Posts Tagged ‘Social and Emotional Intelligence’

Initiative & Bias for Action

soccerArticle Contributed by Amy Sargent

Years back I was at lunch with a woman who confided that she was in a good deal of debt. As we talked, I could tell that the debt was causing her a substantial amount of consternation, like a burdensome weight hanging heavily around her neck. After a long conversation, I asked her about her plans to get rid of it. Her response? “I’m hoping for a windfall”.

There seem to be two prevailing beliefs on how to get the things we want in life:  Some people are banking on their windfalls – to win the lottery, to receive that inheritance from the unknown relative, or just waiting for the right doors to open. Then there are others who not only are out there knocking on the doors they want to open but can often be found with a helmet on beating them down. When you want something, which way do you tend to lean?

I have to admit at times I’ve camped out in the first scenario. But I have a good excuse (don’t we always?). One Christmas about 7 years ago I received a phone call from a dear friend I hadn’t spoken with for years. She said they wanted to buy me a new car. She said to go pick out what I wanted then let them know how much it was and they’ll take of the rest. Not kidding. For a good time after that, it was hard to not to be on the lookout for more of these unexpected windfalls.

But reality is, phone calls like that don’t happen every day. And if there is something out there that we want, it usually falls upon us to take some initiative to make it happen. I like what George Bernard Shaw said:

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

By now you’ve probably heard of the story of the boys from Koh Panyee, a floating village in the south of Thailand, who in 1986 wanted to become the world soccer champions. Problem is, they had no soccer field on which to practice, because of the limited space in their village that consisted of makeshift docks surrounded by water. A soccer field when there was no pavement or grass in sight? Seems impossible, right? But that did not stop the boys. They decided to build their own field out of every scrap piece of wood they could find. If you haven’t seen the short video – click here for one of the more inspirational stories you will ever witness:  http://www.dawn-productions.com/videos/make-the-difference/

How is your initiative and bias for action? Are you proactive and persistent at working toward your goals, or do you let procrastination and other hurdles keep you from acting on opportunities? Which of these characteristics best describe your methodology to achieving what you want? You:

  • are ready to seize opportunities and jump on them when they arise
  • have a hard time quitting something you’ve started
  • are happy to pick up new responsibilities that lie outside of your normal scope of work
  • not only reach your initial goals but go above and beyond them
  • refuse to procrastinate when you have deadlines to meet
  • plan ahead
  • are not overly cautious or unwilling to take risks
  • are able to bend the rules if necessary to get the job done
  • take action before outside circumstances force you to
  • are able to mobilize others with your enterprising efforts
  • want more out of life than your basic needs being met
  • consistently strive to do more and be more

Developing emotional intelligent traits of initiative and bias for action can be accomplished, one small step at a time, with the help of a coach, a healthy dose of self-awareness, and some good old fashioned hard work. But like the soccer-playing boys of Koh Panyee, the effort it takes is paled next to the reward of attaining your sought-after goals.

Research proves happiness makes you younger and successful in life

Article Contributed by Guest Author Madalina Iacob

Our internal state is directly correlated with how we age, our health and success in life. Happiness is a relative term, and it is unique to a person’s personality, desires and values in life. Unhappiness comes from lack of self-awareness in knowing what you truly want in life, and therefore bouncing all over the place living conditions others live, because you think living them will make you happy as well. This is the scenario where you compromise or give up your dreams in order to fit in with the majority. The unpleasant surprise you discover afterwards is that you just created responsibility and complications in your life, with situations you don’t really want, and that will make you even more hopeless and depressed.

Unhappiness also comes from you knowing what you want but feeling powerless in getting those life circumstances.

With every negative though we have we’re releasing chemicals into our body, constantly changing our cell’s genetic information which will then show up as wrinkled and dull complexions, hollow eyes, illnesses and pains in the body, addictions and poor performance at work.

On the other hand, when we are happy, we look younger because our internal state reverses and erases the usual marks that come with biological age. Our skin glows, is elastic, resilient and tends to repair itself more easily. Because we feel good about ourselves we are full of energy, there’s a sparkle in our eyes, we smile and laugh a lot and look for opportunities to enjoy every moment to the fullest. We tend to make healthier choices for our body, mind, soul and excel in our careers.

