’t leave your new techniques at the office door! 






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