Are you emotionally agile? In a similar way to being physically dynamic and bendy, emotional agility is the ability to be flexible with our thoughts and feelings, allowing us to cope positively with any external situation, and respond in the best way possible. It’s like a superpower we can use to navigate everyday life, and is an essential quality for successful leaders in the workplace.
Is emotional agility different from emotional intelligence?
As humans, we are emotional beings – at home, at work, socially. Emotional intelligence acknowledges this, in ourselves and others, and is all about being aware and in control of our emotions. In doing so, we can communicate more effectively, adapt well to change, be less impulsive, empathize with others, and work well within a team. It’s like the building blocks to emotional agility: a more mindful, open and productive approach to your ideas and feelings. Emotionally agile people have evolved to react appropriately in even the most difficult situations – while emotional intelligence may be a little more limited in flexibility.
A tool for less stress
In a crisis, such as the Covid pandemic, emotional agility becomes a particularly useful tool for wellbeing. It makes us better equipped to handle challenging and uncomfortable emotions. And it’s not about being positive all the time or the pursuit of happiness, but rather about accepting our entire range of emotions, and learning from the difficult ones. According to many studies, being emotionally agile leads to less stress, more innovative ideas and fewer mistakes.
Act on your values, not emotions
The goal is to take a step back from a situation, and respond in a way that aligns with our values – not our current emotion, which, as we know, will pass. By managing and interacting with our inner experiences, thoughts and feelings we can more easily reach our desired outcome. Of course, it’s hard with strong emotions, such as anger, which can overwhelm us and seemingly take control of our words and actions, so that we end up hurting others and ourselves. But we can practice and learn the skills to overcome this for a more fulfilling life.
5 steps towards emotional agility
01 Notice your thoughts and feelings, paying attention to any patterns
02 Give these thoughts and emotions a name
03 Accept them with compassion
04 Take a moment to define your values
05 Act in a way that aligns with your values
Further explore the topic of stress with our audio and video content pieces. They offer holistic solutions and expert advice, and will empower you to take an active and preventative role in your health.