Crafting an Emotionally Sustainable Lifestyle

October 4, 2016

craft-playLife is precious and is best lived when we pay attention to creating an emotionally sustainable lifestyle. We are passionately committed to providing our services in order to support individuals and teams in living emotionally sustainable lifestyles. This is also known as living resiliently. Marcia’s book Life’s 2% Solution provides a well tested strategy for living with Passionate Equilibrium – being thoroughly engaged and doing so with a sense of balance. Additionally the EQi and EQ 360 for individuals and the TESI® (Team Emotional and Social Intelligence Survey) are developed to promote emotional sustainability.

The Collaborative Growth team model highlights the path for developing the seven skills measured by the TESI in the outer ring. Emotional and social well-being for teams is the result of following this path to sustainability for teams.

Emotional sustainability, also referred to as well being, can be measured with assessments such as the EQi ® and the EQ 360 ®. Dr. BarOn, the original creator of the EQi has pinpointed self actualization as the apex of all the EQ skills.
So just which EQ skills should you focus on to develop this life nurturing state? BarOn names eight, which he listed in the order of their importance:
• Happiness
• Optimism
• Self-Regard
• Independence
• Problem Solving
• Social Responsibility
• Assertiveness
• Emotional Self-Awareness

Bar-On, 2001, p. 92. “EI and Self-Actualization.” In Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life, edited by J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas, and J. Mayer. New York: Psychology Press.

Frequently revisiting these eight critical factors will help you engage your EQ in a manner designed to support an emotionally sustainable lifestyle. At the team level the critical sustainability is developed by using the seven skills in the outer ring of the Collaborative Growth Team Model. These are powerful skills that can be developed at the individual and team level. The resulting quality of life will assure you and those you influence that it is worth the effort!


Multitasking Brings High Costs

July 28, 2016

multitaskpicRemember the days when you could drive your car without even thinking about talking on the cell phone or feeling like you “should” text at a stoplight even though it is illegal? Those were simpler times. In today’s world many think multitasking is an unavoidable process, but how has attempting to perform all of these tasks simultaneously affected performance? What’s the impact to our stress levels? The American Psychological Association published an article examining this very topic. They found that ultimately it takes longer and costs brain power to switch from topic to topic rather than focusing on one thing at a time. In addition to becoming less effective, multitasking greatly adds to stress – is it worth it?

If you are as busy as we are these days your to-do list can become overwhelming. To tackle the multitude of deeds that need to get done it seems reasonable to combine tasks. Why not peruse that new article while on a conference call? There also is a point of pride as we’re too likely to think “My brain can handle multiple tasks at once. I’m smart!” or “I’m efficient!” In the end we need to ask ourselves an important question: “Is it more important that I just get this done or that I get this done to the best of my ability?” Given that what we produce becomes a reflection of ourselves this question is easy to answer – or at least it should be.

A study conducted by Stanford University researchers shows that when we multitask, such as talking on the phone and sending and texting as we open up email, we’re compromising everything we do. Adam Gorlick writes that “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

As Dr. Mary Case told attendees at the Emergenetics Brain Summit, “Higher switching = lower productivity!” Switching takes longer and our focus is compromised. The Stanford study found that the multitaskers couldn’t complete simple tests like remembering a sequence of alphabetical letters well. They could not keep the information sorted out because they kept seeing all the details.

The Stanford study tested two groups (heavy media multitaskers and those who don’t regularly do media multitasking) who were given three tests and the heavy multitaskers lost in every case. Heavy multitaskers have trouble filtering out irrelevant information, which can also be thought of as organizing their memories. They have trouble focusing on the project at hand as they’re thinking about what else is going on.

The conclusion we suggest you draw is slow down, enjoy the moment, and deliberately manage your stress. As you breathe take on one task, be it a call, an email or having a good thoughtful discussion with your colleague or family. You will have better relationships, stronger emotional intelligence and greater productivity overall. It’s time to start breaking the habit of trying to do too much at once and claim your life while supporting your brain and well-being.

