How well do you handle change? You’ve probably gotten a glimpse of the answer in the past few weeks, as COVID 19 and the governmental response to it have forced the U.S. workforce into unprecedented transitions, whether it is losing jobs, closing businesses, or simply working from home.
The way we handle change says a lot about our emotional intelligence (EQ). In general, resilience is a hallmark of EQ, and measuring our adaptability can show us how successful we can be when life throws us a curve ball.
Here are 5 things that emotionally intelligent people do when faced with something unexpected.
- Stop Complaining. Complaining never really helps a situation. Implicit in a complaint is blame that someone didn’t do something correctly. It is also indicative of an inability to handle the current reality. Complaining provides a convenient excuse to justify not doing better, trying harder, or being more successful. Life happens. Complaining just keeps you mired in the problem. Emotionally intelligent people approach each new situation with a clear-eyed gaze that focuses on steps toward solutions.
- Practice Self-Care. When we get thrown for a loop, it’s easy to fall into self-destructive habits. In twelve-step programs, recovering addicts understand that they are more likely to abuse a substance if they are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. When our lifestyle takes a hit, as it has recently, it’s important to find healthy ways to support ourselves. Now is the time to take great care of our bodies, whether it is regular exercise or luxurious bubble baths. It’s important to practice self-care by finding supportive ways to relax, unwind, and take time to rest our busy minds. Self-care can also mean taking up a hobby or new creative interest. Emotional intelligence means understanding what makes us happy and what stresses us out, and then choosing happiness.
- Have Fun. This is similar to #2, but not exactly the same. Having fun means, well, just what it says. Fun is that state where we are carefree and almost giddy. It is doing something that makes time stand still and puts us in a state of bliss. It can be a sporting activity or a creative project. It can be alone or with other people. It is always something that lifts our spirits, gives us a break from problems, and allows us to feel lighter and more joyful. When faced with a change, take a break from figuring out what to do about it and go enjoy yourself!
- Trust the Universe. There are two kinds of people—those who believe we live in a supportive universe, and those who don’t. Emotionally intelligent people trust that things are working out for them. They don’t waste time with worry or fear. They believe that their ideas will find a resolution and have an inspired outcome. If a major change comes about, high EQ people see it as an opportunity to achieve even more success and experience greater satisfaction. They have a bedrock belief that that universe is always conspiring to support them.
- Stay Flexible. There’s a fine line between an effective system and a rut. Changes beyond our control frequently shake up those systems and call for us to be more creative and flexible. It’s understandable to miss the way we always used to do things and bemoan the fact that our routine has changed. We just don’t want to get stuck there. That’s when we know we’re in a rut—when we can’t break out of the past to see the opportunities in front of us. Emotionally intelligent people are flexible. They take the best of what worked in the past and get creative with new ways of thinking to create new systems for the current situation.
In short, emotionally intelligent people see change as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Watch your reactions to change and try to implement these five strategies so that you are more ready for whatever comes to you.