7 Tips for Building Your Emotional Wealth Part 1Posted in : HR Updates on 1 October 2014
Paul Fieldhouse writes:
In this months article I wanted to share with you an article Dr Martyn Newman wrote on improving your emotional wealth, Martyn is currently a Visiting Fellow in leadership and emotional Intelligence with The Business School of Sheffield Hallam University. He works with faculty to develop their core leadership curriculum and corporate offer – from undergraduate to MBA programmes.
Martyn also developed the ECR360 that we use to deliver personal development programmes to local businesses and organisations.
So here are seven key strategies for helping us all sustain greater health, wealth and wisdom at work.
1. Relationships – Get Connected, Improve your emotional wealth
One of the strongest predictors of health and wellbeing turns out to be the quality of our social connections.
Studies at Columbia University demonstrated that people who were socially isolated were at much greater risk of stroke than those with meaningful social relationships. According to the researchers, “there is now compelling evidence that the health risk of social isolation is comparable to the risks of smoking, high blood pressure and obesity, even after controlling for other variables known to affect health.”
Three tips to building high quality relationships: first, treat the people you work with as your equals and look for the common ground you share as human beings; second, look for ways you can help others achieve wins at work; third, make sure you give others the opportunity to make decisions and contribute to the relationship in some way. This in turn will make you more attractive to others and lead to greater opportunities, personal productivity and increased happiness.
2. Compassion – Try a Little Kindness, Improve your emotional wealth
One of the most effective ways to build high-quality connections is to practice empathy with others.
One of the first studies to show that kindness leads to happiness was conducted by Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues at the University of California, Riverside. They recruited groups of people and asked them to perform five acts of kindness per week over the course of six weeks. It turned out that being generous and considerate made people happy.
Empathy involves: first, communicate that you understand the tasks that people are trying to perform; second, listen well to others and be curious about their experience; third, ask strategic questions about their plans, hopes and dreams and see if you can recognise the emotions that direct the behaviour of people.
If you get it right, you will greatly enhance your capacity to make emotional connections with others and attract other people to you.
3. Go with the ‘Flow’, Improve your emotional wealth
If you’ve ever been totally absorbed in what you’re doing, then you will have experienced losing track of time or forgetting temporarily about your worries.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced ‘Me-hi Chicksent-me-hiee’) is a psychologist who interviewed thousands of people of all ages and asked them to describe their highest moments of satisfaction — an idea he describes as flow. Being absorbed in the flow experience is about total engagement and a loss of self-consciousness.
This means that at work you should aim to: ensure that the challenge of your job matches your skills and provides you with the opportunity to stretch your abilities; establish clear goals of what you’re trying to achieve; focus your attention regularly on expressing your creativity; establish a sense of control and take charge of developing your talent; create your future by developing an attitude of positive self-expectancy; learn something valuable from each experience; minimise your need to be admired by others and, instead, cultivate a genuine self-awareness that is open to receiving feedback.
4. Cultivate Optimism – Look on the Bright Side, Improve your emotional wealth
Choosing to sense opportunities even in the face of adversity rather than just focusing on what’s wrong; treating yourself kindly, or simply trusting that you can eventually achieve your goals are all optimism strategies. And, according to Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California, if you’re optimistic then you’ll be more confident about achieving your goals, will persevere longer and will invest effort in reaching those goals.
An optimistic approach promotes positive mood, a sense of mastery and high self-confidence that in many ways inoculates us against depression and anxiety.
Four strategies for becoming more optimistic include: first, when faced with a challenging situation, look for the benefit. Step back from the perceived crisis and recast it not as a catastrophe and a threat but as a challenge and an opportunity. Second, seek the valuable lesson in every problem or difficulty. Remind yourself that by recasting mistakes as lessons, you move from the paralysis of being preoccupied with the past, to a proactive focus on how to integrate the learning into constructive future action. Third, let go of the negative emotion that events cause and, instead, focus on the next task to be accomplished. Finally, pay more attention to those aspects of your life for which you feel thankful and appreciative — the fact that you may have your health, reasonable financial security, or your family, or even a job that provides you with the opportunity to exercise your talent and signature strengths.
The evidence is impressive. The research described here has established clear links between happiness and our health, wealth and wellbeing. By happiness I mean an emotional, physical and spiritual prosperity – something I call Emotional Capital.
In my work with professional people over the last fifteen years I have found that high levels of emotional capital lead to increased productivity, and as many studies show, happy people are more creative, solve problems better and more quickly, live longer and enjoy high levels of leadership influence.
In other words, when people feel better they perform better. This is not about looking at life through rose-coloured glasses or ignoring the disappointments in life. It is about investing in your greatest asset – your emotional capital. Your happiness is good for business.
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