What Stress Tolerance Gives the Teams of Today

September 12, 2014


Stress is defined as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change.” by Hans Stele, one of the first researchers to investigate the subject. Well into the second decade of 21st century, the demand for change seems to be both constant and increasing. Indeed, we tell teams these days that stress is often a euphemism for pain. Today’s teams are increasingly willing to speak about their stress and, fortunately, there are many powerful ways to manage stress.

We can help teams respond resiliently to the often irrational demands to “do more with less” by utilizing the early warning system that their emotional self-awareness provides through reading the emotional signals of the situation accurately and responding to them effectively. Team members need to know how to respond to the complexity of observing and learning how each of their fellow team members automatically responds to stress. It is this automatic response that can be so problematic for teams and individuals because it is hardwired in the brain. It automatically cranks into gear when it encounters stimuli in the world that is threatening — the sound of your boss’s voice when she gets “that tone,” the look that means the boss isn’t happy because her expectations have not been met and you are responsible.

One of the most enduring ways to build stress tolerance is by building strong relationships among team members. That takes time, effort, flexibility, trust and every so often a dose of forgiveness. As you learn how to respond to each other when under stress, you will become more aware of your own behavior patterns. With that key data in hand, you can start rewiring those patterns.

The Seven Ingredients of Stress Tolerance for Teams

  1. Environmental Awareness. Awareness of one’s physical and social environments is essential. To some extent one’s ability to accurately read what is expected within the social environment actually determines how much stress is experienced. Being conscious of and regulating the emotional pressures in the social environment and the physical tensions in one’s body gives team members the ability to manage stress. This can be done through attentive listening to determine what you, and those around you are feeling, and why. These listening skills are often called emotional self-awareness and empathy respectively. To read them accurately team members need to silence the cognitive chatter in their mind and re-sensitize their awareness to the subtle messages they are constantly receiving. Focusing one’s attention on his/her breath is one of the easiest techniques for doing this.
  1. Assertiveness. When team members have accurately sensed what is going on and why, the next step in stress management is to tell the team. For instance, if your boss gave a plum project to a colleague, you might say, “I feel disrespected because you promised that work to me, and then you gave it to someone else.” This kind of a self-disclosure is “taking your emotional pulse in public,” and the more comfortable team members feel in doing this in appropriate circumstances, the better your team will function. Stating one’s own reality provides immediate, accurate information to the team that they can synthesize and respond to right away. It’s efficient. It’s accurate. It takes the guess work out of the equation. One doesn’t have to hope that the team will figure it out, and the team doesn’t have to hope they can read your mind. It’s your responsibility to tell people what you need and want.

Of course, self-disclosure is risky business. No wonder it’s so important to spend time building relationships and deepening trust. The other critical factor is functional, adult communication. The stronger your team’s communication skills, the easier it is to be assertive. Coaches and consultants can do wonders in facilitating a shorter learning curve for these skills. Their expertise and objectivity can move a team to a higher level of performance faster than any other strategy.

