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Emotional Agility: Navigating Life’s Challenges With Ease

Have you ever struggled to manage your emotions during difficult times? We have all been there. A stressful meeting at work, bad day with your loved ones. What if we told you that there is a way to handle life's challenges with calm and ease? It is called Emotional Agility.

What is Emotional Agility?

Susan David, PhD, is a well-known psychologist and expert in the fields of emotional intelligence and leadership. She is the head of Evidence Based Psychology and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Susan is famous for her work on Emotional Agility, a concept she first introduced and has since expanded into a thorough approach for controlling emotions and living a satisfying life. She describes Emotional Agility as follows:

''Emotional Agility is the ability to navigate one's thoughts and emotions in a flexible and skillful way, allowing for greater resilience and well-being''

According to David, emotional agility involves embracing both positive and negative emotions as a source of information and guidance to align with one's values and goals. Her work on emotional agility has been widely published in academic journals and popular media, and it reflects her extensive research and writing on the subject.

Why is Emotional Agility Important?

Why is it important? You might ask. Well, let’s think about it. Our emotions have a huge effect on our lives. They shape our thoughts, emotions, influence our behaviour and inevitably determine our happiness and well-being. So being able to control them other than letting them control you can have far-reaching benefits. Studies have shown that individuals who practise emotional agility experience less stress, anxiety, and depression, and have higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction. It also enhances work performance and leadership skills (Davé et al., 2020).

Imagine being able to handle challenging emotions effortlessly instead of feeling like they are controlling you. This is what emotional agility can provide - the ability to take charge of your emotions instead of being dominated by them.

How to Develop Emotional Agility?

Psychologist Susan David has identified several ways to develop emotional agility:

  1. Acknowledge and accept all emotions, including negative ones, rather than denying or suppressing them.

  2. Develop a "psychological distance" by observing thoughts and emotions as if they are happening to someone else, reducing their control over you.

  3. Change negative or unproductive thoughts by questioning their accuracy and finding alternative perspectives.

  4. Align actions with core values, regardless of emotions.

  5. Engage in mindfulness practices regularly, such as meditation or being mindful in the present moment, to boost self-awareness and emotional regulation.

By practising these steps, emotional agility can be improved leading to increased well-being and resilience. It is a valuable tool that can help us navigate life's challenges with grace and ease. By recognizing and embracing our emotions, reframing our thoughts, practising mindfulness, and acting in accordance with our values, we can cultivate a more fulfilling and joyful life (Sparks & Scherer, 2018).

In conclusion, we suggest that the next time you face a challenging situation, stop, think, and apply emotional agility. You'll be surprised by the improvement in your feelings!

Addresses where you can reach us:


David, S. (2016). Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life. Penguin.

Sparks, A., & Scherer, K. R. (2018). Emotional Agility: A New Framework for Understanding and Managing Our Emotions. Harvard Business Review Press.

Davé, S., Cavanagh, M. J., & Sharpe, L. (2020). Emotional Agility at Work: A Systematic Review and Future Research Agenda. Journal of Business Psychology, 35(2), 189-208.

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