From the author of the bestselling Mindfulness: BeMindful. Live in the Moment.Emotional Intelligence is fast becoming the skill to master thatwill unlock your true potential. You've probably noticed that it's not the smartestpeople that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life;being clever, talented or skilled is not enough. It's your ability to manage your feelings, other people andyour interactions with them that makes the difference. We're all born with this ability - Emotional Intelligence isa skill and we all have the capacity to develop this skill. This book will show you how. It will change the way you think about emotions. Instead ofthinking of emotions as being positive or negative, you will learnthat all emotions have a positive intent - all emotions haveour best interests in mind. Improve your Emotional Intelligence and you improve your ability tounderstand and manage emotions. You can think clearly andcreatively, manage stress and challenges, communicate well withothers and display trust, empathy and confidence. You will be in a better position to handle situations, events andother people that in the past you've found difficult orstressful. Emotional Intelligence will show you how to heighten your EQ andimprove your personal and work life, including how to * be more assertive and confident * express how you feel, what you want anddon't want. * understand what others are feeling andforge stronger relationships * manage office politics and navigate thesocial complexities of the workplace * manage anxiety, anger anddisappointment * deal with bullying * motivate and inspire others
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What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Why Emotional Intelligence Matters
Emotional Intelligence at Work
PART ONE: Understanding Emotions
1: What Emotions Are and Why We Have Them
What Are Emotions?
The Science of Emotions
The Function of Emotions
Positive and Negative Emotions – Why Are Some Emotions “Good” and Others Are “Bad”?
2: Identifying and Understanding Emotions
Can Single Words Describe Emotions?
Emotional Awareness: Identifying Emotions
Categorizing Emotions As a Way to Help Us Identify and Understand Them
3: Strategies to Begin Managing Your Emotions
Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
A Range of Strategies to Manage Your Behaviour
Managing Other People's Emotions
PART TWO: Managing Emotions
4: Managing Emotions with Better Communication
Managing Other People's Feelings and Emotions
Develop Your Observational Skills
Managing Your Own Emotions Using Non-Verbal Communication
5: Managing Emotions by Being Assertive
How to Be Assertive
6: Managing Emotions Through Positive Thinking
How to Become a Positive Thinker
PART THREE: Putting It into Practice
7: Understanding and Managing Anxiety
What Is Anxiety?
Manage the Physical Feelings
Manage Your Thoughts – Think Positive
Manage Your Behaviour
Communicate: Talk About It
Managing Other People's Anxiety: How Can You Help?
Be Assertive: Set Limits, Negotiate and Compromise
8: Understanding and Managing Anger
What Is Anger?
How to Manage Anger
Managing Someone Else's Anger
9: Understanding and Managing Disappointment
What is Disappointment?
Managing Someone Else's Disappointment
10: Understanding and Managing Bullying
Identifying and Understanding Bullying
How to Manage a Bully
How to Help Someone Who is Being Bullied
11: Motivating and Inspiring Others
Motivating Other People
Inspiring Other People
About the Author
End User License Agreement
Table of Contents
This edition first published 2014
© 2014 Gill Hasson
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Cover design by Parent Design
To Andy and Daniel, for their continuinginterest in my writing and all my books.
What is emotional intelligence? It's being intelligent with your emotions.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions.
It's using your emotions to inform your thinking and using your thinking to understand and manage emotions.
Although regular intelligence – the ability to reason, rationalize, analyze etc. – is important in life, emotional intelligence is the key to thinking clearly and creatively, to being able to manage stress and challenges confidently and relate well to others.
In this book you will learn how to understand and manage your emotions – your own and other people's – in a way that is helpful and can make a real, positive difference to your life.
Emotions are part of being human; emotions are the glue that connects you to other people and gives meaning to life. Whether we're aware of them or not, emotions are a constant presence in our lives, influencing everything we do.
Emotions cause us to feel, think and act in different ways in different situations. But emotions can be complicated. This can make them hard to understand; difficult to make sense of and grasp the meaning of.
Understanding emotions involves:
Recognizing and understanding the three aspects of emotions – physical feelings, thoughts and behaviour – and the connections between them.
Being aware of the differences, transition, variations and degrees of intensity between emotions.
Understanding what, how and why you and other people experience certain emotions in certain situations.
Chapter 1 starts you on the road to understanding emotions by looking at the nature of emotions – the inherent aspects of emotions; what all emotions have got in common.
You will see that emotions are made up of three parts; thoughts, physical feelings and behaviour. Any one part of an emotion can trigger and influence another part. Take, for example, anxiety. Suppose you were anxious about an exam, an interview or a social occasion. Anxiety might start with a thought (“I'm dreading this”) which might trigger physical feelings (stomach turns over, tense muscles, dry mouth) and then behaviour (unable to sit still or relax).
But your anxiety could start with the physical feeling of dread (stomach turning over etc.) which reminds you and makes you think of the upcoming exam, social event etc. (“I'm dreading this”) which results in the behaviour of pacing up and down. And of course, the anxiety could start with the inability to relax, which triggers the physical feelings and the thoughts that go with them.
