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The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

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There are five key elements of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Awareness and practice of each element combined will make our daily lives in and out of the workplace much more enjoyable. We go through many emotions throughout our day. Being mindful of these emotions and turning the negative ones positive will keep us motivated. We do our best work and is most approachable and enjoyable when we are comfortable.

Self-Awareness

The first element of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. This is the ability to recognize and understand both the positive and negative feelings you encounter. Being able to recognize your emotions will allow you to analyze how you feel in certain situations and later allow you to control those emotions in certain situations. This is especially important in negative situations when hot emotions will cause you to make rushed decisions and say things you do not fully mean and cannot take back.

You go through many emotions on a day to day basis. Take a regular work day for example. You wake up feeling like you are ready for the day or ready to go back to sleep. This can be the determining factor of how you may feel the rest of the day. For the next couple of days, notice how you feel when you first wake up in the morning for work. Are you excited to see what challenges you will resolve today or are you dreading the thought of stepping into the office? If you are excited, congratulations! This means that you are enjoying your work and feel a sense of pride about what you are doing. If you are dreading going to work, pause for a second. Why are you not looking forward to your day? Is it because of your coworkers? Managers? Or is it because you do not enjoy the work you are doing? Evaluate why you are not looking forward to your work day. Figure out if it is something you can change, how you can change the situation, and go from here.

Self-regulation

After being self-aware of your emotions, you can begin self-regulating them. Self-regulation of your emotions is the ability to control the emotions, especially in high-stress situations. This will help with lashing out impulsively when in stressful situations.

An example that ties in with self-awareness at work is how you respond to certain people. Are you responding to certain people in a more negative way than others? This is an important thing to recognize. The person you are responding to negatively is picking up your negative energy much faster than you are recognizing it yourself. Take a moment to notice when you feel more worked up when talking to a specific person. Figure out why that is the case. It may be something they said once that is stuck in the back of your brain. Figure out what it is and determine if it is worth holding a grudge. In most cases, nothing is worth holding a grudge. The only person it is affecting is yourself. After you have determined why you speak to this person in a negative way, let yourself know it is not worth having tense at work and let it go. You are with your coworkers more than you are with your friends so why not be happy when you are at work.

 

Motivation

There will always be days when we feel unmotivated to crawl out of bed let alone do anything productive. Sometimes the lack of motivation comes from something as simple as lack of sleep or as complicated as lack of passion. Go to bed earlier! More sleep cannot hurt. Lack of passion can be fixed. Often time, many life elements plays a role into whether we can change what we are doing out of necessity into doing what we want to do out of passion. Being self-aware of why we are lacking the motivation is the first step in getting motivated, however, we do not always have to do it alone.

We interact with many different people in our daily lives – family, close friends, coworkers, random person on the same train as us every day. Every one of those people could use a boost of motivation from time to time. In the workplace, whether you are a manager or team member, it is undoubtedly recognizable when someone is lacking the motivation. They are your work family. You see your coworkers more than you see your actual family so a shift in behavior or attitude is easy to pick up. When you notice these shifts, if it is a negative shift, consider what might be the cause. If it is something work related? How can you support or work with them to help? As a manager, are you listening to your team? Is someone feeling burnt out? Is there something in the business process that can be improved? Improving all of these things will improve the morale of your team and motivate them produce more high quality products.

 

Empathy

The other elements that we have discussed so far were about recognizing and understanding our own emotions. Empathy is different. Empathy is being able to recognize and understand the emotions of others. It is often time easier to recognize the emotions of someone else, especially if it is a negative emotions. You just have to pay attention. This ties in with self-regulation when we talked about others being able to pick up on the energy we give them. Although it is easy to pick up the emotions of others, it is important to consider why they are feeling that way.

When others are feeling positively, it is something to enjoy. If they are feeling extra enthusiastic or high in energy, maybe something exciting is going on in their lives. Maybe they’re about to go on a dream trip and is looking forward to it. Feeling the positive emotions of another person will feed our emotions positively. Ask that person what is making them so excited today. You might have just discovered something fun to talk and bond about.

Now for the not so fun emotions. Negative emotions are more difficult to control. We feel our blood boiling, the looks in our eyes changes and our body language may become aggressive. Most people will stay far away from people they see are showing signs of negative emotions. Why? Simple. Because we ourselves do not like to feel negatively and do not want others negative emotions rubbing off on us. However, stop and consider how you feel when you are upset. At first you may not want to be disturbed by anyone but you should know that holding in negative feelings for a long time is not healthy for yourself or anyone around you. Sometimes, people just needs one caring person to take them aside and ask if they are okay.

The answer could be simple. They may have just had a bad start to their day. Spilled coffee for example. Other times, they may be going through a difficult situation in their personal lives that is spilling into how they feel at work. These situations are more difficult to help with but knowing that will allow you to be more empathetic when they respond harshly to a question you ask or seem spaced out.

