Emotional Intelligence: What is Your Emotional Landscape?

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Published: 15th November 2010
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The 2009 "Stress in America Survey" by the American Psychological Association (APA) highlighted the rising levels of stress Americans continue to experience. Dr. Katherine Nordal, Phd., executive director of the APA, expressed concern over the trend of increasing and extreme stress levels and indicated the need for methods for people to more effectively manage their stress. The development of our Emotional Intelligence skills offers an approach that goes beyond just managing stress. Development of these skills helps us to transform the negative emotions related to stress and begin mastering rather than just coping and reacting to our environment.

The daily challenges we face both at home and at work bring about a certain level of stress. As these challenges grow and accelerate, our stress levels are compounded. Add to this global issues such as the recent government bailout, the unknowns about healthcare reform, catastrophe's such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the earthquake in Haiti along with the sense of inadequacy when we see help slow in arriving and our stress levels compound exponentially.

We tend to react emotionally as we are continuously assaulted with daily stressors whether large or small. Although we might recognize that we are unable to change our chaotic environment, we are typically unaware that we are living in a state of perpetual negative emotional energy. And as long as we remain oblivious to where we are investing our emotional energy, we are not likely to be able to change what has become, for us, the "status quo." So what can we do?

Recognize Emotions:

We cannot change were we are until we recognize our emotions what we feel. We need to identify our feelings, our emotions, naming them (happy, sad, fearful, anxious, etc.) as we progress through our day. Writing down each of these feelings or set of feelings, we can generate a simple emotional map. We can use a four-quadrant grid where the lower quadrants are "low-energy" emotions and the upper quadrants are "high-energy" emotions. Then we can label the left side as "negative" emotions and the right side as "positive" emotions. Once our grid is labeled, we can place the emotions we identified throughout the day or week in the appropriate grid: excited in the upper right quadrant, fearful the lower left quadrant and so on. Once complete, we begin to get a picture of where we are investing our emotional energy.

If, at the end of the day or week, we find ourselves mostly in the "stress zone" (the left two quadrants), we gain an awareness of the need to move toward the "peak performance zone" the zone where most successful people operate. With this awareness, we can start making choices to transform negative emotions into positive productive emotions and begin our journey to master our environment.

Tailoring the art and science of Emotional Intelligence to your needs, Byron Stock focuses on results, helping individuals and organizations in developing Emotional Intelligence skills, leadership competencies and core values. Byron offers high-energy, emotional intelligence training, speaking, coaching and testing programs that focus on results. To learn about his user-friendly, practical techniques to enhance EI skills visit www.Byronstock.com.

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