How to grow emo­tional agility

Phys­i­cally, you’re flex­i­ble – but how about emo­tion­ally? Use these tips to de­velop those mus­cles.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Work -

Agility can help you mas­ter box jumps and yoga po­si­tions. And ac­cord­ing to Dr Su­san David, that same kind of flex­i­ble ap­proach can help you re­spond to con­flicts and dis­ap­point­ments at work and be­yond. “Most of us al­low our thoughts to in­form our ac­tions,” she says. “Emo­tional agility is about paus­ing between our thoughts and ac­tions, thus al­low­ing us to make smarter choices.” So, in­stead of think­ing, ‘Wow, that’s a dream job list­ing. No point in ap­ply­ing – it’s out of my league’ rather think, ‘Chal­leng­ing my­self is im­por­tant, so I’ll give it a shot!’

Here’s how to hone your men­tal game.

1Feel your feel­ings Stud­ies show that fight­ing emo­tions only makes them stronger. The key is to ac­knowl­edge neg­a­tive thoughts without al­low­ing them to de­fine you. “Make room for them and then move on.” A tough day at work doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast in that good-for-you spin class later on. “Give your­self the flex­i­bil­ity to act on your val­ues, rather than what your mood is telling you to do,” she says. “It’s sur­pris­ingly free­ing.”

2Think of the big pic­ture Imag­ine that you’re in a meet­ing and a col­league takes credit for your idea. Your re­ac­tion may be to shut down and stop con­tribut­ing. “But ask your­self why you’re in the meet­ing in the first place,” says Dr David. “Fo­cus on big­ger-pic­ture goals and val­ues, so you’re able to take mea­sured de­ci­sions.” Let the an­noy­ance pass and then jump back in.

3Be your own friend Fac­ing a dilemma? Ask your­self what ad­vice you’d of­fer a friend in the same sit­u­a­tion. “It’s in­cred­i­ble what so­lu­tions you can gen­er­ate when you un­hook your­self from your per­spec­tive,” Dr David says. Al­ter­na­tively, ask friends for their sug­ges­tions. Their ad­vice may be kinder than your own in­ter­nal mono­logue.

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