No wonder so many of us find emotions difficult to understand and manage! Although we do see some emotions as positive, there are plenty of other emotions that we regard as “negative” or “wrong”.
However, as you develop your understanding of what, exactly, emotions are and why we have them, you will see that judging emotions as “positive” or “negative”, “good” or “bad” isn't very helpful.
The fact is, all emotions have a positive purpose – to keep you safe, to help you make decisions, to develop and maintain social bonds, to experience happiness and enhance creative processes.
Chapter 2 helps further your understanding by looking at specific emotions; their levels of intensity, the differences and similarities between them and the relationships between them.
Understanding, for example, what envy and jealousy are: envy is wanting something that someone else has got, you feel envy when someone you know gets a promotion. Jealousy on the other hand, is a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that you think you more rightfully deserve: feeling jealous of a promotion that you feel you should have received instead of the other person. Knowing the difference between those two emotions can help you have a clearer picture of what you're feeling and why.
You will learn that disentangling what triggers an emotion from the thoughts, feelings and behaviour that are part of an emotion can also help you to understand an emotion and see it as “just emotion”, rather than getting caught up and overwhelmed by it.
Of course, we all feel and experience emotions; they're part of being human. But an important part of emotional intelligence is understanding and accepting that emotions are experienced differently by different people. Not only that, different people have different ideas and beliefs about emotions – their purpose and intent and how to respond to them. Understanding this helps you start managing other people and their emotions more effectively.
Once you have a clearer understanding of the nature and purpose of emotions, you are in a better position to manage them.
In Chapter 3 you will learn that managing emotions means drawing on emotions to inform your thinking, reasoning and behaviour.
Managing emotions includes:
Knowing when to respond immediately and when to stop and think.
Knowing when to rein in your emotions; when to engage or detach from an emotion.
Knowing what is, in any one situation, an appropriate or inappropriate expression of emotion – in yourself and in other people.
Being able to manage other people's emotions.
Knowing how to draw on emotions to develop empathy and rapport with others.
People with good levels of emotional intelligence know that managing emotions does not mean controlling emotions; it doesn't involve dominating or suppressing emotions. Instead, managing emotions involves being flexible with your thinking, behaviour and responses; being able to stay open to feelings, both those that are pleasant and those that are unpleasant.
And because we all experience and respond to emotions in different ways, Chapter 3 suggests a range of strategies and responses to manage emotions, other people, events and situations. The emphasis is on identifying ways that work for you, personally, to manage emotions and the thoughts, feelings and behaviour that go with them.
By the end of Part One, you will have understood that emotional intelligence involves understanding and managing emotions – yours and other people's. It's a dynamic process; the extent to which you can understand and manage your own emotions influences your ability to understand and manage other people's emotions. And vice versa.
However, emotional intelligence is not limited to specific strategies to manage specific emotions, people and situations. There is further scope for you to understand and manage emotions – yours and other people's.
Communication skills, assertiveness, a positive approach and an optimistic outlook are key features of emotional intelligence. In Part Two we start by looking at how you can develop your emotional intelligence by developing your communication skills.
You will learn that communication is an inherent part – a permanent and inseparable element – of emotional intelligence.
Communication between people involves expressing thoughts, ideas, opinions, feelings and emotions. It involves reading sense and meaning; understanding each other, what we each think and feel. And we all know how hard that can often be!
Chapter 4 will help you become a better communicator – it will give you insights, ideas and plenty of tips and techniques on how to “read between the lines” and get a better understanding of what others really think and feel.
It's not difficult – you simply draw on the natural ability we all already have to understand what someone else is experiencing, their point of view, their thoughts and feelings. Even when their experience, perspective and feelings differ from your own.
This ability is called empathy. And while we all have the ability to empathize, it's an ability that can be improved and developed in easy, straightforward ways. How? Simply by observing, listening and asking questions.
How, though, you might ask, can you better express your thoughts opinions, feelings and emotions? By knowing how to assert yourself.
Again, assertiveness is an integral part of emotional intelligence. Chapter 5 explains that just as emotional intelligence involves being able to understand and manage your feelings, so does being assertive.
Assertiveness calls for you to express thoughts, opinions and feelings in direct, honest and appropriate ways while at the same time taking into consideration the other person's opinions, feelings, needs etc.
Again, this chapter has plenty of advice and easy to follow techniques that you can use to help you to be more assertive.
Don't worry if the thought of saying what you feel, think, want and don't want makes you anxious; I encourage you to start small and explain how you can practise being assertive in low-stakes situations. Once you feel comfortable in these low-risk situations, you will feel more confident to move on to other issues and situations, little by little.
And as your confidence improves – so will your emotional intelligence.
Good emotional intelligence, like all skills, is also helped if supported with a confident, positive approach and attitude. Having a positive outlook does not mean ignoring or suppressing the difficult emotions or ignoring the challenging aspects of life. Chapter 6 explains that positive thinking allows you to approach difficult emotions and situations in an appropriate, helpful way.
