Have you ever felt like your emotions are in the way of true happiness? The daily hassles, frustrations, and disappointments crowd out the possibility of joy?
Perhaps anger thwarts meaningful connections with your teen or spouse. Hmm.
Or maybe you're passionate about growing your own business but your fear and insecurity derail productivity and essential actions? Hmm.
Or you're stressed out and struggling with anxiety? Maybe too emotional? Hmm.
Whatever problems you may have, I am convinced that they all lead back to missing skills in the processing and handling of your emotions effectively. Emotional well-being begins with modulation of your emotions and through self-compassion.
Making Emotional Intelligence a Priority
Although emotional intelligence has been proven to be critical in life, success, relationships, work, and families, we still really don't make it a priority! Why? Perhaps we're too busy getting to the next best thing. Maybe we'd rather binge on Netflix or are ensnared by the daily news. Or is it just easier to distract ourselves from the dissatisfactions and conflicts in life. Some people prefer checking things off their to-do lists; after all, getting things accomplished helps us feel productive.
Today's culture is a colorful diversion that can blur our priorities and dull our longings but there's nobody to blame. However, fulfillment, healthy relationships, and inner peace require us to be aware and awake, to live and consciously choose the road less traveled.
The very act of taking the time to learn new emotional fitness skills is a quality of having some emotional intelligence! What a conundrum.
The ability to effectively modulate our energy and emotions allows us to carve time for what truly matters. Making minute-by-minute choices to be our best self is an art and a science. Sensible decisions are guided by both logic and emotion even though we've been led to believe that it's logic alone that makes sound decisions.
Whether you're making a big life-changing decision such as a new career move
or a small decision as simple as turning down an extra glass of wine or piece of chocolate cake, we need to tune into ourselves to find our way. And tuning in to ourselves and our inner landscape asks us to consider the emotional INTEL we are experiencing and feeling, which we're either utilizing or we're not.
The quality of our lives depends on how well we manage emotional energy and monitor our perceptions. Being stuck or unhappy often boils down to unprocessed emotions. Whether it's a distraught parent or a frustrated leader in a big company, people's problems stem from their mindsets and emotions. When it comes to feelings, we stuff, ignore, shame, suppress, erupt or shut down through depression. Emotional intelligence skills can all be learned, so this ability gives us an excellent opportunity to transform our lives.
Related reading: "How to Find Inner Peace by Resolving Conflicting Feelings"
How do you up-level emotions and practice being more mindful and conscious?
How do you increase self-awareness and manage your time and energy?
Have you ever noticed how your energy gets zapped when you avoid a problem or resist the need to resolve a conflict?
Pretty exhausting, isn't it? Emotions are energy in motion and they are meant to move through us fluidly. Whenever we stop an emotion, we freeze energy and
Another very important reason to FEEL is that when a feeling is ignored or blocked, we also deny ourselves important information and insight into our self and what we need. Social and emotional development are critical for succeeding in life. And learning to understand and calm emotions are key to achieving inner peace.
Emotions are an invitation to be true to ourselves!
Think about that for a moment. Not only are your emotions inviting you to be
Let's use technology as a metaphor for using our emotions as a GPS. With
a simple click or press
of a button, our cars and
cell phones tell us the
best route to travel. This information helps us find
a location quickly and
avoid getting lost. The network also redirects us around heavy traffic or road construction. Well, you have an inner wifi, too!
If you don't connect to your phone wifi, you can't access these alerts or maps, right? Well, if you don't connect to yourself and your inner wifi, there's no accessing the truth of YOU. And that would be a travesty, wouldn't it?
To gain mindfulness is a decision. As soon as you commit, your energy follows. Awareness may take practice, yet it's worth it because the information is too valuable to lose. As Nike says, "Just do it!" Below are steps that will help you grow in emotional fitness and learn to honor yourself better.
Related reading: "Self-Soothing Strategies: 8 Ways to Calm Anxiety and Stress"
Steps to Greater Emotional Fitness
STEP 1: Increase Your Awareness.
The first step in gaining greater awareness is through knowledge. By putting your attention on what you're feeling inside and how different people or experiences affect your moods, you'll be able to make wiser choices. Your responses to your experiences create the quality of your daily life. If you only practice this first step, you'll have already become more emotionally intelligent.
STEP 2: Identify the feeling and name it.
The second step is to pay attention to WHAT you're feeling and name it. As soon as we name a emotion, there is an inner calming effect. Becoming curious about what you're feeling helps you know how you are affected in your relationships and experiences. Instead of pushing your feelings aside, learn from them.
STEP 3: Decode your feelings and act on what you need.
The third step is to figure out what your emotion is actually telling you. If you're feeling lonely, you may need to go out with a friend for lunch or hike with one of your co-workers. If you're feeling bored, perhaps you don't have enough pleasure or recreation in your life. It might be time to reengage in one of your favorite hobbies. If you're feeling resentful or angry, maybe you are being disrespected in
one or more of your relationships and it's time to set a healthier boundary. You might even be upset with yourself, especially if you regularly give up what you want to comply with others.
Start small and be consistent. When we're consistent, change happens quicker. But if you forget, the new practice becomes being kind to yourself for slipping up. Then get right back to building greater awareness.
For a more elaborate step-by-step process, see "5 Steps to Reset Your Emotions and Find Inner Peace."
And if you'd like to learn even more about emotional intelligence training, I've created a resource that distills some of the best of my two decades of learning and teaching. Check out our online course, "Emotional Fitness for the 21st Century." The course includes the nuts and bolts of EQ. You'll learn how to listen to your emotions, develop empathy for others, and set healthy boundaries. The training comes with discovery worksheets, step-by-step skill charts, tips for success, and practice scenarios.