Offices can be stressful – that’s why developing your emotional intelligenceis so important for staying healthy and happy at work. And though working on your EQ skills is a lifelong practice, there are a few easy things you can do to instantly boost your EQ.
Enjoy your lunch
Lunch at work is rarely a glamorous affair. Many of us tend to grab a quick snack and eat it hunched over our keyboards, and if we do manage to escape the office we end up doing a hundred other things on our phones while we eat. Lunch should be a time to relax, and do nothing – except eating. Give yourself at least 20 minutes, away from you phone and away from your desk. Go to a nice cafe, or better yet, grab a sandwich and go sit outside. The most important thing to remember is to eat slowly and focus on your food. Avoid all other distractions. Just 20 minutes away from it all can recharge your batteries and make you ready for the long afternoon. You’ll be happier, treat your colleagues better, and you’ll be much calmer, ready to handle whatever comes your way.
Don’t bring your phone to meetings
Do you often check you emails during meetings? If you do, you may be unwittingly damaging your career. According to a study by USC’s Marshall School of Business, three out of four people find texting or emailing unacceptable behavior for a meeting. That makes sense – when you are on your phone, you aren’t paying attention to what is being said. You’re disrespecting the speaker and coming across as arrogant and aloof. Now, you might try to be stealthy and steal a discreet look at your phone under the table, but then it could look like you’re playing with yourself (obviously not a good thing either!). If your boss or colleagues catch you looking at your phone just one time, they will remember you for that! So instead, use a little self-control and leave your phone at your desk. There it won’t be able to distract you, so you’ll pay more attention and listen to what is being discussed.
Drink less coffee
Cutting down on your caffeine intake is probably the hardest on this list, but if you succeed it could change the way you work. The truth is, the majority of the population are addicted to caffeine, and studies have shown that the reason we need coffee to wake up in the morning is because we are suffering from caffeine withdrawal. By drinking a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning, we are coming out of our withdrawal and returning to our normal baseline levels of performance. But this is only temporary and we soon return to our horrible cold turkey state and need more coffee! We become irritable and anxious, and lose our ability to regulate our emotions. This is why we can sometimes get annoyed with people when we are caffeine deprived, and have a hard time concentrating on the task at hand. Regulating the amount of coffee we consume, or even cutting it out completely, will lead to better concentration at work, and keep you calm and rational throughout the day.
Get more sleep
Almost everyone loves to sleep, but we sometimes make it a lower priority. We go to bed late, then have to wake up early the next day for work, and we end up getting less than we need. This makes us groggy and unproductive, and we’re likely to snap at people for no apparent reason. And of course, we usually try to remedy this by drinking too much coffee which, as we’ve seen above, doesn’t help us at all. Sleep deprivation lowers your emotional intelligence across the board, so by making sure you get all the sleep you need each night you can undo this process. Try cutting down on your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoons. Disconnect from your computer in the evening — the bright blue glow from your screen could be messing with your sleep rhythms. If you have to use your computer at night, try an app like Flux, which softens the color of the light coming from your screen in the evening. Dedicating more time to getting adequate sleep means you’ll have less time awake, but the time you are awake will be much more enjoyable and productive.