Monday, April 30, 2018

EQ Behavior – 1

Individuals with high levels of EQ skills tend to exhibit the following behavior quite consistently.

They are able to identify and accurately label the four core emotions appropriately. They are also able to assess the level of intensity quickly and, metaphorically, they don’t need to be hit over the head with the emotion in order to recognize the intensity. They express core emotions appropriately and are very careful of the behaviors they are tempted to exhibit around those core emotions.

Friday, April 27, 2018

EQ High-Low Characteristics, 2

Think about the list of characteristics. If you were an employer, who would you prefer to hire? As an individual, who you like to date or marry? One of the reasons for raising your EQ is to reduce the potential conflict in your life. Another is to role-model a more functional way to live to whomever is watching you. A third reason is that living a high level wellness lifestyle that includes high levels of EQ is likely to impact your health in positive ways. Remember: conflict is expensive. In the home, high levels of conflict contribute to illness, stress, violence, addictions, divorce, murder . . . In schools in burns out teachers, triggers misunderstandings, and may exacerbate dysfunctional behaviors on the part of students with mental health problems . . . In churches, it burns out clerics, rips congregations apart, and sets up an environment of anger and retaliation. would you like to drop an estimated 50 percent of your perceived problems off the back of your life-truck? Try raising your personal level of Emotional Intelligence.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

EQ High-Low Characteristics

EQ does not show up in IQ tests and yet your level matters more than anything else in determining your overall success in life both personally and professionally. There can be a HUGE difference between behaviors in individuals with low EQ versus high EQ. As you analyze your own behaviors and observe those of others, you may gradually become aware of characteristics often exhibited by individuals based on their levels of EQ. For example:

High EQ
High self-esteem
Happy (appreciative)
Perceive success

Low EQ
Low self-worth
Unhappy (or depressed)
Perceive failure

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Emotions, Feelings, and Urges

Avoid equating bodily urges with either emotions or feelings. For example, “Really hungry for some chicken, or ice cream, or a soda” is neither an emotion nor a feeling. It is an urge that may be triggered by physiological hunger, thirst, boredom, emotions, feelings, etc. It may represent genuine hunger or not. Instead it may represent a desire to “feel better” on the part of the individual who may be bored or feeling out of sorts and who has learned that food—especially food that is high on the addictive-like substance list—can make them feel better quite quickly. Dairy cheese, chicken, and pizza are among the top twelve on such a list. If you crave food, ask yourself: “When did you last eat? Is it reasonable that you would be genuinely hungry and experiencing hunger pangs yet?” Drink a large glass of water and evaluate how you feel in twenty or thirty minutes. Often people think they are hungry when they really are thirsty and just never learned to identify a clear thirst signal. A related problem is that whenever a baby is fussy, some parents give them a bottle of formula. Therefore, the child may grow up not having learned the difference between hunger pangs and thirst. In addition, one’s thirst sensation may diminish with older age.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

EQ Continuum

Most educational systems stress IQ and reason (reading, writing, math, science). You are expected to learn EQ from your care providers, (if they had high EQ they could at least role-model it for you), peer groups, and life experiences. This means that many reach adulthood without the requisite EQ skills. The good news is that you can develop and/or raise your EQ at any age. This is important as estimates are that EQ may contribute at least 80 percent to your success in life. To help you learn to identify low versus high EQ behaviors, picture a metaphorical EQ continuum on which behaviors may be plotted as high, average, or low, based on the positive or negative consequences or outcomes of the behavior.

High                            Average                          Low

 The higher your typical behavioral placement on this continuum, the easier it becomes to identify low versus high behaviors.

Monday, April 23, 2018

EQ Working Definition

Reminder:  Emotional Intelligence (EQ) involves the ability to know what feels good, what feels bad, and how to get from bad to good in a way that results in positive outcomes; including the ability to recognize each of the four core emotions (joy, anger, fear, and sadness) quickly, obtain the information the emotion is attempting to convey, and exhibit actions and behaviors that tend to result in positive outcomes. Unfortunately, many try to get from feeing bad to feeling good by becoming involved with addictive behaviors, which tend to increase the likelihood of a negative outcome. When Goleman’s book on EQ was released in the mid ’90s, many had never even heard of EQ much less had any idea of what it really described or how it could possibly impact their lives.