Positive emotions lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, undo the effects of stress and make people playful and smart. Happy people are concerned with what makes them joyful, set priorities and get everything they want at the right time through focus, positive expectation and determination.

Passion for what they do in life brings them inner knowledge, and generates positive emotions such as enthusiasm, wonder, excitement and joy of living. All of these emotions expand their awareness and thinking abilities, their creativity soars and their mind opens up with curiosity integrating new intellectual abilities.

Harvard positive psychologist Shawn Achor in his book “The happiness advantage” shares his research results: “We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities. Only 25 percent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five percent is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people, and manages stress.”(1)

Moreover, contrary to mediocre beliefs that happiness is not in our control, he shows that happiness can be cultivated: “Genes are really important to happiness, but that’s based upon the cult of the average. What that means is that the average person doesn’t fight their genes. So if you’re born with genes for obesity or for pessimism, and you don’t change your behavior, then your genes win. Happiness comes easier to some people, but happiness is a possibility for all, if we change our behavior or our mindset”(2)

Spokeswoman for Google, Jordan Newman, Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology, says the company’s philosophy is to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world. Why? Because Google knows that happy employees outperform unhappy ones, and that the emotional fitness will generate creativity and problem solving abilities for their software developers.

Google was one of the first corporations to create a wonderland labyrinth of play areas for their employees, in order to increase productivity. They have massage chairs, kitchens or sunny outdoor cafeterias with chaises that serve free food and beverages at all times, free yoga and Pilates classes, football tables and slides, vintage subway cars or Lego play stations, and secret doors leading to private reading areas. All these amenities are meant to change the neurology of the employees, so they can engage better and become more creative. There have been studies done, and the discoveries show that our brain absorbs information at a much faster rate when we are having fun (3) Think back of one of your favorite professors and remember how you got to like the subject so much more because of their personality and teaching style.

As your SI, NLP and EQ coach I am here to help you easily change your mind set, so you can become aware of what you truly want, and learn to produce empowering emotions which will be used as fuel and become a catalyst for behavioral change. You cannot change your external life conditions if you don’t stop to look inside, figure out what you truly want, and then change your mindset, emotional make-up and behavior to create those life conditions. We are very much programmed by our parents, teachers and society at large to believe and value certain things, to fit in with the norm. But there comes a moment in life when you see that even though you have been following all the rules, and you might have all that you should, you don’t feel happy or fulfilled. Every great idea or innovation in the history of human kind has been considered crazy, dangerous or impossible until one person believed otherwise and made it a general accepted truth. Anything is possible and in your power, as long as you have a clear mind, use your emotions to empower yourself, and have fierce determination for what you want.

From personal experience I can tell you that even though by society’s standards I was a successful person in every area of my life, I was not happy, and I had to completely give up all security and start fresh. Coming to US after going for Law School in my native country, I decided to switch fields and do Business Administration and then Positive Psychology because I always dreamed of having my own business and helping people live better lives. At 26 I had a great job working in the Finance department of a large corporation and married my high school sweetheart. Even though by society’s standards I was an accomplished person on the rise, inside I felt like a stranger in my own life. I did not like my job, I only liked the money I was making, and I did not feel connected to my husband anymore, even though he has always been the most loving man I could have asked for. Maybe to blame is the fact that we met at a very young age and have been living together since I was 16 and he 19, or maybe the fact that we did not know how to meet each others needs as we matured.

There was a war going on inside of me with one side saying “you have everything a woman can ask for”, and another side saying you will have a safe life but there is so much more beyond that.

So I started my training in the field of coaching, and told my husband I want a divorce. Even though I regretted hurting him with my decision of getting a divorce, I felt it was wrong for us to stay in a safe marriage where I didn’t feel alive and he didn’t feel appreciated. The passion was always there and that is what kept us together for 14 years. The only problem was that of not listening to the other without losing our patience, and starting a fight out of nothing. Both of us having fiery temperaments, we unconsciously drained ourselves with fights and that created a disconnection.

I won’t lie, change is scary and leaves you vulnerable a lot of times, because all your fears will have to come to the surface, but the rewards are worth it. Once you face your fears you become stronger, and a deep knowing that you can be, have or do anything you want starts settling in. Once that empowered outlook in life is achieved, you start living authentically the life conditions you desire and your life gradually changes for the better.

