Learn about how to identify, assess, and feel emotions.
- Being emotionally intelligent, starts with exploring and honoring your emotions. Your first goal is to correctly identify your emotions. Most of us are pretty good at identifying the major categories of feelings which are happiness, anger, fear, sadness, and disgust. Start by going through the day and identifying which of these major feelings you're experiencing at any given time. Note how the feeling shows up in your body and the thoughts that are affiliated with it. Pay attention to patterns, like always feeling happy when you see your pet, or anxiety when you pay your bills.
Within each of these categories are much more subtle feelings or even combinations of feelings. Your next goal is to identify the nuances between them. For example, what's the difference between feeling embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, or shame? Dr. Brené Brown has done some amazing research on this topic and she says that guilt is captured by the phrase, "I did something bad," whereas shame is, "I am bad." Use the hand out in the exercise files to explore the wide range of human emotions that are part of your biology.
Second, you want to feel your feelings. It's one thing to identify that you're sad, and it's another to let yourself feel the sadness. This means having the time and space to honor the sadness, perhaps even letting yourself cry. This is a bit tricky because we lead busy lives, and while we may know we have feelings, we push them aside because the time and place may not be conducive. But raising your EQ means that you take time to feel your emotions. Some people find that mindfulness like meditation is a great way to do this.
Others say that time in nature is the key to their process. Personally, I like to journal. I sit down and write about what I'm feeling, letting expression flow, then I ask myself, "and what else?" To make sure that I express everything that I'm holding onto. Feeling your feelings is not just about negative feelings either, it's important to feel your happiness and joy too. In fact, it's actually the most important thing but it's something adults, and especially busy leaders, often deny themselves.
This causes us to build up stress, anxiety, and resentment. Challenge yourself to put some joy and play into your life, at least once a week. Finally, you need to appropriately express your feelings. This means a couple of things. First, that you correctly identify the source of your feeling. For example, if you're frustrated after sitting in traffic that you don't channel that at your co-worker or family member when they do something annoying. Second, pick the right time and place to communicate your feelings to others.
If you're angry at a colleague, process your feelings with a trusted friend or confidant, rather than blasting them in the moment. You may still need to talk to your co-worker, but only after you can come at it constructively. There are no bad emotions, all feelings deserve to be honored and felt. It's just about picking the right time and place for healthy expression. Unhealthy ways include stuffing or ignoring your emotions, taking them out on another person, overeating, using substances like drugs or alcohol, or using media to numb yourself out.
Healthy options include journaling, speaking to another person, exercising, mindfulness, and even screaming into a pillow. I'm not kidding, it's my favorite way for blowing off steam and it allows me to get my higher order brain back online, so I don't do something I regret. Use the exercise files to explore your emotions and create an action plan for new, healthier habits.
- Analyze the brain science behind emotional intelligence.
- Identify and assess your emotions.
- Determine how to exercise emotional self-control.
- Identify your triggers and how to respond the them.
- Assess how others respond at work.
- Determine how to maximize team performance using emotional intelligence.
- Discover how to catalyze change.