Friday, April 20, 2018

“I am sorry” vs “I regret” – 3

Research into male-female differences suggest that females frequently say “I’m sorry” when they had nothing to do with triggering the accident or causing the mistake. Conversely, males often fail to say “I’m sorry” when their actions did trigger the accident or cause the mistake. Functional behaviors indicate that it is important to take responsibility for something when your behaviors contributed to it but to careful avoid acting as if you are taking responsibility through the words you use when and if your actions did not contribute. By the same token, only take responsibility for your portion of the contribution. Meaning, you may have done something that contributed to the accident or mistake but only to a portion of it. Be careful and clear to take responsibility for and attempt to make reparation or restitution for only the portion for which you were responsible. To do otherwise may mean that you could be viewed as responsible for things that you did not cause or contribute to.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

“I am sorry” vs “I regret” – 2

Here is a different scenario. I visit friends and on entering the room I rather carelessly throw my jacket toward the couch, miss the couch, and hit the lamp instead—which falls to the floor and shatters. The appropriate response is, “I am so sorry. Please let me replace the lamp for you.” This indicates that you acknowledge what happened and are taking responsibility for the accident and are willing to do whatever you can to make amends. The subconscious interpretation of these two different phrases is so strong in most cultures that when an individual, for example, must go to court as a witness, the attorney will often caution the person NOT to use the phrase “I am sorry for what happened,” etc. Otherwise this may be interpreted by the other attorney as the individual not only acknowledging what happened but also taking responsibility for it. More tomorrow

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“I am sorry” vs “I regret”

A very different meaning or impression can be given to others depending on whether you use “I’m sorry” or “I regret” and it is important to understand their differing meanings and use them correctly. “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” indicates that you personally did something to trigger the accident or cause the mistake. “I regret” indicates that you acknowledge what happened but that you personally did not trigger the accident or cause the mistake. For example, I visit friends and their dog—in an apparently state of excitement to see me—leaps over the couch and knocks a glass lamp to the floor where it shatters into a million pieces. The appropriate response is, “I regret that happened.” This acknowledges what happened but also indicates that you are not accepting responsibility for the accident. More tomorrow

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brain Goals

Live at joy and move up and down the Emotions Staircase for brief periods of time to get the information the specific emotion is trying to move from your subconscious to your conscious mind so you can become aware of something and take appropriate action. Sometimes the goal is to pay attention and learn but take no immediate action. Rather, you file away the information and when you next encounter a similar situation you have more than one option to consider selecting in terms of actions and behaviors.

According to Candace B. Pert, PhD, a specific neuropeptide may be associated with each emotion so you can only experience one core emotion at a time. Think of your brain as containing your own personal Broadway stage. You are “on stage” every moment of your life. Only one actor or personal assistant (core emotion) can be with you on the stage at any given time. You can experience each emotion and receive the information it provides without emoting (e.g., giving expression to it, or taking any action, or exhibiting any behavior related to the emotion). 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brain Centers

You are not responsible for every emotion that surfaces. Some emotions may be triggered by your own thoughts and what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. But some emotions may be triggered by something in the external environment. Since your brain creates your “feelings” (your interpretation of what the emotion is trying to tell you) however, all things being equal you are responsible for the feelings you hang onto over time. Emotional signals appear to be interpreted into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer. The pre-frontal areas directly behind your forehead help to identify the emotions and the feelings and to moderate emotional expression related to them. Emotional impulses tend to arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer. Old habit patterns tend to hang around in the reptilian or 1st brain layer and can surface quickly if your brain downshifts into that layer due to anger or fear. “Emotional processes operate at a much higher speed than thoughts, and often bypass the mind’s linear reasoning process entirely” (Joseph LeDoux - The Emotional Brain)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 3

Emotions arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer (middleand then quickly spread to every cell in the body changing your physiology. The body and brain tend to quickly become aware of these physiological changes,

The brain appears to interpret emotions into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer (top)

The pre-frontal cortex helps to moderate expression of both emotions and feelings and selects preferred actions and behaviors—otherwise previously loaded habits (often of the knee-jerk variety) in the reptilian or 1st brain layer (bottom) will take over automatically.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 2

Feelings are explanations (short-hand labels) that your brain creates about the emotion to describe what it thinks the emotion means and its relative importance in your life. The explanations may be accurate or inaccurate because you know only what you know and your explanations are of necessity based on what you know.

