Definition of EQ: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships wisely and with empathy.
Yesterday, I was driving and listening to a news podcast. The kind that you can’t seem to resist even though they play on your emotions. As the news analysts discuss the day’s events, you notice your mood shifting. You are tense inside and as it continues, you’re less enthusiastic about the day ahead. These are signs of deteriorating Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
So, what can we do when, in situations like this one, our emotions are stretched to their limits? How can gain greater control of our emotions in order to have a more balanced, enjoyable and successful life?
Remember Who You Are – YOU are more than your emotions.
First. Build your awareness “muscle.” After all, if we are unaware that we are tense there is no way to reduce our discomfort. Without awareness, unchecked emotions such as anxiety, irritability, anger, and frustration not only disrupt our daily lives, they accumulate over time. In the beginning there may be relationship skirmishes at home or work, and later potentially dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and addiction.
Second. When we are aware of our growing emotional tension, however, we can take steps to mitigate the problem. For example, in the above situation we could do one or more of the following to change our emotional state:
- Turn off the radio.
- Change the station and listen to relaxing music.
- Breathe mindfully. Practice conscious breathing. Shift your attention away from the stress filled thoughts in your mind to the flow of your breath. Observe the breath as you inhale and exhale. This will help you relax.
- Move your body, stretch, exercise, walk, get outdoors.
Any one of these approaches will bring you some degree of inner calm and boost your Emotional Intelligence. You are more than your emotions; you are more than your thoughts. You are the silent stable awareness at the core of your being. This is sometimes called the silent witness. It exists behind or beyond your thoughts. Return to that stillness when your emotions are out of control and you will meet with greater success in life.
For me, this calm response usually occurs naturally because I have been practicing and teaching Effortless Meditation™ for more than 40 years. Meditation is a skill set that builds awareness and calms the emotions. With continued daily “practice,” the delight and inner peace experienced during meditation begins to enrich every aspect of our life.
Try it. I guarantee that you will be happier, healthier, more stable, and kinder. Plus, there will be an added bonus. Your friends, family, and coworkers will be glad you are doing it!
And who knows, when they see what’s working for you, they might take steps to enhance the quality of their life.
Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay