As a leader, we often feel we are bulletproof. But one of the quickest ways to have problems with your emotional health is to take it for granted. To improve your emotional intelligence is an important aspect for every leader, but personally, it helps us improve our own emotional health.
These days, many of us don’t pay as much attention to our emotional health as we should, whether it is because we undervalue it, focus on other things, or figure that if it was bad enough to worry about we would notice it.
The problem with this is that emotional health problems don’t always come on all of a sudden. While a sudden trauma might upset your mental health in a hurry, problems are more often caused by gradual changes.
When change happens gradually, we are more likely to assume that things have always been that way, who can lead to potential problems going unaddressed. That’s why it’s important to practice emotional awareness all the time, not just when we already think that something is already wrong.
- Ask Yourself How You Are Feeling
Being aware of our own emotions can be very similar to being aware of other people’s emotions. In addition to making us more able to avoid stress by making us more aware of emotional repercussions to various circumstances, we can check our own emotional wellness in much the same way that we the check emotional wellness of others: by asking.
When other people ask you how you are doing, it can be most efficient and polite to just say “okay” or “fine” but if you literally ask yourself you may reply with something a little more informative. You don’t have to carry on a whole conversation with yourself, but if you ask yourself “How are you doing?” and you respond with “Well, I’ve been better,” it might be something to spend more time thinking about.
- Be More Comfortable Talking About Your Own Feelings
Etiquette may have gotten in the way of our emotional awareness in another way: it keeps us from talking about ourselves, which may keep us from thinking about ourselves.
Consider stating how you feel with statements like “I’m glad to hear that,” or “that makes me frustrated.” This kind of talking about your own feelings helps you focus and think more about how you feel and how you react to things, but it also will help other people to understand how you are feeling.
It’s important to keep focused on the topic, however, as it can be carried away. When your “I’s” get too close together it can become rude, but it may also distort your outlook and lead you to think about yourself too much.
- Practice Mindfulness
Another great way to stay aware of your emotional wellness is through mindfulness. This practice encourages you to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, as well as how they make you feel physically, particularly through tense muscles and changed breathing. Many of these practices also include exercises that teach you to control your breathing and relax your muscles to decrease your level of stress and increase your emotional health.
Fortunately, mindfulness is increasing in popularity these days, so the internet is full of quality resources and mobile apps full of information and tools.
If you are concerned about trusting these resources, or just want to be sure that you are finding the best available resources, talk to us about your interest in learning more about mindfulness. While not all doctors are likely to be experts in the field, most will be able to give you helpful advice in furthering your own research.
Many people are reluctant to get into meditation because it often has religious connotations. While the oldest forms of meditation are explicitly religious, more modern forms of meditation focus exclusively on the secular benefits of meditation.
Related to but slightly different from mindfulness, mediation involves taking a part of the day, as little as a few minutes, to clear your mind.
Clearing your mind can bring its own benefits, although it is very difficult. Recognizing what thoughts or feelings make it difficult to clear your mind can help you to recognize which things in your life are giving you the most trouble.
As was the case with mindfulness, there are a lot of great resources online regarding meditation, but the best place to start may be a friendly conversation with your primary care provider.
Many people who write fiction find that they include aspects of their own lives in their stories and characters. Writing can help you to express your feelings in a safe and healthy way, but re-reading your own work can also help you to see your own experiences from a new perspective. This can help you to understand your feelings and can allow you to identify creative solutions to your problems.
Writing a journal is a great way of habit to get into and one that allows great self-reflection and assessment. In the Coach Curl Academy, our Building a Discipline Mind provides some excellent processes to build when creating your journal habit along with downloadable planners and journals.
Being aware of your own emotional health will help you be a better leader, by improving your mental capacity and delivering better emotional intelligence. Take these steps and put them in your better leader kitbag and keep working towards your own potential.