You cannot trick your brain and emotions. If you’re pretending to everyone else through your words or behavior that you’re happy when in fact you feel discontent with your life choices, it will not help you change how you feel inside. What you feel inside will still show up outside, no matter how much you try to lie to yourself and others.

That is why finding your path, and making meaningful life choices is much more important than following what everyone else is doing. Most people live circumstances they don’t really want, because they feel pressured to compromise and fit in with the lifestyle of your regular Joe or Jane.

If you know that what you want is something different from what most people around you live, go for it, break the rules and make your own rules. Have the courage to be your own master and live a life which brings you happiness regardless of what lifestyle others say you should be living. Live life on your terms and believe in your dreams, if you want an extraordinary life.

 

Bibliography:

1-Achor, Shawn: The Happiness Advantage. Virgin Publishing. September 1st, 2010

2-Idem

3- Hanson, Rick Ph.D. Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. Harmony. Oct 8, 2013

 

The Art of Coaching (Case Study #1): Old and Depressed

Case Study #1:  Old and Depressed by David Colarossi, Ph.D.

“What’s next?” With this simple question, Adam Johnson had me stumped. At 58 years of age, the pharmaceutical sales director believed he had climbed every mountain in life, and none felt worth it. “I have spent my whole life looking at the horizon. Thinking, ‘If I accomplish this, or that, I will finally feel satisfied.’ Now, looking at my life, I realize that I am sliding to the grave and have nothing to look forward to, nothing to feel proud of, and nothing to enjoy.”

Adam was no slouch.

The first of three children born to a single mother, Adam’s life was difficult at the start. His mother tried to support the family, working two jobs, but was never quite able to make ends meet. As a child, Adam vividly remembers regularly caring for his siblings while his mother worked but failed to earn enough to put food on the table. As a child, Adam learned to sneak food from school and steal from the local grocery store to provide for his siblings. At age 16, Adam made the decision to live on his own. He dropped out of high school and supported himself by working at a nearby golf course. At the age of 18, Adam earned his GED and started working as a commission-only salesman at a large department store. Adam remembers being extremely driven by the fantasy of having the wealth of the store’s regular customers. Adam felt like a “loser” with no skills and no power.

Adam was extremely proactive about resolving his sense of inferiority. He worked tirelessly to learn the fashion industry and sales techniques. His efforts quickly paid off as Adam developed into a very skilled sales professional, with outstanding relationships with each of his top customers. Year after year, Adam’s sales numbers grew. At age 27, Adam was earning approximately 150K annually. While this financial status initially felt freeing, it quickly became unremarkable. Adam continued to struggle with a sense of worthlessness and inferiority.

Believing his emotional distress would be diminished with a more impressive professional life and a full romantic life, Adam pursued both intensely. He quit his sales job and joined an ex-customer in the start-up of a small software company. He also intentionally advanced his dating life. Adam passionately pursed a range of women. Within two years of co-founding the software company, Adam was earning 500K annually and was married with a child. With a thriving business and a growing family, Adam had everything he’d ever wanted. But yet again, he felt insignificant and useless.

This pattern repeated itself over and over again.

Adam could not seem to deal with his internal distress in any other way. At the age of 58, he had transitioned through six jobs, suffered through two divorces, didn’t talk to his siblings, and had almost no relationship with his child. As always, Adam felt worthless and alone. In his late fifties, Adam began struggling with an awareness of his progressing age. He had worked tirelessly to achieve at a high level throughout his life. And yet, at age 58, none of it held any value.
At the time, Adam held a sales director position with a large pharmaceutical company. He was very successful in his role until he became demoralized by his persistent sense of worthlessness. For the first time in his life, Adam’s psychological well-being had a negative impact on his performance at work. He stopped pushing, trying, and developing. His direct employees noticed, market share in his territory dropped dramatically, and underserviced physicians made complaints. In a last-ditch effort to get Adam’s work performance back on track, his employer bought Adam a six-month executive coaching program….