  1. Self-Regard. Self-regard calls for team members to accept themselves, warts and all. The only way people can change their behaviors and work more successfully together as a team is if they feel confident that they are valued by the team. They have to be able to trust that even if they make a mistake, they won’t be punished. When a team member makes a mistake, accountability is appropriate. A mistake is an opportunity to teach and to learn. Both are invaluable. If embarrassment and social rejection are used, instead of teaching and learning, self-regard, creativity and risk-taking all plummet. On high-functioning teams, all members respect and care for the self- regard of each team member. That’s what gives the team a sense of identity and makes the members feel like they want to belong. You know your teammates are looking out for you, and although they may offer constructive feedback about your performance within the team, you know that they would never criticize you publicly.
  1. Wellness. Because stress endangers one’s physical health, high-performance teams value wellness and check in regularly with strategies for supporting each other’s physical and mental well-being. This has to be done very elegantly so it does not come across as judgmental. You can be a supportive teammate by your behavior. For instance, if a team member is trying to tackle a weight problem, don’t bring junk food to a meeting. .
  1. Humor. When the going gets tough, the tough can laugh at themselves. Laughter actually stimulates the production of endorphins, strengthens the immune function, and reduces the levels of highly corrosive stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and epinephrine. In addition to the neurochemical benefits of laughter, humor helps us refocus our perspective. Having that kind of flexibility not only helps teams manage stress, it helps them be highly innovative in solving the problems that are their work and purpose. Teams will function more effectively when their members heed the popular adage, “Those who laugh… lasts!”
  1. Flexibility. To be able to bend without breaking in the daily winds of change at work is a critical ingredient of stress tolerance for teams. Strength in a team is well reflected in the old parable about being able to break a bundle of 10 sticks one of the time but finding it impossible to break all of them at once. By knowing each other’s strengths, complementing them and working together, the team achieves its power. However, endurance and flexibility are even more valuable than this kind of strength. Endurance in the workplace can actually best be enhanced by more periods of rest. Many people at work have been running so hard and so long that they are literally exhausted. Chronic exhaustion diminishes the power of the team, because team members lose resilience, creativity and especially stress tolerance!

Flexibility comes from stretching muscles just a little bit further each day. It does make the muscles stronger but more importantly, it gives the ability to bend and reach to the full extent of one’s capacity. This is what it takes to be able to adapt to change. This is what it takes to be able to envision new strategies and novel solutions to the problems in the workplace. This is what it takes to be able to adjust to a global marketplace which is fueled by an ongoing explosion of knowledge and unparalleled technological advantage. In such an environment it is essential to be able to bend and not break.

  1. Humility. This is probably one of the most powerful ingredients of stress tolerance, but it is also one of the most advanced. Jim Collins pointed out in Good to Great (2001) that humility shows up in great leaders as the ability to attribute successes to the people around them while personally taking responsibility for the failures themselves. The ability to add this ingredient to the recipe for stress tolerance means that a team member has worked diligently to develop a larger, more comprehensive vision of life. That person has learned how to weave together the experiences, relationships and priorities in his/her life to produce whatever is most meaningful and valuable to that individual. Humble team members realize that it is impossible to meet goals without the help of others and that sometimes circumstances will thwart even the best of efforts, but perseverance will produce the best results possible, and that will be enough.

We sincerely encourage you practitioners of team wellness to always include (if not start with) some practice in the TESI competency of Stress Tolerance when you are helping your teams relieve the pain of doing more with less in a culture that never considers how much is enough!

Building Team Resilience Through Positive Mood

February 24, 2014

PIE-color-pos-mood Positive attitudes on your team will build resilience and influence every dimension of teamwork. Positivity will impact how well people get along with one another, how pleased they are to be on the team, their motivation and their creative thinking. That is why this is one of the seven team competencies the TESI® (Team Emotional and Social Intelligence Survey®) measures. Research Dr. Barbara Fredrickson describes in her books Positivity and Love 2.0 provides the scientific grounding to prove the power of positive engagement. Because most work is accomplished through teams, we are finding a tremendous thirst to better understand what this means for teams and how to assist teams in growing their positive mood.

Developing teams is a complex challenge that never stops requiring positive and proactive attention. One of the challenges to team effectiveness is the tendency for people to think and act individually and objectively, that is to focus exclusively on the task rather than each other. Busy team members can become so externally focused on projects and customers that they don’t focus on themselves or on the team. This lack of internal team focus can feel safer for several reasons: 1) addressing interpersonal relationships can seem much less controllable or scientific and less predictable and thus too uncertain; 2) team members may not be trained to be good at team or human dynamics, they enjoy being an expert but they aren’t expert in this situation; 3) their external focus in getting all the jobs done may leave them drained with little energy left for the team, and this is often compounded by highly demanding organizational politics; and 4) the team leader may be a technical expert in his/her production world but likely is not trained to be a team leader and to manage complex interpersonal situations and to build motivation while maintaining accountability; and 5) the full organization may not be aware of the challenges their teams are experiencing nor understand how they could support the team in effective change. This is why your team needs to make conscious, intentional efforts to build its positivity and resilience if you want to maximize productivity.

