Use this time to improve emotional agility, with compassion and courage

Renowned Psychologist and Harvard University Professor in a TED Conversation about emotional agility, compassion and courage. Emotional agility is leaning into emotions of fear, anxiety, and loneliness.

Written by Josephine Palermo Doctor of Culture and Co-Creator Higher Spaces.

TED conversation with Susan David

Renowned Psychologist and Harvard University Professor in a TED Conversation about emotional agility, compassion and courage.

Emotional agility is leaning into emotions of fear, anxiety, and loneliness. You can do this by being compassionate and curious about what that emotion tells you about who you are, what you value, and what you need.

It’s normal to be scared

When we experience fear, and we don’t know, our brain tries to fill in the gap.

We do that by a catastrophising, or we search for information online etc. This doesn’t resolve our fear but in fact adds to our anxiety. We would be better stopping, and going inward and being curious about the feeling we are experiencing.

Own your emotions

In between stimulus and response, there is a space.

Fill that space with curiosity. In that way you can own your emotions rather than emotions owning you.

Notice feelings, don’t label them as you

Our feelings are important because they help our body and our mind lean into opportunities for growth. Often the mistake we make is that we believe our feelings are who we are and that we have no choice in how we feel. In fact, we have a lot of choices about how our emotions impact us, especially if we practice thinking about our emotions differently. One of the first things you can do is label your emotions differently. Don’t label the emotion as you, using prefixes like “I am….”. Instead, notice your feelings and be curious about them.

For example,
“I am sad” can be replaced with….
“I’m noticing that I am feeling sad. What is that telling me about what I care about, and what’s the small change I can make to bring that into my life?”

Take small pockets of control

And lastly, we can take control of how we structure our day to help us maintain focus and purpose. Susan talks about pockets of control that can help us do that.

Connecting with others and structuring our day away from the distractions that add to our fear response, for example, can help us enormously.

One of the ideas that we will be adopting in our virtual coworking community will be Motivation Boosters. We will be testing practices to help boost our productivity and focus together in frequent 15 min check-ins through the week. One example is establishing Work Sprints. This involves committing to someone what you will achieve in the next 45 mins and having them do the same. The next step is then checking in with that person along the way and finally at the end of the Sprint.

This is a great way to help us to focus and get going and to fight procrastination and lack of purpose. Join us at Higher Spaces if you’d like to be involved.


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