How To Grow Emotional Skills

If you’re like me, you focus most of your attention on personal growth. You know that developing emotional skills is priority number one. Thinking about career and promotion – That’s just a distraction.

But I would venture to say most people are not like me. Most people focus on the functional skills – finance, banking, engineering, medicine, law – one needs to survive and be competitive in a modern world where success is often measured by what your title is or how much money you have in the bank. That’s not to say that these ‘functional’ skills are not important – they are. And as Mr Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore once said, without money you can’t move. He’s right! We all need money, and lots of it.

I will argue in this blog that emotional skills are far more important than any functional skill in achieving a high level of peace and calm within oneself to empower yourself and others around you to achieve lofty goals in terms of relationships, career, financial health and mental and physical health. I would go so far as to say that without emotional skills you are the lesser for it. This is so because there is much more to the world of emotion than just feeling good or bad. Everything begins with emotion. Emotion is the force of real life.

To be healthy, your brain needs to function well. Give your brain what it needs – healthy neurotransmitters for right thinking and freedom from conditioned responses. How do you do this?

True health and well-being is a function of many things – good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, clean water, and freedom from emotional constipation.

Emotional skills help you end emotional pain and restore brain function so you are free to build happy, healthy relationships. This blog and my online emotional health and wellness center, EmotionMatters Community, is dedicated to helping you get through times of anger, trauma, fear or insecurity and move on in your life regardless of your situation. My goal for this blog is to help you learn what emotional wealth is all about for men and women and why it is center stage in your happiness and well-being.

Your emotional brain is the center of your emotional and physical health and wellness. Brain function and neurotransmitters are highly dependent on energy. If your brain cells cannot produce enough energy, because of a depletion of neurotransmitters like serotonin, and there is too much oxidative stress, then neurons don’t fire, connections in your brain aren’t made and the lights don’t go on. Your physical health suffers as the symptoms of emotional constipation, or poor brain function, become evident in your body.

EmotionMatters Community has the tips, tools and techniques to help you fight back against the biological dysfunction of your brain – caused by your black brain – and get through emotional stress. You need to unpack your negative brain. You need emotional wealth tips to help you manage your emotions. You will conquer, move on from, and get over your anger, fear or insecurity, increase your well-being and gain peace of mind. My wife, Karen Gosling, a pioneer in the field of emotional wealth, and I can absolutely positively help you get from here to where you want to be!

Let’s start with a definition – Emotional wealth involves learning and applying emotional skills to manage your emotional responses in various situations and guide your thinking and actions to lead a more meaningful life.

Get our pioneering work on the subject. Step inside the complete Emotional Leadership Book. Karen and I wrote this book for our private clients and seminar participants to show them how to let go of stress and become emotionally healthy, wealthy and wise. We reveal the stress-busting strategies needed to live a healthy lifestyle – the same techniques and methods we have used in our own lives to be emotionally free. Here is some of what’s covered and what I will discuss in the coming blog posts:

  • Step by step guidance to understand adrenalin and the physiological effects of stress felt in the body
  • Building a list of emotion words that I can use time and time again. (This is vital to your ability to express emotion)
  • Why you need to be able to effectively manage your emotions
  • How to convert anger into assertion and anxiety into appreciation … not just keep behaving the same old way
  • The importance of the 4-step cognitive framework in building your network of influence
  • Understanding changes and blends in emotions
  • How you can use your current emotional strengths to understand and manage others better
  • What to do each day to maximize right choices in building trust in relationships

Today each of us needs to check our ego at the door … Emotional Leadership is the premier way to learn how to do this. Learn to recognize, use, understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of others and you’ll do better as an emotional mastermind.

Are you ready to improve your emotional intelligence abilities?

What role, if any, do you think emotional health should play in making better relationships? I look forward to reading your comments below.

Let’s Get Started >> Learn about Personal Emotions

Personal Emotions

Emotions represent bodily feelings experienced as arousal of the nervous system. Stress involves an emotional reaction, especially a reaction involving negative emotions. No one else can experience your feelings in the same way that you do. An implication of this fact is you have to be responsible for your feelings. They are not happening to anyone else. No one can make you angry except yourself.

Emotions are generated to signal a need. But how are emotion states generated? Research has provided arguments for and against what comes first – a feeling or a thought. Some writers argue that feelings are more important than cognition in determining attitudes. It has been quoted:

Since feeling is first, (he) who pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you.

It seems for some that human beings are ruled more by emotions than anything else. Perhaps this is true.

Other researchers recognise the minimum for cognitive-activated emotion being appraisal, or perception … one aspect of cognition that enables you to know and make decisions about the world. Emotion informs and influences intelligence. It seems possible that you could command through your emotions – thought comes before feeling.

