Monday, May 16, 2022

Happiness: Wake Up Early Enough for Some “Me” Time

Getting enough sleep is important, but waking up early enough so that you have time to transition into your day can also help foster happiness. If you usually hit the ground running and leave the house with just enough time to make it to the office on time, you are likely starting your day feeling anxious. Waking up even 15 minutes earlier so that you can have some “me” time can help you ease into your day with a sense of centeredness instead of a sense of panic. Some people like to wake up very early and have an hour or more of “me” time while others just need an extra 10 or 15 minutes to linger over a cup of coffee or tea. Figure out what works for you.

Ways to Use Your “Me” Time:

• Read the newspaper or a passage from a book you are enjoying

• Pray or meditate

• Do some light stretching or yoga

• Linger over your coffee, tea, or breakfast

• Spend time stroking your pet

It’s important not to use your “me” time to get a head start on your work day by reading emails, working on projects, or checking voicemail.

Until next time ...
 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Increasing Your Happiness: Have a Nightly Routine

Most of us spend more time at work than we do engaged in any other activity other than sleeping. If we consider how much of our lives we spend in our workplace, it quickly becomes clear that spending this time being unhappy, unfulfilled, and just counting the days until the weekend is a waste of time and energy. Finding ways to be happier at work can lead to better mental health and can improve your productivity and overall work performance. One way to cultivate more happiness at work is to plan for it. Develop habits that get your workday off to the right start, and you’ll see greater happiness throughout the day, and week.

Have a Nightly Routine

Nothing gets your day off on the wrong foot like rushing around in the morning. Taking the time the night before to organize what you need for the next day can help avoid this morning rush and let you start your day centered. Create a nightly routine. Choose your clothes for the next day, set up your coffee maker, pack your lunch. Take time to place the things you will need for work the next day into your briefcase or bag. 

Get Sufficient Sleep 

Sleep deprivation is bad for your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s hard to feel productive, happy, and positive when you’re exhausted. Making sure that you get enough quality sleep per night is one step you can take to help prepare yourself to be happier and healthier. 

Steps to Quality Sleep:

• Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.

• Have a nightly routine that prepares you for bed: shower, brush your teeth, pray or meditate, etc.

• Put away the electronic devices at least 2 hours before bedtime.

• Make your bedroom a sanctuary. 

Until next time ...

 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monday, May 2, 2022

Emotional Awareness and Empathetic Accuracy

Emotional awareness is the state of being fully aware of one’s emotions at any given time. It is the skill of realizing anger when it occurs without flying into a blind rage. It is the ability to take that anger and turn it around into compassion for the other person and his/her situation.  Emotional awareness allows us to look at a situation fully and have empathy for others. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the emotions of others at a given time or event.

Why is it Important?

One of the traits of emotional intelligence is emotional awareness. Possessing this awareness allows us to stay in control during crisis and conflict, allows us to have increased social skills and the ability to build rapport with others, and to have empathy for other people.  People with these skills are more positive, less stressed and more successful in life.  Being able to control one’s emotions is a coveted trait that not all people possess.

Being empathetic of others is also a sought-after trait.  Just feeling sorry for another person is not important. Understanding the emotions and feelings of another person and appreciating their position is important in communication and relationships.

Cognitive

Cognitive refers to our thought processes. This ability is key in identifying our emotions and understanding these emotions and when they are triggered.  Consciously identifying the triggers that cause our emotions enables us to change our reactions and become more in control of ourselves.  This in turn allows us to communicate better with others.

Cognitive thought also aids in our empathy skills. Our thought processes allow identifying others’ emotions and being able to connect with them through shared emotions is the definition of empathy. One needs cognitive skills to accurately identify these emotions in others also.

Emotional

Emotional awareness involves identifying the emotions and truly understanding them. This involves the triggers and the ways to change those emotions and reactions.  This awareness is key to building rapport, empathy, motivation, and many other positive social skills that many employers value in an employee.  It also improves day-to-day life and the relationships outside of the workplace.

