Emotional Intelligence and Perception

“The great discovery of any generation is that human beings

can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds”

 

Albert Schweitzer

 

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Emotional Intelligence skills are closely linked to perception. How you perceive the world, an experience, a person, your job, what labels you use in your head to describe what you see determines your experience. These thoughts may appear random, but they are under your control, or you can learn to control and guide the direction of your thoughts. This is very powerful and will change your life if you practice observing and directing your thoughts.

 

Thoughts – perception – emotions – behaviour/action

 

Your emotions determine your behaviour. At work. In your relationships. With your hobbies. Your health.

 

I suggest one yardstick that you can use in life to bring about thriving, success and well-being:

 

Instead of labelling experiences and people as right or wrong

 

ask yourself:

 

Does this thought/action/interaction/experience support or hinder my wellbeing?

 

This is so much more important than determining that someone else is wrong, and then acting in a way that is detrimental to you, because you feel justified in having been wronged.

Certainly, in being present with yourself, you feel whatever emotion arises as a result of having been wronged, I’m certainly not suggesting to suppress that emotion, but don’t let this determine how you behave. YOUR wellbeing is at stake here.

Choose wisely.

 

Emotional intelligence encompasses many different skills. It is not one skill, but many different skills, and the way these different skills interact with one another. You may be very good at listening to others, but have some way to go in managing your own emotions. Or you may be skilled at observing your thoughts/emotions, but are not a good listener.

If you start to observe what thoughts precede your emotions, what you were thinking when you got angry for example, you will learn to steer your thoughts in another direction before the anger arises. Or if you observe your thoughts drifting whilst you are engaged in conversation and meant to be paying attention to what the other person is saying you can learn to focus on listening and to become more mindful to what the other person is saying.

Start today to strengthen that emotional intelligence muscle by asking yourself: does this thought/action improve or hinder my wellbeing (and by extension that of others). This is truly taking care of yourself. It’s like learning to ride the bike. Every day that you practice you become more accomplished, and it requires less and less of your conscious attention to learn to cycle. The good news is that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned. It is up to your motivation how far and how fast you improve.

Katrin Den Elzen

Recovery, Renewal & Reflection

Making sense of change

 

Why Stress Relief is crucial to your Wellbeing

 

 

Stress has become a fact of life in our busy modern technology and consumption driven world. Unless you retreat to a remote mountaintop you will inevitably be exposed to stress. There are many different forms of stress: physical stress, chemical stress through pollution and hormonal imbalances and emotional stress. Even a physical stressor such as an accident will lead to psychological stress, such as for example if you are out of work as a result of the accident.

All these stressors have one thing in common: they put your body into the fight or flight mode. What distinguishes us humans from the animal kingdom is this: humans alone can trigger the fight or flight response simply by thought alone!!

I’ve just come back from a farm and watched a mustering of cattle. The cattle are aware straight away that the approaching 4 WDs mean trouble. Their eyes dart nervously from side to side, nostrils flare and their skin twitches all over their backs. And they run. A typical flight response. And that’s how it used to be with us humans as well:  cave man needed to react to approaching predators in order to survive.

Now that we’ve moved from the cave into brick houses, furry predators aren’t any longer the issue. But our internal self-talk is. Worry about the future, about bills, partners, bosses, the environment all trigger the fight or flight response. Human beings are the only beings capable of chronic stress. Animals react to a threat, and when the threat is over, the body returns its normal physiological state, which is a balanced state that is most supportive of wellbeing. The heart beat slows down to normal, the blood is no longer prioritised around the limbs and returns to the vital organs, digestion resumes etc.

In chronic stress, the body does not return to the state of homeostasis. [i] In the long term, this will lead to illness. The body cannot maintain prolonged stress levels without detrimental consequences.

What actually is stress? Stress is a reaction to the external world and is triggered by an older part of the brain, the mid-brain or limbic brain. The stress response was designed as an emergency response, not as a chronic state of being.

According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, stress is the No 1 cause that creates disruption in the body. Dr. Dispenza has a degree in biochemistry and specialises in neuroscience and brain function. He states that 74 to 90 % of all people in the western world who attend a health clinic do so as a result of a stress related disease.

When we realise that we experience stress in our life, stress relief becomes our responsibility to ourselves. It is an indispensable component of self-care. There is no two ways about it: prolonged or recurring stress will cause you suffering and illness.

If we accept that our lives are filled with a certain amount of stress, the next step is to accept that stress relief is absolutely vital to our wellbeing. Stress relief requires input from you in some shape or form. Different stressors call for various methods of stress relief.

I will be writing about different forms of stress relief in the coming blog posts. However, here is a video by Dr. Joe Dispenza about the importance of changing your perspective, or – as he calls it – changing your mind: literally that is, neurologically speaking.  If you don’t change your thinking, the resultant emotional state will remain the same and so will your experience:

YouTube Preview Image

 

In summary then, stress relief is not an option but a necessity for your long-term wellbeing. What type of stress relief you choose is up to you. I urge you not to underestimate the importance of stress relief. What can you do today to alleviate your stress?

 



[i] Human homeostasis is derived from the Greek, homeo or “same”, and stasis or “stable” and means remaining stable or remaining the same.The human body manages a multitude of highly complex interactions to maintain balance or return systems to functioning within a normal range. These interactions within the body facilitate compensatory changes supportive of physical and psychological functioning. This process is essential to the survival of the person and to our species. The liver, the kidneys, and the brain (hypothalamus, the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system) help maintain homeostasis. An inability to maintain homeostasis may lead to death or a disease, a condition known as homeostatic imbalance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_homeostasis

 

 

Katrin Den Elzen

Recovery, Renewal & Reflection

Making sense of change