Using cognitive-behavioral constructs and emotional intelligence insights, in 2004 Dr. Mike & Karen Gosling developed the emotional wealth system – EASEQuadrant® – which carries this idea further … that a person can influence their behaviour cognitively through developing their emotional intelligence.

Everything in life is about what you feel.

If you’re experiencing positive emotions, that’s great … This is a non-problem status. Enjoy your life.

If you’re feeling negative emotions … you are emotionally constipated and experiencing the physiological effects of negative emotion (stress).

Read on >> Your Emotional Style

Your Emotional Style

There are only two emotional styles … Which one are you?

Aristotle (384-322 BCE) said…

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness, and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival”.

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Mike said…

“I learned at great cost to manage my reactive emotional style.”

Karen said…

“I was astonished to discover my avoidant emotional style.

There are two emotional styles – avoidant and reactive. Regardless of your gender, you are more likely to display more of one style than the other.

Mike and Karen Gosling are married. They are both highly educated and intelligent. Mike has a Masters in Business Administration and a PhD in emotional intelligence. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health.

Both Mike and Karen have been successful in their careers, raised two wonderful sons, traveled the world, and have offered advice and support to many people from all walks of life to improve human wellness.

They are stable and influential, in a relationship lasting more than 32 years. They have collaborated to provide clients the benefit of their combined knowledge and experience in life.

But Mike and Karen each have a different emotional style. They respond differently to the same event and experience emotion in totally different ways. And because they are both fully aware of their emotional style and the impact it has physiologically on their bodies, they experience and manage their worlds very differently.

Awareness of your emotional style offers you the opportunity to change your mind and change your life, elevating emotional well-being.

Read on >> Avoidant Emotional Style

Avoidant Emotional Style

eggtimerMy wife, Karen, said, “Once I learned how my adrenalin floods affected everything I did life became much more enjoyable and easier”.

She has always gone along with what other people wanted, deferred to their wishes and opinions, in order to manage her adrenalin levels. Her happiness came from harmony in her environment, as conflict or even potential conflict, resulted in adrenalin floods. If she perceived that a person may judge her, disapprove of her, be disappointed or feel let down by her, she would feel so dreadful that she would go out of her way to ensure that this did not happen. Once she’s had an adrenalin flood she needs to process it out of her body and “return to normal”. After conflict it takes her a long while to “warm up” again – hence my suggestion of the egg-timer!

Karen experiences her negative emotion intensely (the burden of the highly sensitive person) and avoids any situation that may potentially cause an escalation of that feeling – the avoidant emotional style. She was an obedient teenager (lest her parents be cross with her), a diligent student (lest her teacher think badly of her), helpful to all (lest people dislike her because she was selfish) and a wife that withdrew and internalized in order to avoid conflict. She is learning that her avoidant behavior – the flight response – impacts on me who feels punished and excluded.

I said to Karen, “Because you have an avoidant emotional style doesn’t mean that you have a monopoly on negative emotion”. This is something she needs to be constantly aware of and recognize when considering the impact of her behavior on others. Her appreciation of how she deals with her emotion has improved immeasurably her over all well-being. She feels energized to share with others how managing her avoidant emotional style releases adrenalin from her body making her emotionally well.

Read on >> Reactive Emotional Style

Reactive Emotional Style

bombI learned at great personal cost, with the loss of my former wife and twin daughters over 30 years ago, that loud tones, aggression, irritation, and anger had to go.

I have always been a leader, full of ideas and the energy, persistence, and dedication to carry them out. I used to not take fools lightly and felt quickly frustrated, irritated, and angry when things did not go my way. I could explode like a bomb! As a man, I was used to summing up a situation, weighing alternatives, implementing them, and looking for results, often all done in my head and without too much discussion, not realizing fully that my behaviors, including loud tones and quick words, impacted on Karen so adversely.

My wife, Karen, says, “Mike, it doesn’t matter what you say to me, just say it in a normal voice. When someone speaks to me in an irritable tone my perception is that you are cross at me for what I just said and that leaves me feeling unfairly judged”.

This is what I need to constantly be aware of, as a person who has a reactive emotional style, when considering the impact of my behavior on others.

I deal with events as they happen – the reactive emotional style. I still react to things quite quickly – the fight response – but I am learning to put a gap between my thoughts and emotions to allow me time to manage better negative emotion generated by my reactive emotional style.

Now I recognize negative emotion in my body on a scale from one to ten, one being low intensity and ten being rage. By the time I feel my negativity rising to level five or six I can usually put a gap in my response and deal with my dis-ease in an emotionally intelligent way, releasing adrenalin from my body.

As I respond to events I recognize that only I can make myself irritated, frustrated, and angry and so I manage my emotional style in a way that  elevates my emotional well-being. As a result, I feel much healthier. And Karen is happier for it.

Read on >> Affirm Your Identity