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Bring Your Emotional Awareness To Work

Posted Nov 11 2008 6:17am

Workplaces are filled with people urging you to "Stay rationale" and, by all means, "Don't get emotional."

That's just not sound advice. They  have a significant effect on us, but to what end?

Call to Action

Emotions prompt you to act. Without them you wouldn't do much, including survive.

When you start to feel an emotion your muscles tense or relax; blood vessels dilate or contract. What you feel emotionally produces a related physical response. As a result, emotions can make us feel uncomfortable or comfortable, sending signals to urgently do something or to stay in our comfort zones.

What Happens on The Inside?

In trying to understand a situation or make a decision, emotions help you deduce whether what you have concluded is a good idea. When you think about something that contradicts your values, your emotions will signal the contradiction. When thinking about something that could hurt you, your emotions will tell you that this is not a good idea. In fact: simply imagining what might happen sparks your emotions in ways that can lead to better decisions.

How You Signal Your Social World

Emotions Body language is very, very real, although the accuracy of interpretation by others is less than scientific. The fact is, you and I display our inner emotions on our outer bodies. Your face alone contains about 90 muscles, 30 of whose sole purpose is sending emotional signals to other people.

Unless you are playing poker these signals can be unbelievably useful because they help others decide how to behave towards us. If someone appears angry, then hassling them or trying to get an agreement at that moment is probably not a good idea. If they look fearful you could offer help or support, leading to an enhanced relationship.

So What?

Everyone wants to be influential in some way. Cutting off or ignoring emotions at work actually reduces the chance of making effective decisions (ignoring the inner-twinge could be costly) and connecting with your boss and colleagues. They've  each got 30 facial muscles designed to provide you with reading material--heck, that's easier than War and Peace.

Don't worry about always reading the emotion perfectly. What others want to know is that you recognize something is going on, you aren't making judgments, and you are there as another human being if something is needed.

Finally: stay in tune with your own emotions. They're designed to tell you something is happening on the inside and you need to pay attention.

These are the original text messages of the heart and soul. At minimum, keep your inner-iPhone on vibrate.

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