I started my work with Adam wondering what it would have been like to leave home at the age of 16. Because Adam’s mother was unable to support the family, Adam felt responsible for his siblings at a young age. Then, at the age of 16, he made the decision to go out on his own, effectively abandoning the children he supported. Adam was not responsible for his siblings, but I believed a child in Adam’s position would feel a major sense of obligation.

I wondered what it would have been like to make that decision. Did he do it for them? Were they better off with one less mouth to feed, etc.? Was Adam happy with the decision long term? Did he regret the choice? Did he miss his family?  When conceptualizing Adam, I believed his decision to strike out on his own was very important.  Instead of paying attention to the distress caused by his emotional ties to home, he learned to focus on achieving tangible markers of success.  From the age of 16 he was rewarded for pushing his emotion and his vulnerabilities aside.  Goal accomplishments became the most important and temporarily rewarding aspect of his life.  Instead of worrying about his next meal, Adam was making more money than 96% of the U.S. population.

The negative impact of this attitude was Adam’s inability or unwillingness to truly connect with another person. I believe he approached his personal relationships as strategic tasks, just as he approached his job duties. In his late 50’s, when Adam and I began our work together, he had no ability to truly connect with me.

Based on my conceptualization, I focused the first stages of our coaching on relationship development. Specifically, I focused on my relationship with him. This meant spending much of our time discussing my experience of him, in the moment, in our meetings. I worked to model true relationship development and true vulnerability. I believed that if I could help him find purpose and meaning in our relationship, I could help him find purpose and meaning in his external relationships, past accomplishments, and current job duties.

As his coach, how would you work with Adam?  What would you do differently?

 

The Resilient Leader: Building Strength Through Adversity

We are offering an exciting specialty course in Social + Emotional Awareness starting May 6th entitled The Resilient Leader:  Building Strength Through Adversity and would love for you to join us!

In today’s world, fundamental change occurs in seconds, whereas twenty years ago it took months.  Resilient leaders are now a necessity and the demand for them is exploding.  Human capital challenges were the #1 CEO concern in 2013 and most are associated with employee and manager capabilities.  Companies are searching for ways to lower employee stress and stop the accompanying decline in individual performance.  This is our “new normal.”

Be on the leading edge and be able to develop your own proprietary model for Resilience Coaching.  The course content for The Resilient Leader:  Building Strength Through Adversity is founded upon the works of Drs. Seligman, Reivich, Schatte, and Seigler, and the U.S. Army’s extensive work with the University of Pennsylvania.

Here’s how this course differs from others you have taken elsewhere:

  • There is abundant theory matched with both application and the opportunity to practice in a learning environment
  • You will create your own “Resiliency Coaching Framework” and have the chance to employ it
  • If you put your “all” into this program you will finish with a high degree of confidence in your ability to help clients build their resilience
  • You will have the tools and the resources to grow in this critical coaching focus area
John MooreThis exciting class will be facilitated by Colonel (Retired) John Moore, CEO of Moore Strength Executive Leadership and Business Advisors.  John is an ICF Credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and an ACTP Certified Executive Leadership, Business, and Marketing Coach (John Moore Bio).   The cost for the class is $795 and you can earn 6 CCEUs from ICF or 6 re-certification credits from HRCI.
Register today for The Resilient Leader:  Building Strength Through Adversity
Tuesdays, May 6-June 10, 3 PM ET  
We hope to ‘see’ you in class!

Social & Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Optimizing Decision-Making

Article Contributed by Guest Author Gloria Zamora

Fact based management has proven to be a very beneficial tool to arriving at sound decisions.  Overwhelmingly, data and logic are the main currency of business.  To ignore the facts is to refuse to face reality and learn from past successes and failures.  At the same time, sales professionals know that every decision has some element of emotion.

So how does social and emotional intelligence complement left brain logical decision-making?

David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone in their Harvard Business Review article, “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making,” postulate that there are simple decisions that have clear cause and effect relationships, as well as complicated decisions that have discoverable but not immediately apparent answers.  These types of problems in what they call a fairly ordered world lend themselves to linear, logical, sequential thought processes to arrive at the right answer.

On the other hand, complex problems have many competing ideas, unpredictability and unknown unknowns.  These conundrums in a more unordered world are best solved with pattern-based assessments.  Creative solutions can be buried in linear thinking.  Social and emotional intelligence and big picture thinking to connect the dots are required to arrive at the best outcome.