Art Aron, a human relations scientist, conducted research that shows how people move from a sense of separation – me and you – to a sense of being together – us or we. His research was done with couples, but the same principles apply to teams, which are a group of people working together to solve problems. The more overlap the individual team members see between each other, the more likely they will have a sense of “us” and that leads to a series of positive results. The more positive we are with each other, the more overlap we see between ourselves and others and that leads to feeling more openness and connection with others. In turn, this increased connection leads to helpful responses among team members that build trust – team members learn they can rely on considerate and supportive responses from one another. Most people will say they agree with the maxim that “All of us are smarter than one of us.” Understanding the dynamics of positive mood helps show us how to act in order to achieve its powerful effects.

Fredrickson writes that positivity broadens one’s view from “me” to “us” and then to “all of us” not just the part of the group that looks or thinks like you. Thus building positive attitudes within your team will expand the effectiveness of your diversity efforts. We often talk about emotions being highly contagious and that’s so for positivity, as well as for negativity. This makes it important for team leaders as well as all team members to be intentionally positive. Fredrickson explains that “positivity spreads because people unconsciously mimic emotional gestures and facial expressions of those around you … positivity breeds helpful, compassionate acts.” Furthermore, she points out that when we act positively with others we are likely proud of our engagement and “pride broadens your mindset by igniting your visions about other and larger ways in which you might be helpful.” (Positivity, pp. 69-70) We are certain that’s what you want for your teams.

Furthermore, positivity is central to the ability to collaborate which is based on the ability to work jointly with one another, to listen to different perspectives and to find common answers. Collaborative Growth’s team model demonstrates how we bring team emotional and social intelligence competencies together to create collaborative intelligence. Frankly one of the easiest team strengths to build is positive mood so practice this and you will also build your team’s resilience.

Building Resilience and Positive Mood

resilience_meterppt100Resilience and positive mood are tightly connected. Resilience includes the ability to bounce back and relies on teams having a reserve to tap into when big challenges hit. That reserve is built by how we treat each other and what we expect of one another. The more positive members of a team are, the deeper the reserve and the less often they are likely to need to tap into it. Positivity builds perspective so teams take challenges in stride rather than making a big deal of them and increasing their stress instead of their resilience.


Tips and Strategies

resilience_meterppt_rev2Use your emotional intelligence to grow your teams’ positivity and resilience. Key team competencies focused on in the TESI are Positive Mood and Stress Tolerance. Of course while you’re building this team competency you will find that some team members are more positive than others so you will need to work with the whole team while respecting the individual differences as the team builds composite resilient strength. Tips you might use are:

  • Build the habit of finding people doing something well and publicly thank them.
  • Start team meetings with a discussion of something that’s worked well recently. Then the team can move to strategic analysis and of how to cross map that skill to other requirements.
  • Social connections are at the heart of team success so take time for building connections – and emphasize it even more if you have a virtual team. Do something fun together, have a pot luck lunch, and start meetings with going around the team and asking everyone to comment on something particularly interesting or important to them.
  • Find purposefulness in the team work so the team feels the sense of being a part of something bigger than itself. A traditional way to do this is with Mission, Vision and Values statements. Make sure those statements are meaningful and that the team feels ownership and takes pride in them or they won’t help.
  • Support team members in taking time to be relaxed with each other so caring relationships are built resulting in the natural desire to shield each other’s back when needed.
  • Respond to comments made by one another. People want to be heard more than they want to be right. Applying skills such as active listening and empathetic responses will help people feel acknowledged and valued and that builds positivity and engagement.
  • Intentionally tap into the team wisdom. Your team knows what they need, however you may need to facilitate their recognizing and employing that wisdom. Take creative brainstorming time to explore topics such as: “What works that we can expand?” and “What do we want that we can influence?”

Recognize that positivity and trust go hand in hand because positivity supports deepening relationships. Develop positivity deliberately and expansively for the benefit of all individuals, teams and the organization.

Manage Your Resilience Meter: Your Guide to Positivity, Productivity and Well-Being

February 1, 2014

resilience_meterppt_rev2Managing resilience in today’s fast paced world of high expectations is tough.  Change and challenge are often the norm whether it comes from a new program being unveiled, a complete reshuffle due to a merger or parents moving into a care facility.  Too often the challenges become just too much and frequently trigger inflexibility, feelings of overwhelm and loss of composure.

You can build your capabilities so challenging times don’t take you out.  Watch your resilience meter grow to full potential! Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills are fundamental to managing these stress points and maintaining health and well-being.  Six EI skills are pivotal to building your reservoir of emotional reserves: emotional self-awareness, self-regard, impulse control, stress tolerance, optimism, and flexibility.  A healthy use of these skills will build your positivity and create the leverage to promote success at the workplace and personally.

Resilience is of growing interest as researchers demonstrate its influence on physical and mental health, well-being, the aging process and overall quality of life.  Additionally there is growing recognition of the benefits to teams and workplace productivity with a resilient workforce.  There is also a connection with the willingness to take on risks and to explore creative options. If we feel more positive about ourselves and life, we have the energy to experiment.

You have many strategies available to help expand your resilience.  This article will provide tips and strategies as well as review some of the key recognitions about resilience and its connection with positivity.  The root for the word “resilience” is “resile,” which means “to bounce or spring back.” Thus a key part of the definition of resilience is to bounce back.  The definition has expanded to include the ability to contain challenges and to develop reserves that can be tapped into when one is faced with environmental pressures and demands.  When we speak of resilience, we are referring to the ability to keep things in perspective so that many potential challenges are simply taken in stride.  When a large challenge surfaces, there is likely to be stress, but the reserve strength built with resilience allows us to contain the issue rather than going down a negative and downward spiral that starts feeding itself.

Assets and resources within us, our lives and our environment facilitate the capacity for adapting and bouncing back when there is adversity.  Our resilience is likely to ebb and flow not only across our lifetime but even across the day or week if there is a lot going on.  Yet, the more habits we have developed to build and maintain our positivity, the less we will give in to negative emotions and the more we will intentionally seek positive emotions that will enhance our capacities.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, Crown Publishing, (2009) and Love 2.0, Hudson St. Press, (2013), has provided a great deal to help us understand the field of positivity, which is closely related to resilience.  Should you be working as a coach or team facilitator it’s likely you’ll use the two concepts interchangeably.  As a lead scientist in the field of positivity, Fredrickson demonstrates through her research and that of colleagues that living with a high level of positivity has measurably positive results.

Benefits of Positivity / Resilience

•    Psychological benefits include being more optimistic, more open minded and more willing to check out possibilities.  First, being positive feels good!  Being open minded is critical to noticing and considering multiple options to a challenge.  It means that money, resources, or possibilities aren’t left on the table because our vision is too narrow to see them.  Negativity constricts our thinking and our vision.  It’s costly!
•    Mental benefits include expanding awareness and mindfulness.  It opens our thinking capacity to new possibilities. With positivity we can be better at savoring what works instead of being focused on what doesn’t.  Right away you can see the difference in your stress levels and the toll taken when you are focusing on the positive compared to the negative.

