Thanksgiving: the holiday where we count our blessings and give thanks for what we have in our lives. In many ways, Thanksgiving is about the life lessons of determination, resiliency, empathy, and forgiveness in both love and in labor.

If you’re an active job seeker, practicing Emotional Intelligence will positively affect how you relate to others, make decisions, and maintain your composure, even when under stress. This holiday, why not practice these Emotionally Intelligent Acts of Thanksgiving?

  1. Empathy. Steven Covey said, “Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.” As you sit at the dinner table and listen to your cousin Sally complain about her job, take a moment to put yourself in her shoes. “Tell me more”, or “I hear you”, or even a soft “Wow” lets her know that you’re listening. Sometimes, all you have to say is, “I didn’t realize how difficult it is for you. I’m glad you told me.” Practicing empathy establishes and promotes personal connections and likeability, and by using it, we embrace our common humanity.
  2. Impulse Control.  Do you get distracted by your phone, people nearby, or any passing thought?  If so, this could be interfering with your ability to solve problems, which can keep you from functioning at your best level. The ability to resist distractions and short-term temptations, focusing instead on the conversation at hand is a great secret to effective emotional intelligence. In addition, people who regularly exercise self-control demonstrate greater physical and mental health, fewer substance-abuse problems, and better financial security.
  3. Interpersonal Relationships.  Many of us are so focused on ourselves that we don’t take the time to notice (or help) others. If you find yourself eating turkey with a new group of people, take the opportunity to demonstrate your curiosity. You’re exhibiting emotional intelligence when you pay attention to what others are saying and making them feel at ease. This ultimately helps others feel appreciated, encouraging solid relationships built on confidence and trust.
  4. Stress Tolerance.  How you deal with mistakes and obstacles says a lot about you. When an emotionally intelligent person experiences a setback, he or she is able to bounce back fairly quickly. If you’re unemployed, it may be a difficult decision to go home this Thanksgiving having to face family and friends. If you have active Emotional Intelligence, however, you’re resilient. You know if there’s one thing you must do in life, it’s to keep going.

Finally, there’s the concept of Gratitude. We are most balanced and focused when we accept and appreciate who we are and what we have. Research shows that those who practice gratitude enjoy a host of emotional, physical, and interpersonal benefits. There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting more, but if we can’t be truly grateful for the good we possess, it’s not likely that we’ll ever be happy.

This Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try Dr. Martin Seligman’s Gratitude Visit:

  • Think of a person who changed your life for the better, but whom you’ve never properly thanked.
  • Write a gratitude letter to this person, sharing why you’re grateful to him or her. The letter should be very concrete and specific – what did this person do and how did it affect your life.
  • Read the letter in-person, if possible.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

About the Author:  Edythe Richards is a Career Counselor, Myers-Briggs® Master Practitioner, and Emotional Intelligence (EQi 2.0/EQi 360) Administrator in the Washington, DC Metro area.