Emotional Intelligence – managing your emotions. Rather than trying to avoid negative emotions, which gives them power, or becoming numb, which robs you of joy and pleasure, you can learn how to manage negative states, while learning to generate more positive emotions more of the time.
Yes, it can be learned! Here are some of the tools you can use to achieve this:
What you attribute negative events to is the key to optimism. A pessimist attributes rejections, losses, or setbacks in a way that’s personal, permanent, and pervasive. Every rejection is because of some fault of theirs, which applies to all areas of their life, and also will be permanent. An optimist, on the other hand, attributes negative events to things that aren’t personal, permanent, and pervasive. But the key to optimism is avoiding the downward spiral. When something goes wrong, attribute it properly 9 with the 3 Ps), and then distract yourself; don’t dwell. When something good happens, attribute it to the 3Ps and celebrate. Soon it will become a habit. And did you know optimists live 19% longer? (I imagine they enjoy it more, too.)
2. Develop your Emotional Intelligence.
This means being able to handle your emotions and those of others. When you think about it, the question is always, “Who’s the problem?” not “What’s the problem?” Studying with a certified EQ coach will help you master the important life skills of Emotional Intelligence. Either you manage your emotions, or they toss you all over the place.
3. Detach “enough.”
You don’t have to become a lama, but you can learn to let go more. Detach yourself from expectations. They can cause us more turmoil than anything else. If you expect less, or expect nothing at all, you can only be happily surprised. Don’t expect others to meet your needs, no matter how close to you they are, or what you consider the mutual obligations to be. Don’t expect the next promotion to make you happy – if you weren’t happy before, you won’t be then. Don’t expect it!
4. Be intentional.
Instead of dealing with fears and fantasies, decide what you intend to have happen. You can go to your speaking engagement worrying, or you can say to yourself, “I intend to give the best presentation I can.”
5. Worrying is a waste of time and energy.
Ask anyone over the age of 50! The things we worry about rarely happen. The things that throw us we could never have anticipated. We aren’t any good at worrying, and who would want to be? If it’s something you can do something about, take action. If not, let it go.
6. Know yourself. I mean your strengths.
Too often we focus on our weaknesses. Take the StrengthsFinder® profile, find out your top 5 strengths, and learn to go to them whenever you hit a wall. It works like a charm!
7. Become resilient.
Resilience, an EQ competency, means being able to bounce back from adversity while maintaining enthusiasm and hope. You build resilience by properly processing the adverse events in your life (work with an EQ coach). The good news is there will always be opportunity. (That is also the bad news.)
Every evening write down three things you have to be thankful for. You can get into the habit of walking in the door at night full of all the things that went wrong, or, you can talk about what went right. It’s as simple as this: One way you’ll feel good; the other way you’ll feel bad. The choice is yours. We all have the same things going on and live in the same world.
9. Let someone else run the world
Get a clear understanding of what’s under your control and what isn’t, and basically, all that’s under your control is how you react to things. Bad things happen to good people, including yourself. The more you engage in judging, criticizing, and blaming, the worse you’re going to feel.
10. You don’t have to like everything to be happy
Emotions are there to guide us, and we will have both negative ones and positive ones. Like the laws of physics, if you refuse to deal with one emotion (such as grief) you shut down all emotions. Be willing to experience the negative ones when they come. Fighting them only gives them strength. The goal is to get the message the emotion is sending you, respond not react (that means thinking it through before you do something, if anything; not all emotions need be acted upon or even commented upon), and keep on keeping on.
11. Don’t take your emotional temperature every moment of the day
One misconception people get about Emotional Intelligence is that it’s all about emotions and that you have to be feeling good all the time. Rather, EI is the interface between your emotions and the rest of your life. We are feeling our best when we’re in a state of flow – neither thinking nor feeling; when we’re “lost” in a task we love. Taking your emotional temperature constantly will accomplish the opposite of what you want to have happen. Just check in every now and then.
12. Keep learning new and challenging things.
Boredom is the enemy. Learning things that challenge you is the key. Make it a lifelong habit to work your brain out. We can form new connections throughout our lifetime, given the right stimulation, and “bigger” brains cope better with diseases (such as Alzheimer’s), injury, or simply aging. If you’re an engineer, learn how to prune roses. If you’re a therapist, learn some physics. Get out of your field, and out of your “element.” Put yourself around different people. Lifetime learning, BTW, is one of the keys to resilience.
by Susan Dunn