Emotional intelligence gives us the tools for emotional self-management and empathetic leadership. It prevents our emotions from controlling our behaviors in ways that are detrimental to our success. Another tool that also helps us manage ourselves is wellness. Wellness is not only a continuing trend in the world at large, but also in the world of EI. To the unfamiliar, these two subjects may seem unrelated and the links between them can seem unintuitive, but they actually have a lot more to do with each other than you think. As part of my continuing series on wellness trends, let’s explore the relationship between wellness and EI and see how these two fields actually work together in tandem.
Emotional Intelligence and Wellness Trends
As I’ve covered extensively on this blog, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. What this does for us is it gives us the tools to make meaningful connections with other people based on shared emotional experiences and outlooks. It also lets us better manage our own difficult emotions and bask in our delightful ones. Being on top of our emotions is a huge step towards being our best selves because when our emotions hijack us, we have no idea what direction they will send us in.
Wellness, on the other hand, is defined by Global Wellness Institute as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. Wellness is not a passive idea, but an active routine of maintenance on our personal well being. The holistic part of wellness refers to the fact that it extends beyond physical health into mental and spiritual health and fulfillment. It’s a loaded subject and can often feel like a meaningless buzzword because its definition is so expansive, but this shouldn’t diminish its importance. Wellness trends offer a state of balance that, when thrown out of whack, can affect us in very detrimental and meaningful ways.
So how could these two seemingly unrelated things be linked? In many cases, the practices of developing and utilizing EI also increase and shift focus to wellness. When we begin to better recognize our internal and emotional states, we become better at knowing which self-care and wellness routines we need to prioritize in order to feel like our best selves. By recognizing our emotions and the emotions of others, we invariably become better at recognizing what others need to be their best selves as well. Let’s look at some specific examples of how emotional intelligence can lead to a better understanding of wellness trends and how healthy wellness practices can improve our emotional intelligence as well.
Wellness increases EI
This INC article by Suzanne Lucas shows us some of the many ways in which wellness practices actually improve our emotional intelligence as well. Some of the examples she points to include things like:
You’re a better leader when you’re not tired. Sleep practices affect so much of our daily lives. As the saying goes, “you’re not yourself when you’re tired.” If we are in a management role at work, but we’re more often falling asleep at our desk or struggling to remain awake during the day than actually managing people, the odds are we will be a pretty uninspiring leader and our motivational impact will be minimal. People respond better to alert, attentive, and well-rested individuals and this is a direct example of how our wellness practices affect our abilities to connect to people and fully utilize our emotional intelligence.
It’s difficult to be happy with others if you’re not happy with yourself. This is a bit of a heavy subject, but it’s worth bringing up and I’m glad Suzanne did. Being empathetic seems like something we should all be able to do inherently, but the reality is that this is not the case. People lack empathy for all kinds of reasons, some of which are beyond their control, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, the lack of empathy is a direct result of their own worldview. Maybe they were mistreated when they were young and they believe deep down that this unhappiness is just how everyone feels. At the end of the day, if we lack inner happiness and positive self-image, it will come through in our interactions with others and it will make it difficult to be appreciative and complimentary and form strong bonds.
Role modeling applies to all aspects of life. Role modeling is no secret to success with EI, but it’s also part of wellness. If you fail to develop and maintain your own wellness plan, people will notice. But the inverse is also true. If people see how much of your success is owed to your wellness plans and routines, they will unintentionally or intentionally be influenced by you. Whenever people ask you for tips about wellness routines, always frame it in terms of how it fits in with your lifestyle. When applicable, one of the best ways to offer help to someone is to brainstorm with them what might work for them and fit in with their unique lifestyle.
Keys to a Fast-Paced World
The world grows in complexity every day, but we’re all expected to be able to keep up with it. Long before the pandemic, people were struggling to maintain their work/life balance and the pandemic worsened that issue for some and improved it for others, as people’s homes and workplaces merged overnight. Wellness is the connective tissue and the meat of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Wellness trends are all about what we can do both at work and at home to make sure both sides of our lives are supporting each other instead of one adversely affecting the other. If we have a difficult day at work, practicing wellness is our ability to be off work and get our mind away from it. If we have a difficult off-work day, wellness is our ability to refocus and bounce back quickly when returning to work.
EI helps us stay on track and dedicated to our wellness plans. I’m in the middle of selling a home and moving to a new home. When challenges to our wellness occur, such as the demands of a move, what keeps us prioritizing our well being over everything else? It’s actually our emotional intelligence. Self-regulation in particular is key to managing stress. Sometimes wellness practices can be inconvenient and not yield results instantaneously and EI is key to sticking with it and knowing that you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run. What people need for their wellness practices are different for every person, but the inclusion of more attention to mental health and wellness within corporations is a sign that many workplaces are becoming more emotionally-intelligent.
Wellness trends and EI are two things you’re going to keep hearing a lot about in the future. Both of these trends are integral to success and are becoming open subjects both at work and at home. When you can make both of these concepts work in tandem, this creates a positive feedback loop as these things are co-dependent. What are all of your experiences with wellness and EI? Let me know in the comments below.