One component of emotional intelligence is growing the ability to observe yourself and to understand what drives your behaviors. I noticed something interesting about myself this week that I can use to my benefit.

At work, I mostly work in a cubicle. It’s meaningful work that I really enjoy. I work with good and smart people for a company that pays well and gives good benefits. My job title is Senior Scientist. Mostly this means that I’m good at answering questions, looking stuff up,  and writing reports about a very narrow range of environmental concerns. For most hours of my working day, I sit in a cube at my computer writing or reading.

Lately, I’ve been venturing outside the cube. Last week, I spent a couple of half-days walking down environmental sample points and this week, I’ve been spending time in one of our labs. I’m generally optimistic but notice that, sitting in my cube, a kind of creeping crabbiness is easy to glom onto.  People around me complain or I get irritated with some assignment and it’s just easy to go along with the pervasive bad mood. Getting outside helps with this. I feel an energized interest and engagement and am just plain happier when part of my week includes getting outside.

I’ve written about this from another vantage and it’s no surprise to me. Wayne Dyer, back when he was a practicing therapist, said that when people came to him complaining of depression he always tried to get them outside for a bike ride or to shoot some basketball. “It’s hard to stay depressed when you’re active,” he would say.

So I will take some of my own medicine and tromp through the woods when I can. It’s good for me and probably good for the folks who work with me, too.


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