Archive for emotions

“THE SIX-SECOND EXERCISE THAT SHORT-CIRCUITS EMOTIONAL EXPLOSIONS” by Marsha Lucas, PhD for Bottom Line

Posted in PhD for Bottom Line with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

“The Six-Second Exercise that Short-Circuits Emotional Explosions” by Marsha Lucas, PhD for Bottom Line

What gets you spitting mad? A housemate leaving the sink full of dishes…a catty coworker’s snide remarks…a fellow driver who cuts you off and then flips you the bird? It’s understandable if such aggravations spark automatic angry outbursts—but blowing up may only make you feel worse.

That’s why I want to share the news about a lightning-fast technique that helps calm emotional firestorms—a technique that takes a mere six seconds. I heard about it from neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, PhD, author of the new book Rewire Your Brain for Love: Creating Vibrant Relationships Using the Science of Mindfulness. Dr. Lucas told me that this six-second method shares many similarities with mindfulness meditation, a practice where you simply notice your mind’s busyness without getting carried away by it.

Why it works: Research shows that regularly practicing mindfulness meditation alters connections and pathways in the brain, actually changing the way the brain functions. For instance, meditation helps the prefrontal cortex (one of the main brain areas involved in thinking and impulse control) get better at detecting what’s going on in the amygdala—the panic center where fear, anger and aggression are registered—and bathing that hair-trigger amygdala in soothing neurochemicals. In other words, Dr. Lucas explained, meditation develops a better “anger pause button,” helping calm things down.

Similarly, with this six-second exercise, you consciously cultivate a habit of taking frequent mental pauses that allow your brain to “rest and restore.” By practicing this technique throughout your day (not just when you’re mad), you train your brain to pause automatically even in times of emotional upheaval. Thus, instead of getting hijacked by anger in the heat of the moment, you are able to make more mindful choices about how to react. As Dr. Lucas said, “You can put your foot on the brake—and not so hard that everyone with you gets whiplash.”

What to do: The six-second technique takes longer to describe than to do, but it’s very simple. The steps…

• First, choose an external cue, something that happens around 10 times a day—for example, turning on a faucet or checking your e-mail. Every time that cue occurs, use it as a reminder to do the exercise.

• Silently say to yourself, “My mind is alert, my body is calm,” and inhale through your nose for a slow, easy count of three. Imagine your breath coming up from the bottoms of your feet and traveling through your legs, abdomen, chest, arms and shoulders…and invite a pleasant feeling of warmth to flow through your body.

• Then exhale for a relaxed count of three (or even four), letting your face, jaw and neck go loose. Allow that warm feeling to flow downward…imagine it carrying away any tension from your head, trunk and limbs and sending it out the bottoms of your feet. When you’re done, gently resume your normal activity.

What to expect: With a regular practice of mindfulness, in a few weeks, you’re likely to notice a reduction in angry fireworks…and a growing sense of emotional resilience, balance and calm.

– Marsha Lucas, PhD for Bottom Line

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

10 WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by Norman Rosenthal M.D.

Posted in "10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence" by Norman Rosenthal with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

10 WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by Norman Rosenthal M.D.

Everyone’s always talking about Emotional Intelligence (EI) but what exactly is it? One important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately. For example, recognizing emotional intelligence in oneself can help you regulate and manage your emotions, while recognizing emotions in others can lead to empathy and success in your relationships, both personal and professional.

Given the importance of emotional intelligence, I thought it might be helpful to give a very brief overview of the topic, as well as 10 ways to enhance your emotional intelligence, originally published in my book “The Emotional Revolution.”

In 1990, Yale psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey originally coined the term emotional intelligence, which some researchers claim that is an inborn characteristic, while others suggest that you can improve it with proper guidance and practice. I agree with both schools and obviously with the latter – or I wouldn’t be giving you tips as to what you can do to improve your EI.

It may not be possible for everyone to have a psychotherapist. But you can become your own therapist. (After all, Freud analyzed himself.) It all starts with learning how to listen to your feelings. While it may not always be easy, developing the ability to tune in to your own emotions is the first and perhaps most important step.

Here are 10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence:

1. Don’t interrupt or change the subject. If feelings are uncomfortable, we may want to avoid them by interrupting or distracting ourselves. Sit down at least twice a day and ask, “How am I feeling?” It may take a little time for the feelings to arise. Allow yourself that small space of time, uninterrupted.

2. Don’t judge or edit your feelings too quickly. Try not to dismiss your feelings before you have a chance to think them through. Healthy emotions often rise and fall in a wave, rising, peaking, and fading naturally. Your aim should be not to cut off the wave before it peaks.

3. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. When a difficult feeling arises, ask yourself, “When have I felt this feeling before?” Doing this may help you to realize if your current emotional state is reflective of the current situation, or of another time in your past.

4. Connect your feelings with your thoughts. When you feel something that strikes you as out of the ordinary, it is always useful to ask, “What do I think about that?” Often times, one of our feelings will contradict others. That’s normal. Listening to your feelings is like listening to all the witnesses in a court case. Only by admitting all the evidence will you be able to reach the best verdict.

5. Listen to your body. A knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress. A flutter of the heart when you pick up a girl you have just started to date may be a clue that this could be “the real thing.” Listening to these sensations and the underlying feelings that they signal will allow you to process with your powers of reason.

6. If you don’t know how you’re feeling, ask someone else. People seldom realize that others are able to judge how they are feeling. Ask someone who knows you (and whom you trust) how you are coming across. You may find the answer both surprising and illuminating.

7. Tune in to your unconscious feelings.
How can you become more aware of your unconscious feelings? Try free association. While in a relaxed state, allow your thoughts to roam freely and watch where they go. Analyze your dreams. Keep a notebook and pen at the side of your bed and jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Pay special attention to dreams that repeat or are charged with powerful emotion.

8. Ask yourself: How do I feel today? Start by rating your overall sense of well-being on a scale of 0 and 100 and write the scores down in a daily log book. If your feelings seem extreme one day, take a minute or two to think about any ideas or associations that seem to be connected with the feeling.

9. Write thoughts and feelings down. Research has shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help profoundly. A simple exercise like this could take only a few hours per week.

10. Know when enough is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when its time to shift your focus outward. Studies have shown that encouraging people to dwell upon negative feelings can amplify these feelings. Emotional intelligence involves not only the ability to look within, but also to be present in the world around you.

Chapter 5 in my book, The Emotional Revolution: Harnessing the Power of Your Emotions for a More Positive Life, goes into greater detail on emotional intelligence.

Wishing you Light and Transcendence,
Norman Rosenthal M.D.

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.