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How To Handle Your Emotions— And Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

28 Aug 2015

How To Handle Your Emotions— And Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

All emotions are valid

How To Handle Your Emotions— And Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

We can get so caught up in trying to be ‘positive’ that we might ignore the gifts from our ‘negative’ feelings and miss an opportunity to develop our Emotional Intelligence.

In reality there are no positive or negative emotions

All your feelings are valid and will give you deeper information about your life, your thinking patterns and your likes and dislikes — so long as you pay attention. Feelings we often label as negative, such as anger, frustration or panic are merely ways of guiding us back to our thinking. This gives us an opportunity to notice our thinking and change it if we’re creating upset.

Feelings arise for a reason

Feelings and emotions are not meant to be pushed down or aside. To do that is a bit like forcing  a rubber ball under water. It’s going to spring back up again – maybe in a different place and with great impetus! The more you force emotions down the more likely this is to occur.

Ask yourself, ‘What am I feeling?’

This is a good question to ask yourself at any time of the day, if you want to get more in touch with your emotions. Notice what answer springs into your mind. It’s important to acknowledge the emotion. Be prepared to sit with it for a few minutes without judging it, if at all possible. Try to connect the feeling with what you were thinking or what was happening when the feeling arose. We think 50,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day and some of our thoughts are so fleeting and automatic that we might miss them completely if it wasn’t for the resulting emotions reminding us.

If you can’t be with the emotion because of the circumstances, take some time out later and think back to what was happening at the time. Sit quietly and recall the incident or whatever was occurring. Imagine stepping into your body at that time and pay attention to what you were seeing, what you were hearing, what you were doing. Notice the feeling come back and then explore it from there.

All your feelings and emotions have positive intentions

Feelings and emotions arise in response to your thoughts, your behaviours and what’s occurring in your life. Thus they can guide you back to what’s really important — if you let them. Instead of treating emotions as the enemy, treat them as your friends. The idea is not to wallow in your feelings but to acknowledge them. Treat them like you would a best mate who is really looking out for you. Check what the positive intention is behind the feeling. When you get an answer, decide what you need to do. Then do it — or take appropriate steps to do it — as soon as is practical.

Listen to your body

If you get a knot in your stomach on the way to work, it might be your body telling you you’re stressed or unhappy working there. I’ve seen a number of people over the years label their  feelings as ’negative’ – and push them away. Just like that ball I mentioned earlier they pushed their emotions down and ignored the symptoms their bodies had been using to connect with them. They ignored feelings such as discomfort, feeling stressed, churning stomach etc, for so long that, the ball popped up in the  form of ’hyperventilation syndrome’; more commonly known as ‘panic attack’. Once the ‘panic attack’ occurred they finally were forced to pay attention. When they listened to their bodies, they realised that they were behaving in a manner that was way, way out of alignment with who they were and what was important to them.

Identifying your emotions is important

By doing so you develop your emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). EQ includes the ability to recognise and regulate emotions in yourself and others. By paying attention to your own emotions you can begin to understand and manage them. By recognising emotions in others, you develop empathy. Empathy is a critical skill for establishing and expanding personal and professional relationships. And because good relationships are at the heart of successful families, teams and businesses, being aware of your emotions will lead you to even more success.