Without right brain thinking, which Daniel Pink would call a “Symphony aptitude”, emerging patterns would be missed.  Understanding group dynamics and the unspoken language of other players in the equation provides invaluable insights into the many factors impacting the circumstances.  What is being conveyed, yet not being openly discussed? Those oblivious to social awareness cues are at a distinct disadvantage.

At the same time, not understanding our own and others’ emotions can lead to perilous endings.  Warren Buffett talks about his $200 billion blunder that he made when he was 34 years old.   When he invested in Berkshire Hathaway, a textile company, he felt he had been misled by Seabury Stanton, the CEO.  Buffett was upset about the unfair dealings he had experienced, so he proceeded to buy majority control of the company and  then fired the CEO.  Unfortunately, his sweet revenge was ill fated.  Berkshire Hathaway had been a poor investment.  He recognizes now that to “seek revenge at any cost” can cost you dearly.  He estimates that had he invested in the insurance industry, his company would have been worth almost twice as much today.  Allowing negative emotions to cloud your judgment will never result in optimum solutions.

That is the lesson of Social and Emotional intelligence.

Have you found a correlation between the complexity of a problem and the heightened need for social and emotional intelligent right brain thinking?

5 Easy Steps to Fabulous Feedback

Once in my career, my “boss” wrote my annual review in pencil. Yes, seriously. There was very little feedback on the actual form and when pressed, I learned he wrote it in the 15 minutes before I arrived in his office for our meeting. I felt devalued and like I was wasting my time. My trust was completely blown and my respect for him dropped immensely. The same person whose lips were saying, “I really want to see you succeed, how can I help?” was showing me through his actions that there was no intention to follow through.

As leaders, it is essential for us to “get it right” when it comes to coaching and mentoring others in our organization. These may be peers, direct reports, or even our superiors, as the need to manage up is crucial for our success. Giving positive, constructive feedback is key. I don’t mean the “pat on the back variety.” I mean real, meaningful feedback that allows the individual to truly know how they are doing, what can be done better, and celebrate specific successes.

When you are giving feedback in an annual review, or in the moment, be sure to use the following steps to maximize the value for the individual receiving it also for you.

  • Be specific—provide specific examples of actions and behaviors that attributed to the outcomes. Balance the positive and the negative as much as possible. Avoid judgment in your specifics. Just the facts “ma’am.” And be genuine in your approach.
  • Be timely—in an annual review, be careful of focusing only on events that have occurred recently. Instead, be sure you have collected successes and challenges from throughout the year. This should not be the first time your report should be hearing about either positive or negative situations. The annual review is a round-up; a time to review the progress being made. Feedback on performance should be ongoing to avoid surprises and maximize the opportunity for learning and growing.
  • Show courage and compassion—don’t dance around if you are delivering difficult feedback to an individual. Get right to the point and offer suggestions for how improvements can be made. This provides the individual with hope and moves them into thinking about the future instead of the past. Make sure you affirm the talents and skills of the individual. Equally important for leaders is to not fool yourself. Do not excuse poor behavior or performance. You may need to show courage and compassion by cutting your losses. This can be freedom producing for both you and the individual.
  • Be sincere and honest without demoralizing the person—empty praise is easy and just…well…empty. Likewise, words like “always” and “never” will lose your audience and they will not be able to see through their defensive lens. Do not go on the attack. This isn’t about putting someone in their place. Feedback is about helping someone rise to be a better version of themselves.
  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare—It is critical to spend some time thinking about what really needs to be said and the best way to say it. Ask yourself how you would receive the information presented they way you are considering? Do you need to make some adjustments? Are there extenuating circumstances that will make it easier or more difficult to hear feedback at this time?

Quality feedback increases trust, accelerates results, and ultimately impacts the bottom line. Great leaders have a gift for giving timely, effective feedback that moves those they are mentoring/coaching to the next level as they incorporate changes in their behaviors and performance practices.

To fully assess your current competence in Coaching and Mentoring Others and create a personalized development plan, contact the Institute for Social +Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Will You Just Listen to Yourself?

Article contributed by guest author Joel H. Head, ACC

The Screamer!My mother’s voice comes back to me from time to time. It was her way of saying slow down. Check in. Is that how you really feel? Just listen to yourself.

