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Emotional intelligence tips

Keep a journal

You might improve your emotional intelligence by keeping a journal of your emotions. Every now and then through the day, jot down how you are feeling, and why you think you are feeling like that. You might see patterns. If you keep feeling irritated because Alf has come into the room, ask yourself if it's really because of Alf. Might it be that you're reacting to Alf in an emotionally unintelligent way?

Focus on the feeling not the event

When you feel like blaming somebody, ask yourself whether what they've done justifies the way you're feeling. Be honest with yourself about whether you're over-reacting. Save yourself time and effort by not laying blame at all. Focus instead on the bad feeling, and work at making it feel better.

Think about how you think about it

You can help your feelings. You may or may not be able to affect what happens, but you can always affect the way you frame it in your mind. This will affect how you feel about it. Saying "That moron really upset me," is likely to push your feelings into anger, unhappiness, and feelings of loss of control. Saying instead "It was difficult for us both, and it's still not sorted," leaves the way open for further thought and discussion.

Step into their shoes

It may take a lot of effort to step into someone else's shoes, especially if you are feeling negative towards them. However, if anyone is to make progress in discussions and joint decision-making, they need the ability to see the other view. Listen to the other person's words. Try to think of three reasons to support their view. Even if you're unconvinced, it should at least make you see that they have a valid point. Then it will be easier to strike a balance.

Evict anger

Anger has the power to destroy. Most people, when they calm down, feel tired and drained, and often foolish as well. If you lose your temper, you lose control of your actions. It's worth a lot of effort to keep anger at bay. Imagine it's an animal inside you, snarling and trying to make you do things. Direct your anger at it. Breathe out hard. Imagine the breath shoots the animal away. Then take a slow breath in. Feel the air coming in. Let it out slowly. Then take several slow breaths, and concentrate on the breathing. Keep your body relaxed. Relaxing your body has a relaxing effect on the mind. Don't tackle the problem that made you angry until you feel calm.

Be realistic

When you're told to be realistic, it usually means the other person thinks your expectations are too high. But ask yourself if your expectations are too low. Do you avoid testing situations that you could probably tackle perfectly well, because the possibility of failure is unbearable. This often happens with public speaking. The fearful person imagines the derision of the audience, and that imagination is enough to stop them trying. Are there situations you avoid because you think you will fail? If you think about doing it, do you imagine scenes of disaster? If you do, you are breeding fear inside yourself. Imagine success. What would happen? Imagine what people would say when they congratulated you. That won't be enough to make you succeed, but it will put you on the road to trying. Then you will have created a new opportunity for yourself.

Change the image

We all have some good and some bad feelings. The bad ones tend to have more power over us than the good ones. You can help to change this by having a mental picture of what it is that makes you feel happy, sad, confident, scared, etc. Make the positive images big, well defined and brightly coloured. Make the negative ones small, blurred and black and white.

Use your emotions

When you're making decisions, allow your feelings to play a role. Imagine you have already made the decision. What does it feel like? Then imagine another decision. What does that feel like?

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© Copyright 2002 Trans4mation. Reproduced with permission. Any opinions or views contained in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Training Reference.

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