With a positive approach, you acknowledge feelings such as jealousy, disappointment, guilt, etc., but rather than let them drag you down into a spiral of negative thinking, you know that these emotions have positive intentions. You know that events, other people, yourself and your emotions can be better managed with a positive approach.
In fact, you even find that as a result of a positive mindset difficult emotions like regret, irritation, frustration and disappointment are less intense and make fewer appearances!
You see life as filled with possibilities and solutions instead of worries and difficulties.
In Part Three, we turn to specific situations where emotional intelligence can make a big difference to outcomes.
These situations include occasions when you experience and need to manage anxiety, anger or disappointment. I also explain how to manage and support someone else who is struggling with these feelings.
You will get a better understanding of emotions such as anxiety and worry, disappointment and anger.
You'll notice that the same features of emotional intelligence – assertive communication and positive thinking – arise throughout.
Often, difficult emotions are managed by sticking with one emotional response, whatever the situation is. However, our emotions control us when we assume there's only one way to react. You will see we have a choice – we can identify and use strategies that work for each one of us according to the situation, other people etc.
Emotional intelligence isn't only about understanding and managing difficult emotions. The last chapter of this book focuses on engaging the “feel good” emotions that motivate and inspire people.
When there's an immediate, specific goal that you want people to achieve, you need to motivate them. Motivation is what prompts and drives us to do and achieve something. When you want to shape people's long-term aspirations and commitments, you need to inspire them. Inspiration is what fills a person with an animating, exciting influence.
Whether you want to motivate or inspire, the emphasis is on engaging their imaginations and emotions; Chapter 11 explains how to do this.
Understanding and managing others' emotions is essential to your social well-being; your interactions and relationships with other people. The ability to pick up on and respond to others' emotions in appropriate ways can help you to live and work with others more easily.
Understanding and managing your own emotions is essential to your personal well-being; your mental and physical health.
It's easy for many of us, with so many competing demands and commitments, to feel overwhelmed with life; to spin into confusion, isolation, and negativity. Improve your emotional intelligence and you improve your ability to understand and manage your emotions. You can think clearly and creatively; manage stress and challenges, communicate well with others; and display trust, empathy and confidence.
Better emotional intelligence – understanding and managing emotions – can help you to lead a happier life because acting rationally and calmly in difficult situations can, in time, become second nature. You will be in a better position to handle situations, events and other people that in the past you've found difficult or stressful.
By understanding your emotions and how to manage them, you're better able to express how you feel, what you want and don't want, while at the same time acknowledging and understanding how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively; to talk with and understand others and forge stronger relationships, both in your personal life and at work.
You've probably noticed that it's not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You've probably noticed that being clever, talented or skilled is not enough. How well you do in your career may well depend on how well you get on with your clients, managers or colleagues.
Experience or qualifications might get you the job, but it's your ability to manage other people and your interactions with them that will keep you there and enable you to enjoy and progress in your work.
Emotional intelligence can help you manage office politics and navigate the social complexities of the workplace. And when you've cracked that nut, you're well positioned to manage a range of social situations!
Be patient with yourself as you learn to improve your emotional intelligence. As you read this book, simply pick out a few ideas, tips and techniques that appeal to you and try them out. Be prepared to take a few risks. If, despite your efforts and best intentions, a situation doesn't turn out as you had hoped, reflect on how you could respond differently in a similar situation next time.
That's being emotionally intelligent!
Emotions are what move us. Emotions are a driving force. In any one day, a range of emotions can take you on a rollercoaster that brings you up and then takes you down.
You know how it is: in the morning a project is cancelled despite all the work you put into it, (you feel frustrated and angry) but then a friend phones with some good news (you're delighted). There's a long queue for lunch (that's frustrating). Back at work you're told that the project is back on after all (joy!) but your brother phones to say he and his wife have separated (you feel sad). A colleague announces she's got a promotion (you are jealous and regret that you didn't apply for the job) and your son texts to say he got a part in the school play (happy and pleased).
The emotional rollercoaster takes you up high where the view is great but then it suddenly plunges you downward, turning you upside down and rolling you around before taking you up on a high again.
“Nothing vivifies and nothing kills like the emotions.”
Emotions are an important part of being human; emotions cause us to feel, think and act in different ways – to do something or to avoid doing something.
Emotions are complex reactions that engage our bodies and minds; they play an important role in how we think, feel and behave. In fact, any one emotion can be made up of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Let's look at each of those aspects more closely.
The behavioural aspects of an emotion are concerned with how you respond to a situation: what you do or don't do, what actions you do or don't take. Some people, for example, wring and rub their hands when they are anxious or tap their foot when irritated or impatient. Some of us bang the table with our fist when we are angry. Some people jump up and down when they are excited; when their team is winning.
The behavioural aspect of an emotion is the most obvious, observable aspect.
These are the physical changes, the internal bodily changes you experience – increased heart rate, feeling queasy, for example – when you experience an emotion.
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