Listening to your inner voice, some say “God’s voice”, is a way of tuning in to your innermost thoughts and beliefs. The scientists call it “clairaudience.” Sometimes that inner voice is calm and reassuring or even a cheerleader. And sometimes, operating out of fear, it yells stop, you’re not good enough, or not smart enough to pull that off.

Self-awareness, one of the tenets of emotional intelligence, can be difficult to achieve. You have to get in touch with how you feel in the moment and how events or people affect you. Does your boss give you a headache? Do deadlines curl a knot in your stomach? What exactly are you feeling right now? And what triggered that feeling?

Self-awareness also means listening to your innermost thoughts and emotions because they provide clues to how you are acting and the results you are getting. Are your inner beliefs holding you back, like an anchor weighs down a boat? Or are your innermost thoughts propelling you forward with wind in your sails? Just listen to yourself for clues about how to deal with daily situations in your life.

There is truth in the old saying “be careful what you wish for”. Because thoughts are energy which attracts like-energy. Like beams into the universe, your negative thoughts will attract negative people or events. Think more positive energizing thoughts and the world will open up. Author Mike Dooley sums it up simply as “thoughts become things.”

So tune into yourself. Become more aware of how you are feeling and what you are thinking at different parts of the day. In addition to just being plain relaxing, the information you gain will help you to lead a happier, more energetic life.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
Shel Silverstein

Coaching – A Powerful Tool for Organizational Success

Article contributed by Arul John Peter

I am soft skill facilitator based in Singapore (Asia) and have been conducting soft skills training for more than 25 years. Enabling managers as coach was not an area of my training activity. I was focusing on making each of my participant, a better employee or a manager, not paying much attention to make each of my participant a ‘multiplier’. This approach to my training changed following my participation in ISEI’s Social + Emotional Intelligence certification workshop and Leader as Coach program. The two training session brought about a new perspective on the importance of having a pool of trained and enabled managers as coaches. Managers who had been exposed to the managers as coach, find the approach useful in the workplace. It made them feel good about their contribution to people development.

Leading and managing in the 21st century is not an easy task. The need to get along with a whole group of stakeholders and move forward to achieve the vision and goals together demands a new set of skills. The Development Dimensions International (DDI), a global organization that offers solutions on talent management, identified ‘coaching and developing others as one of the five most critical skills needed on the part of managers and leaders for managing and leading the future, in its publication titled ‘Time for a leadership Revolution’. The remaining four skills are creativity & innovation, identifying and developing talent driving & managing change and executing organizational strategy. Invariably, developing these skills would require a high dose of coaching.

Research after research confirms that the benefits of coaching include the following:

  • Coaching improves teamwork and productivity.
  • Enable staff to take ownership to get things done
  • It improves the outcome of business strategies.

Coaching as a skill and development tool, allowing managers within an organization to help individual employees and teams perform at their peak. Training and developing managers to become coaches is probably the best way to bring about meaningful and sustainable changes within the organization. Having the services of a competent and certified coach/facilitator who could train and develop the managers to function as coaches is more effective. Coaches/facilitators who are trained in programs such as “leader as coaches,” offered by Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence would be able to take full advantage of Positive Deviant Initiatives,  a concept that is attributed to Tufts University. The managers who are trained to handle coaching sessions could amplify the positive and desired practices that are already working within the organization. Research and organizational studies confirm that solutions which originate from outside the organizations are not accepted easily by the internal stakeholders. It is the best practices that are identified by the key players within the organization, that make the organization successful. The best option is to identify key players and provide them with the relevant coaching skills and let them become the catalyst.

How Do You Recover From Emotional Hijacking?

Article Contributed by Guest Author Betty Mahalik

You’ve most likely heard the term “emotional hijacking” (or “amygdala hijacking”), coined by Dr. Daniel Goleman to describe what happens when a person’s emotions become overwhelming, causing them to “flip out.”  Such an episode can result in physical, mental and emotional damage to both the person experiencing the hijacking, and others who might be watching or be the victim(s) of such an episode.

It starts with a triggering incident, often something relatively minor in the grand scheme of things:  a driver that cuts you off in traffic, a petulant teenager, or an employee who fails to follow directions.  The incident sets in motion an emotional and physiological “runaway train” that can cause serious damage to your health and relationships.

The thoughtless words, the negative comments, the temper tantrum may produce emotional scars that never go away.  Virtually everyone has had one of these adrenaline-fueled fits where we feel powerless to control the emotional tidal wave.

But we aren’t powerless!  We can learn to circumvent our emotional outbursts and safely “dispose” of the negative emotions in healthier ways.  Here are seven ways to recover from an emotional hijacking:

1)    When your emotional trigger gets tripped, stop as soon as possible.  That’s right stop!  Stop your rant, stop your mental terrorist attack on the situation. Stop!  I don’t mean to stop driving if you happen to be.   But if your meltdown is happening in the car, stop focusing on anything but the matter at hand—driving.

2)    Take some deep breaths.  Breathing calms the emotions and simultaneously the mind.  Deep breathing is a known antidote to the adrenalized, heart-pumping fight-or-flight response brought on by an emotional hijacking.  Practice it often and always when the rush of emotions threatens to overtake you.

3)    Count to 6.  Growing up you probably heard the old adage to count to is 10.  Turns out there’s a lot of truth in that. Researchers have discovered it takes about 6 seconds for the response to a triggering event to move from the fight or flight center in the brain to the pre-frontal area where rational thought takes place.  Count to at least 6 before saying a word or taking an action and you may just save yourself from going over the edge.

4)    Put yourself in “time out.” If possible change your physical location.  Go someplace quiet where you can down-shift and work through some of the other steps.

5)    Ask yourself what the real problem is, or how best to solve or address the issue you’re facing.  You may realize it’s only a problem because you’re making it one.  Trying to “prove” that another driver is a jerk, for example, will be a futile and possibly dangerous endeavor.  Besides, allowing the stress-induced fit to continue robs you of brain power. According to one research study, allowing your emotional reactions to run rampant can cause you to temporarily lose up to 15% of your cognitive thinking ability!

6)    After the incident, concentrate on calming down even further.  If possible stop your activity completely and repeat numbers 2, 3, and 4 until calm and reason return.  You’ll be doing others as well as your nervous system a huge favor by taking the time to physically, mentally and emotionally regain your balance.  The stress from an emotional hijacking can have a serious effect on your physical health so taking the time to “de-tox” is well worth it!

7)    Finally, have a short internal command you can issue when you feel yourself losing it.  Good possibilities are “Calm down!” or “Pause!”  Silly and simple as it sounds, just telling yourself mentally to calm down or pause can interrupt the emotional flood long enough to regain your composure.

Now take a deep breath and reflect on the words of this Chinese proverb: “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

OnlineUniversities.com – 10 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence

You can read this entire Blog article in its original format at OnlineUniversties.com

We at The Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence® have been invited to share this great article from OnlineUniversties.com.  They have put together their 10 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence.  As you read their article, I invite you to think about the following questions:

What do you think?  Are these the best books on emotional intelligence?  What other books would you add to this list?  And are there any you would remove?  When you are looking for a book on emotional intelligence, what is it you are seeking to learn?

I welcome your feedback on the list!

The 10 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence

originally posted Feb 22, 2012

By Staff Writers

While a high IQ can go a long way in helping you to be successful in the world, studies are increasingly demonstrating that your EQ, or emotional intelligence, is of equal (or perhaps even more) importance. Whether it’s sustaining personal relationships, working on a group project in college, talking with your boss, or managing your own employees, emotional intelligence plays a key role in how successful these interactions are or are not, often in ways we’re not even readily aware of. If you’d like to give your EQ a boost, there are plenty of great books out there on the subject that can help teach you the fundamentals of emotional intelligence and help you through activities that will make you and those around you more emotionally healthy in your interactions. We’ve listed 10 of these great books here to help you get started on your emotional education.

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman:

    Curious as to why emotional intelligence might matter more than overall intelligence? Touching on psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Daniel Goleman, an expert on brain and behavioral sciences, explains the crucial skills for success offered by emotional intelligence that can determine your success in relationships and work and may impact your overall health. Even better, Goleman explains that EQ isn’t fixed, and shares ideas on how you can improve your emotional intelligence. Read the rest of this entry »

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