The only way to achieve empathy for another person is to first understand our own emotions and feelings. Only then can we truly understand the other person and their situation or issue.

Compassion

Being compassionate means having a genuine concern for others and their wellbeing.  Being empathetic to others’ feelings and emotions is part of being compassionate.  It takes self-awareness of one’s own emotions to be able to recognize and fully understand another person’s emotions.  There are many occupations that require compassion and these people have high levels of emotional awareness and empathy for others. 

Emotional awareness is needed for compassion because one needs to be able to identify and control their own emotions before relating to other’s feelings.  Once that is accomplished, compassion comes naturally due to the ability to feel the sadness or pain of another.

Until next time ...
 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication, or body language, has been studied for many years, due in part to the amount of information that it reveals and the messages it sends.  How we say it,” is more important than “what we say.”  Being able to “read” a person’s non-verbal communications will assist in being able to communicate more effectively.  Learning to send a better non-verbal communication to others will improve your social skills and build good rapport with others.

Facial Expressions

Scientists have determined that there are universal emotions that every culture recognizes:  happiness, sadness, anger, hatred/contempt, and surprise. These emotions can be a key to a person’s true feelings. We tend to feel before we think and our facial expressions could give these feelings away. 

What about all the other emotions? What about the ones that are revealed in our day-to-day communication with others? What about the expressions that are not always as readable as the universal expressions?

  • Furrowed eyebrows: concentration or concern
  • Eyebrow flash: interest or recognition
  • Nose flare: ready for action or engagement
  • Tenseness in cheeks or jaw: anger
  • Cheek blush: excitement or arousal
Body Language

Have you ever been able to know someone’s mood by the way they come into a room? That’s non-verbal communication through body language.  The person that slips into the room, making no eye contact, then slumps in the corner is not in good mood, and communication will probably not be positive without extra care taken.

There are two main categories of body language: 

Closed: Arms/legs crossed, body pointed towards exit, rounded upper body, head tilted down.
Open: Body is receptive to communication, pointed straight to action; head is upright, arms uncrossed.
It is well known that open body language is perceived as more positive, more persuasive, and more approachable.  Closed body language is perceived as more negative, less cooperative, and less able.

Giving Full Attention

Another form of non-verbal communication is the attention that is given to the communicator during the exchange of information. The body language is a clue to the respect that the audience has for the speaker and the attention that is being paid to the message. One way to ensure that the speaker knows that he/she has your attention is through eye contact. Breaking that eye contact can be read as an indication of disinterest or disagreement.

Another way to show that you are giving your full attention is to point your body towards the speaker. Avoid looking as if you are about to dash away.  Do not fidget.  Avoid tapping your foot or tapping your fingers as this gives the message that you are in a hurry to get somewhere, that you are agitated, or you are not approachable at this time.

Space

“Spatial zones” refers to the space or distance between two people. This is also considered part of nonverbal communication.  The amount of space is very telling to the content of the conversation, the relationship between the two people, and the agreement or disagreement to the topic at hand.  Often in the workplace, the higher the degree of authority, the more personal space a person is given. New acquaintances that are male often tend to need more space than newly-acquainted women.

Personal space is important to everyone but is not always the same for everyone. Often it is based on trust levels. The less trust, the further apart the two people will be, and of course, the higher degree of trust brings people closer together during their interactions.  The invasion of someone’s personal space can lead to a breakdown of communication. Moving too close too early can cause distrust and discomfort for the person with whom  you are trying to develop a relationship.

Until next time ...
 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monday, April 18, 2022

Building Rapport

The ability to build rapport with others, especially coworkers, is important and not always an easy trait to learn. Not everyone is naturally comfortable with communicating with new people or people in authority for example.  Building rapport with everyone is a work skill that is desirable in every level of an organization.  Learning and practicing the following skills will assist in building rapport with others in the workplace and in day-to-day life.