•    Social benefits pay out at the individual, team and workplace levels.  With positivity we have more resilience. Emotions are contagious, thus sharing positive emotions and actions creates an upward spiral of expanding relationships, which then creates reserves for getting through hard times and conflict together.  Resilience is indispensable if collaboration is truly going to occur. There is also interesting research showing that when we approach people with an emphasis on positive engagement racial bias is reduced or disappears.  Positivity, p. 67-68. That has amazing potential!
•    Physical benefits include a higher quality of life and a longer one.  As Barbara Fredrickson writes “positivity is now linked to solid and objective biological markers of health.  For instance, people’s positivity predicts lower levels of stress-related hormones and higher levels of growth related and bond related hormones. Positivity also sends out more dopamine and opioids, enhances immune system functioning and diminishes inflammatory responses to stress.  With positivity you are literally steeped in a different biochemical stew.”  Positivity, pp. 93-94. Thus positivity results in lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds and better sleep.  Rest assured for this and the many other health benefits she cites, she backs her assertions up with research citations.  There is even research showing the power of hugs, wonderful, feel-good, authentically caring touch.  Now we knew that, didn’t we!
Three studies reported in a 2006 article on resilience and positivity later in life found that daily positive emotions serve to moderate stress reactivity and mediate stress recovery. They found that differences in psychological resilience accounted for meaningful variation in daily emotional responses to stress. Higher resilience predicted that negative emotions wouldn’t be as impactful, particularly on days characterized by heightened stress. Additionally they found that the experience of positive emotions functions to assist high-resilient individuals in their ability to recover effectively from daily stress. “Psychological resilience, positive emotions, and successful adaptation to stress in later life.” By Ong, Anthony D.; Bergeman, C. S.; Bisconti, Toni L.; Wallace, Kimberly A. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 91(4), Oct 2006, 730-749.

Tips and Strategies
Use your emotional intelligence to grow your positivity and be more resilient.  This is an internal strength so the key skills to grow, which are found in the EQi 2.0 are: self-regard, emotional self-awareness, stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control and optimism.  The key team competencies focused on in the TESI are Positive Mood and Stress Tolerance.

You can expand your individual resilience by:
•    Redefining productivity from working on emails to getting with someone
•    Prioritize meditation, fun and family
•    Recognize that you are a part of something bigger than yourself
•    Embrace your bigger YES!
•    Develop your 2% Solution as I describe in my book, Life’s 2% Solution.

Team resilience can be expanded by:
•    Recognize that positivity and trust go hand in hand because positivity supports deepening relationships.  Develop positivity deliberately.
•    Social connections are at the heart of team success so take time for building connections – and emphasize it even more if you have a virtual team.  Do something fun together, have a pot luck lunch, and start meetings with going around the team and asking everyone to comment on something particularly interesting or important to them.
•    Our sense of connection drives our willingness to be helpful.  This is the heart of collaboration.  Create connections, have team members work in small groups and then take time to reflect on the experience.  Build awareness of the interpersonal connections as well as of the objective details of the project.

How’s Your Resilience Meter?

November 3, 2013

resilience_meterGive yourself one of the best gifts available – expand your resilience.  Sustainable behavior change is a lifestyle change, not a whim. That’s very much the truth for expanding your resilience.  Scientist and leading scholar in the field of positive psychology, Barbara Fredrickson reports that in their entire research program in resilience they found that the key active ingredient supporting those with higher resilience is positivity, which includes openness and a better ability to keep things in perspective and see the bigger picture.

A frequent challenge raised by our coaching clients relates to managing their resilience.  They may talk about putting up with one challenge after another as a new program is being unveiled until they finally lose their composure.  Or the challenge may be significant personal issues that are taking so much of their energy and drawing upon their flexibility dramatically that when one more thing happens – at work, at home or anywhere they become unusually inflexible, emotional or just walk away leaving things unresolved.

