This is a guest post by Luke Doyle.
Working hard takes its toll – and if the tired evenings and low moments didn’t exist, the taste of success wouldn’t be so sweet. But there’s a difference between experiencing a dip in your morale and out-and-out bullying yourself – and that difference will have a big long-term impact on your happiness and productivity.
If you find yourself regularly battling a negative inner voice just to get through the day, you need to work on your emotional agility.
Emotional agility is the mental dexterity to process negative thoughts that arise in your daily routine. It means being able to categorize those that are helpful survival impulses from those that – whether they’re based in truth or otherwise – can only bring you down.
If you feel a crushing sense of failure every time something small goes wrong, or you have a habit of taking responsibility for everybody else’s bad mood, or you default to worst-case-and-beyond scenarios when work is tough – then you need to have a good long chat with yourself!
It’s not as difficult as all that to tone up your emotional agility.
In fact, once you’ve learned a few basic principles they will start to become second nature. So that you deal with negative thoughts almost automatically as you work, leaving excess energy to direct towards getting things done.
The first step is to acknowledge your negative thoughts rather than leave them nagging away at the back of your mind.
Give that thought or feeling a name, and confront it: is it true? Then what can you do about it? Is it helpful? If not, then forget about it! Is it important? Perhaps you need to share it.
If those worries persist, you can take evasive action instead.
Get out of your mind by focusing on your body, going for a walk or taking some deep breaths at the window. A short mindfulness exercise can help you to regain some perspective; handwriting a note about a recent success is a great way to buoy your morale.
Sometimes your negative thoughts will be rooted in actual failures or mistakes.
That’s fine, and again you should flag and listen to them; but don’t let them hold you back. Instead, use these thoughts to learn from your experiences, and value your failures as part of the adventure on your route to success.
Again, it can be helpful to write down what went wrong and what you’ve learned. Processing your thoughts objectively like this can help to exorcise them from that part of your mind that just seems to harbor bad feelings without making use of them.
This new visual guide to emotional agility is packed with ideas on how you can banish those negative thoughts or use them to build productivity. Get these down, and you’ll find your emotional arsenal is equipped to blast through the bad days at work and move forward to even greater successes.