The situations we have just talked about were seeing a higher level of energy – positive or negative – different than their everyday level. Another thing to consider is culture or personality traits. Someone’s culture is a big factor in how they preserve a situations and how they will handle it. Personality traits such as introverts vs extroverts will also react differently to the same situation. Do a quick search for personality tests online and see what you are. Most people are close to the middle. Someone who is introverted, may preserve an extroverted reaction as extreme. Understanding and educating ourselves about our personality traits and what others are will help the us understand how to react in certain situations and with certain people so that everyone feels comfortable.

Social Skills

Understanding all of the above elements, recognizing when we feel certain ways, controlling those emotions in negative situations, motivating ourselves and others to be in a positive mind set and understanding the emotions of those around us, will improve our social skills. Another way of improving our social skills is being able to read the situation, social cues and body language. But keep in mind, body language and cues could mean different things in different cultures. Take eye contact for exam. In one culture, strong eye contact shows confidence and respect while in another culture, it is seen as trying to intimidate.

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What To Do When Your Brain Is Fried

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We’ve all been there before. A great creative week where ideas are flowing endlessly, inspiration and great feelings abound. You feel like you’re breezing through and galloping towards the finish line. Then you come in one day and spend hours and hours staring blankly at your computer screen. For writers, it’s writer’s block, while others simply refer to it as a fried brain.

If you’re struggling to think coherently or if you feel like there are no ideas or clear thoughts coming from your brain you may be suffering from mental fatigue. This can occur anytime to anyone and can hamper your productivity. For most people their first step is to get a caffeine fix. But this might not be the only way to beat a fried brain. Here are some great examples on how you can get your brain to work again.

Take A Walk

According to a study conducted in Edinburgh Scotland, taking a quick walk can help combat mental fatigue. The study hooked 12 people to a portable ECG machine that measured their brainwave patterns that can be used to gauge excitement, frustration, arousal and more. The participants were asked to walk through a predetermined route around Edinburgh through busy shopping districts and green spaces. ECG readings of the participants showed that walking through green spaces reduced feelings of frustration indicating a reduction in stress levels. Richard Coyne, PhD and one of the authors of the study states that taking a walk through a park reduces cognitive overload and can help you overcome your fried brain.

Think Positively

When the brain is stressed, it has problems sending signals from the amygdala – the brain’s center for emotions, emotional behavior and motivation – to the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for higher level thinking. However, focusing on positive thoughts like your plans for the upcoming weekend or even quitting time can help lower stress levels thereby increasing the flow of information to your prefrontal cortex. This means happy thoughts can help you think clearly again.

Go On Youtube

Did you know that YouTube has the same calming effect as taking a walk around the park? Studies show that humor has a very positive and relaxing effect on the brain so when you’re feeling as if your brain is fried, hit Youtube and look for humorous clips from Jimmy Kimmel, Carpool Karaoke from James Corden, or Jimmy Fallon. Or if you’re looking for something more inspiration look for FunForLouis, Casey Neistat, or Gary Vaynerchuck. The videos won’t only help your brain “laugh,” but also increase your motivation and perseverance so that stress is decreased and you regain mental clarity and health.

Sleep

The brain gets tired too. Although it never really goes to sleep, sleeping helps the brain slow down so that it essentially takes a break from thinking and just focus on bodily functions and repairing your body after taking a beating from stress. Switching off can help you forget about what’s keeping you stressed at least for the night and give you energy to tackle problems tomorrow. When the brain is rested you might see your problem in a new light and give you new angles on how to best tackle it.

Fatigue, slow mental response, irritability and finding it harder to perform are some of the signs of a fried brain. Giving your brain a break from time to time will not only keep you from burning out physically but mentally as well. Finding ways to relax your poor exhausted brain will help you in the long run too.

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8 Easy Habits To Adopt In Your Workplace To Boost Your Health

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Working a desk job is not the best for your health. However, many jobs require work on the computer that it feels unavoidable. If you work at a desk in an office, there are things you can do to boost your health physically and mentally. You may not be able to completely ditch your desk, but you can create a more health friendly environment in the office.

Clean your desk

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How are you with distractions? Are you someone who is bothered by every little sound or are you someone who would not notice if the filing cabinet was engulfed in flames? Just because you can work in a messy environment, doesn’t mean you should. Walking into a neat cubicle or office will help you remain on task and complete your work. Wiping down your keyboard and mouse will help prevent the spread of germs. Keeping your drawers organized will make locating paperwork more automated and will save time and drama. The same can be said about organizing your desktop. Keeping well-labeled documents and files on your desktop helps you navigate your computer quickly. That way, the next time someone emails you one minute after they need something emailed to them, you can drag and drop without a second thought!

Stock up on healthy snacks

Health habits

Healthy snacks sometimes feels like an oxymoron in a work setting. The standard snacks in offices are often leftover bags of chips, cookies, and soda from conferences and meetings. When that afternoon energy crash comes your way, you may be inclined to reach for some type of caffeine and a sugary or crunchy snack. To avoid the draw of Doritos in the break room, stock up on your own snacks to boost your health. If you are looking for crunchy, try some hummus and veggies or trail mix. If you looking for a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit and pair it with yogurt or nut butter for more satiety. Many healthy snacks can be purchased pre-portioned so you won’t be tempted to mindlessly devour a whole jar of peanut butter at your desk.