Stephan (not his real name) is a good example.  Most of the time, things are fine; he can manage work and personal demands.  He has a good education, a reliable job with mid-management responsibilities, and a loving family.  Just like happens to most of us, each of these good parts have challenges.  His parents are in their 80’s and require a lot of attention.  Recently his dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his mom has arthritis to the point she can’t take care of him.  His teenage children need a great deal of time from both he and his wife.  It’s hard, yet he keeps telling himself that in a few years it’ll be easier.  For now Stephan is committed to giving his all to helping his parents, his kids, serving at his church and then there’s his job.  His position has a lot of stress with it and most weeks require 45 to 50 hours of work plus his commute.  Usually he juggles everything well enough.  Then his boss informed him that the big report he and his team have worked on for two months is needed in two days instead of the two weeks they were supposed to have to complete it well.  Stephan hit the roof.  He yelled at his boss, refused to meet the deadline.  Told his staff to just quit and take the rest of the day off.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.  That was a few weeks ago.  Stephan is working with the aftermath of his outburst, as well as what brought him to it, in coaching.  Our focus includes understanding his challenges and building ways to stay in touch with his resilience meter to help guide his behavior.

Strategies for Expanding Resilience

You, just like Stephan, can choose from several strategies to expand and maintain your resilience.  Six of the sixteen EQi skills particularly support resilience strength.  Act now to support your health and well-being by following a resilience enhancing strategy such as:

  • Meditation.
  • Recognizing that you are a part of something purposeful that’s bigger than you.
  • Expanding your happiness through gratitude or embracing and valuing your connections with others.
  • Building your optimism by expecting what works to keep on happening and get even larger.
  • Embracing your Bigger Yes – by living priorities that call for time with loved ones, time to exercise, time for you – all which expand your stress tolerance capacity.
  • Perceiving yourself with healthy self-regard by being able to view your strengths. challenges, and neutral zones and feel good about who you are.
  • Exercising your emotional self-awareness by noticing your emotions, recognizing how you feel and why and continuing to call forth positive emotions.

Resilience is the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, or adversity; it’s a form of buoyancy. Fortunately, your resilience can be expanded – it’s a personal skill that may have some components of genetic predisposition but can be influenced and grown as one of your most reliable assets.  However, it does require continuous upkeep.  Growing the skill requires awareness and practice.  Your journey is one of developing new habits that may not only change your social and psychological take on life but may well improve your health as well.

Six Emotional Intelligence Skills

There is a strong connection between the strength of your resilience and 6 of the 16 skills measured by the EQi 2.0:  stress tolerance, emotional self-awareness, self-regard, optimism, happiness and flexibility.

These EI skills are ones that are more self-oriented rather than other-oriented because resilience is an internal state. You’ve probably heard that you need to take care of yourself before you have the strength and resilience to take care of others well.  The metaphor most call to mind readily is when oxygen is needed on an airplane you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you start helping others.  You know why – you’ll black out quickly and be a problem rather than a help if you don’t start with your mask.  Life is that way as well.  Though it may be easier for some to focus on the tasks, including attending to everyone else’s needs, you will be better in all ways if you start with you first – and then remember to keep prioritizing your needs!

Barbara Fredrickson

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0 and Positivity, which I highly recommend, provides copious research on the beneficial effect of resilience and the field of positivity. I’m blessed to be taking an online training with her. She talks about changing people’s daily diets of positivity with the goal being to change what we notice and to influence the practice of our habitual positive and negative emotions. One effective strategy she emphasizes is loving kindness meditation.  What’s different about Barbara’s work is that it primarily occurs in the laboratory – her laboratory and her joint work with many other leading scientists. The blessing of her research is she is documenting what so many coaches, trainers and others have believed to be true.

Research results by Barbara and her colleagues are documenting that there are improvements on cognitive, social, psychological and physical resources for people using certain positivity practices.  Whether you practice meditation or other resilience enhancing strategies, I encourage you to choose a practice or two from the list I provided above or another resource you have and take good care of yourself.