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  • Writer's pictureDr. CK Bray

Four Strategies to Master Your Emotional Intelligence


a wall of many carved stone faces with varying expressions
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Understanding your emotions is crucial for life success, but it's not the end of the journey in mastering emotional intelligence. Michael Wiederman, Ph.D., emphasizes that simply being aware of emotions isn't enough; managing them effectively is also essential. Here are four practical strategies to enhance your emotional self-management, a vital aspect of emotional intelligence.

 

  1. Pause to Mentally Distance Yourself: In the heat of an emotionally charged moment, it's easy to react impulsively. To manage your emotions better, consciously shift your focus. This means stepping back mentally from the situation and engaging more rational parts of your brain, such as the cerebral cortex, instead of being driven solely by the emotional limbic system. This mental shift allows you to respond thoughtfully rather than simply react.  

  2. Control Your Self-Talk: Much of what fuels our emotions operates in the background as internal monologues or self-talk. By becoming aware of these internal narratives, you can challenge and change them. When faced with negative emotions, question the underlying beliefs that drive those feelings. Is the belief helpful or valid? Adjusting your self-talk can significantly influence how you handle emotional situations.  

  3. Enlist Support from Others: Managing emotions doesn't have to be a solo effort. Involve trusted friends or colleagues who can help you recognize when your emotions might be taking over. Establish a signal—a word or gesture—they can use to alert you. Although it might be uncomfortable to be called out, viewing their input as helpful feedback can enhance your emotional management.  

  4. Cultivate Curiosity: Quick judgments often lead to emotional reactions that may not be based on the full picture. By cultivating curiosity about others' perspectives and motivations, you can dampen swift emotional reactions. Practicing curiosity helps build empathy and strengthens your connections with others, making it easier to manage emotions in heated situations.

 

Implementing these strategies requires patience and practice, but the rewards, both in personal growth and improved relationships, are substantial. Choose one to start working on today and see what difference it can make.


 

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