Observing

Developing the skills to “read” someone’s body language is a trait that will improve communication and strengthen our emotional intelligence in the workplace.  Observing gestures like body posture, facial impressions, and spatial positioning can give clues to the communicator’s message. Start by watching others and attempt to “read” their message by looking at their body language.

Mirroring occurs when the two people communicating take the same stances and make the same gestures, mirroring each other’s body language.  Communicators that exhibit mirroring are usually very connected and have good social skills.

Asking Questions

One of the easiest ways to show someone that you are truly interested in them and their message is to ask questions.   The question does not need to be work-related; it can be about their favorite sports team, pet, family -- anything that interests that person and puts the focus on them. 

This is also a good way to become empathetic to the other person’s position or feelings.  Better understanding the situation, the way it made the person feel, etc. will allow you to better understand the other person and their emotions and reactions.  Building rapport and showing interest builds trust and a better relationship.

Listening

Often, we think we are listening, but are we really?  The term “active listening” is defined as listening in a way that encourages the speaker to communicate their message fully.  It also conveys to the speaker that the listener is correctly receiving the message. 

  • Ways to encourage the speaker can be:
  • Nodding of the head in understanding
  • Minimal words such as yes, mmm, and I see
  • Paraphrase the speaker’s message back
  • Reflect the feelings of the speaker back verbally
  • Finding Common Ground

One of the easiest ways to build rapport with someone else is to find common ground that each of you share.  This often opens conversations and makes communication possible.  When communication begins, then it can be continued.  Sharing common struggles at work often builds trust and a positive relationship. Finding common ground could be described as a type of empathy for the other person.  Sharing emotions builds a relationship that can be managed in a positive manner.

Until next time ...

 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Conflict Resolution, Relationships, Obstacles

With emotional intelligence, skills such as effective communication, active listening, and empathy, conflicts can be de-escalated quickly and rapport built in the place of negativity.

Active listening is key to understanding what the conflict concerns.  Empathy for each side of the disagreement allows you to feel the emotions of each person and better understand their position.  Even social skills come into play when each side’s opinions and needs are mirrored for both sides to hear.  From there, a solution can be determined so that everyone feels satisfied that they have been heard.

Once we come into focus with our own emotions, we can then use it to build and maintain better, more positive relationships, both in the workplace and in everyday life.

How does emotional intelligence aid in our relationships?  First, through our communication.  Through empathy, we can bring out the best in others by mentoring and motivating.  Communicating in a more positive manner improves relationships with everyone we encounter.  Better communication equals better relationships.

When thinking of obstacles at work, we usually think about failure.  Failure almost always feels negative.  Failure can be controlled through emotional intelligence, and with these skills, we can turn a negative event into positive growth.

The first and most difficult step of the process is to recognize the failure.  Admit what emotions you are feeling, and then the learning process can begin.  Determine how the failure could have been avoided, and then make changes.  Making a change in order to avoid future failure is positive growth.

Until next time ...
 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Friday, March 25, 2022

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence starts with identifying our own emotions and how we manage these feelings.  Through identification of our emotions, we can begin to use these emotions for positive reasons and to improve our day-to-day relations with others and with ourselves. 

Reducing Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety is a term that is normally used in a negative light.  There are medications to curb anxiety and tips on alleviating anxiety, but do we really understand the purpose of stress and/or anxiety?  Anxiety can help keep us alert, such as when we are nervous before a speech.  Identifying these emotions is the first step to controlling those feelings when they arise.

Managing the symptoms of stress and anxiety can be as simple as easy, physical exercises.  For example, fast and shallow breathing is one of the symptoms that comes with these emotions.  Identifying these symptoms and counteracting it is recommended.  Hold your breath for five seconds or deliberately slow your breathing down -- in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Anxiousness also releases hormones into the bloodstream and keeps you stressed for a period of time.  Working out, jogging in place, and other physical activities can also lower these hormones and relieve the stress.

Until next time ...
 




Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP