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Dealing with Your Emotional Intelligence, by Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA

June 19, 2014

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 3

This week our well-being expert is Lina Acosta Sandaal teaching us about Emotional Intelligence. Read her blog below to learn what emotional intelligence is, how to achieve it, and some great ways on how to increase your emotional intelligence day by day!


The Nest Miami2We all experience positive and negative feelings. Most of us want to protect ourselves from negative experiences and avoid negative emotions. However, every time we tell ourselves that our negative emotion is intolerable, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to develop emotional intelligence and a way of walking through our emotions into taking intentional decisions. Most importantly, neurologists know that we best engage, learn, and make meaningful decisions when we are in a receptive state. A receptive state  is when someone feels seen, soothed, secure, and safe. The alternative is a reactive state  where we are constantly looking for danger and reacting by fighting, running away or freezing. If we work on our emotional intelligence, we move towards being in a receptive state more times than not. Ask yourself these two questions:

WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU GUARD YOURSELF FROM FEELING? WHY?
WHAT EMOTION DO YOU TRY TO AVOID FROM FEELING? WHY?

Take the answers to these questions and the next time you feel them, go through the process that I will walk you through next. If you practice handling these emotions with emotional intelligence you will no longer need to “react” to the feeling, and will become more “receptive” to the information these feelings give you.

Emotional Intelligence is being able to:

  • •Feel an Emotion
  • •Tolerate Emotion
  • •Recuperate from Emotion

This is learned by:

  • •Naming and labeling emotion
  • •Physically experiencing emotion
  • •Seeing and empathizing with others   (REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT)

 

Tools to Build and Increase your Emotional Intelligence

FIRST – FEEL THE EMOTION:

  1. Label the feeling. (“I am scared of this new job hunt. I am embarrassed what my friends will think.”)
  2. Pause (try 90 seconds) and remind yourself that this emotion is transient and not permanent and no action needs to be taken while experiencing/labeling  the feeling.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to get triggered, surge chemically through the blood stream, then get flushed out…..anything beyond that is of your own choosing.” —Jill Bolte Taylor  (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/229)

SECOND- TOLERATE EMOTION:

  1. Narrate to yourself what is happening:
    1. Describe the feelings in your body.
    2. Wonder what the feeling reminds you of.
    3. Check in with expectations or “shoulds” that may be helping you to feel this particular emotion.
    4. Walk yourself through what happened right before you started feeling this way and how you have walked yourself out of this feeling before.
  2.  Make a choice to breathe, move (i.e. walk, jump or simply pump your fists) or embrace yourself until you feel the emotion begin to pass (placing one hand over you heart and another over your stomach while breathing soothes most people.)

THIRD-RECUPERATE FROM EMOTION:

In the moment:

  1. Continue to tell the story of “the FEELING event” – this time observe yourself and tell yourself, as if you were a lawyer, the facts of the event.
  2. Reinforce how you were able to calm down – tell yourself several times what you did to calm down.

 

Day to Day

  1. Learn to breathe and calm down, most of us hold our breath more often than we think.  Just one deep breath will reboot our neurology. (i.e. Yoga, meditation, Simply Being app)
  2. Journal or get used to speaking regularly to a close friend/partner about your emotional state allowing yourself time to process and understand your emotions.
  3. If you find that when you ask yourself “what does this feeling remind me of?” you remember past hurts, you may want to work with someone who can help you understand and know your history and how you make sense of your own emotions as it is influenced by your past history (eg. therapists, personal coach, clergy)

“Anyone can become angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not easy.” —Aristotle

 


Mary P
Lina Acosta Sandaal
Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, program director of The Nest in Miami, is an expert in child and adolescent development and infant and early childhood mental health, having worked and trained at Vista Del Mar in Los Angeles, Yale’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Programs.
Website: thenestmiami.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheNestMiami
Twitter: twitter.com/thenestmiami

 
 
 

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