Bring your reusable water bottle

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If your workplace has a filtered water dispenser or a classic water cooler, you can use your breaks to walk over and hydrate. By bringing your own water bottle, you can reduce waste and monitor your water intake. If you use a smaller water bottle, it will allow you more opportunities to get up and fill up. If you use a huge bottle, you may be getting your steps in on the way to the restroom. Either way, stay staying hydrated is super important if you want to boost your health.  

Set timers and get up

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People only have so much mental stamina when it comes to tasks. Setting timers is something that can help motivate you to completely dedicate yourself to a single project. When you know you only have 30 minutes of concentrated effort before you earn a break, it becomes easier to power through. When the timer goes off, give yourself a five minute break to walk around, stretch, or use the restroom. Use the break to tear yourself away from the screen and give your eyes a rest. This habit helps break up the day and drives productivity.

Headphones On Om

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Working at a desk could have you feeling super plugged in all the time. This is a fact of the current workplace and it is pretty unavoidable. A lot of people turn to playlists and podcasts to get into their flow state. It is important to be mindful about what you are listening to. There are a ton of apps and podcasts that offer guided meditation and motivational soundtracks. You do not need 8 hours of guided meditation everyday but it is nice to break-up the trap music with some super positive vibes and take time to breathe and be in your body.

Ditch take out

morning rituals of entrepreneurs

While healthier options at restaurants are on the rise, packing your lunch is still the way to go. This is a habit that starts at home and carries over to the office. By bringing your lunch, you can tell exactly what is in it, control the portions you eat, and save some money. Eating complete meals that include protein and healthy carbs and fat can help your energy levels remain steady throughout the day. If you need more meal prep ideas to boost your health, you can find them here.

Eat somewhere else

smart food

Whether you pack your lunch or pick something up, try to sit somewhere that is not your desk. Aside from the fact that your keyboard and desk is really germy, it is just healthier all around to have a designated eating area. If your work doesn’t have a designated eating area, maybe you can duck into an open office or conference room. When the weather is nice you can try to get outside and boost your Vitamin D. Bonus points for inviting your coworkers and having a face-to-face conversation with them instead of messaging them back and forth on G-Chat.

Stand, Sit, Walk?

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Desks are becoming more versatile these days. You don’t have to sit all day anymore! If you work from home, your desk situation may be more mobile, but office workers may not have that flexibility. Many offices are encouraging employees to get desks that adjust between sitting and standing. You may even work somewhere that allows desk treadmills to boost your health. Even if sitting is your only option, there are free online guides and resources on how to adjust your posture to alleviate neck and back pain.

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What To Do When You Lose Creativity

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Advice to regain creativity

The longer you are tasked to creating things, the more likely you will lose your creative edge. It doesn’t matter if you’re making websites, writing a new book, or making a new recipe. There might come a day when you feel too lethargic to get out of bed or dread going to work. These are some of the most basic and easy-to-shrug symptoms of losing the creative streak. The good news is that there are ways to snap out of it. You can regain your creativity and prevent yourself from “drying out” by practicing a few simple tasks.

Explore

When we were kids, it’s always fun to experience new things for the first time. As we get older, our sense of wonder gets jaded, probably because we had to grow up and face reality. But rediscovering how great the world is can help awaken our creative streak. To prevent yourself from losing it or to find it if it’s already lost, explore and experience new things again. You can set aside one day a month to try something new, be it an experience, new dish, or venturing out to a new place. Adventure can reawaken creative juices and your sense of wonder.

Laugh

One of the reasons why we lose our creativity is pressure. It can be quite stressful if you’re always looking for new ways to make your design look fresh. Sometimes it is even unavoidable that your paintings, essays or web designs all look the same way. Stress can kill creativity, so what better way to de-stress than to laugh? You can watch a comedy movie, catch a live comedy act, or just clown around with your friends. When your brain is filled with oxytocin and dopamine, which we get from laughter, you will be more relaxed and find it easier to find inspiration for creativity.

Think Like A Kid

If you’re asked to be creative, ask yourself what your six year-old would do in situations like these. Kids can be very creative and surprisingly straightforward. It might feel weird at first, but you never know, so you might as well give it a try and see if it works.

Rediscover Creative Pursuits

When was the last time you painted something, read a good book, sang, danced like nobody’s watching, or even modeled clay? All these creative outlets sometimes get lost because of busy lives. However, you can rediscover them again if you set aside time at least once a week to be creative outside your work.

Meditate

Mediation is a good way to relax both the right side (creative) and left side (logical) part of the brain. When they are both relaxed, they work harmoniously so you don’t run out of creative ideas. Some people think that they don’t have much time to mediate, but it can be surprising what 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can do for your brain. Meditation does not have to be complicated. You can start by thinking happy thought for 10 minutes each day for relaxation, and you will be surprised how easy it will become to carry on creative tasks.

When it comes to being creative, pay attention to yourself. Find out what works and what doesn’t. This can tell you when you are most inspired, which in turn can really help you to continue being creative.

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