The brain’s explanations, correct or incorrect, create your feelings. As soon as you recognize a feeling, it is empowering to know that you are capable of choosing whether or not you want to maintain that feeling over time or whether you want to feel a different feeling. Since feelings always follow your thoughts, if you want to change the way you feel you must change the way you think. Your behaviors tend to follow the feelings you choose to harbor and hang onto.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Feelings 101

There does not appear to be one distinct emotions center in the brain. When an emotion is triggered, it tends to arise simultaneously in cells throughout brain and body as a product of the brain and body acting in concert. When in the grip of a strong emotion, you are in a biochemically-altered state. Emotions and feelings represent differing but inter-related concepts that follow separate and different pathways in the brain. They are mediated by two distinct neuronal systems [The Lancet Neurology, March 2004]. In and of themselves, emotions and feelings are not Emotional Intelligence—but EQ involves applying your knowledge of emotions and feelings effectively and appropriately in order to increase your likelihood of success. It also involves selecting with care the behaviors you exhibit around those feelings. It means selecting with care the four or five people with whom you spend the most time as within about three years you are likely to begin picking up the characteristics they exhibit.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Emotion Cascade Summary

An internal or external stimulus triggers an emotion. Your brain tries to make sense of the physiological changes in your body resulting from the emotion. The brain’s interpretation creates thoughts and feelings. You become aware of a thought (I feel . . . I think) and either hang onto it and exhibit a behavior related to that feeling or thought or you change the thought and the subsequent feeling and behavior. When you understand that your feelings are connected to what you think about an event more than by the event itself, you can gain a measure of perspective and control. You may not be able to alter the event but you can change your thoughts, and a change in thoughts often can radically alter your feelings as well as your behaviors—because feelings follow thoughts and actions and behaviors follow feelings.

Hemispheres and Emotions

There are potentially 100 times more connections between the right hemisphere of the brain and the subconscious emotional mammalian or 2nd brain layer. This suggests that individuals whose innate brain bent is in the right hemisphere may be more aware of and in touch with emotion in themselves and in others. This does not necessarily mean that they manage their emotions effectively or that they have high levels of Emotional Intelligence; just that they may be more aware of emotions than those whose innate brain bent is in the left hemisphere. Having said that, any human being with a functional brain may choose to learn about emotions and feelings, know themselves, and build skills related to Emotional Intelligence--because EQ involves a set of “learned skills.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

EQ Behavior – 8

Individuals with high levels of EQ skills tend to exhibit the following behavior quite consistently.

They are able to handle relationships effectively, minimizing any tendency to exhibit JOT behaviors. They avoid jumping to conclusions, overreacting, and taking things personally. Reduce those "low EQ" behaviors and that in and of itself can tend to diminish the amount of potential hurt feelings and conflict in your life.

Emotions Staircase

According to Candace B Pert, PhD, emotions are measurable physical responses, neuropeptides that are triggered by internal thoughts or external events or situations—designed to connect the subconscious mind with the conscious. Each comes with specific physiological markers, facial expressions, and typical actions and behaviors. Think of them as your four most critically important assistants. The ideal is to live at joy and move up and down the staircase for brief periods of time as appropriate, based on the situation and what you need to learn about and take care of.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Emotional Motivators – Surprise & Disgust

Rather than being described as core emotions, surprise and disgust tend to be viewed as emotional motivators. They may surface in combination with any core emotion. They can increase the strength of any core emotion or a reaction/action/behavior related to the emotion.

Surprise can strengthen a core emotions with a sense that whatever happened was completely unexpected. Regardless of whether it was good or bad, happy or sad, or indifferent, you were not expecting what happened.

Disgust can strengthen a core emotion with a sense of revulsion, aversion, repugnance, or profound disapproval aroused by something you perceived to be extremely unpleasant or offensive or a breach of good manners; or something you hate or abhor, or consider to be an abomination.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Guilt

Healthy guilt, sometimes referred to as contrition, is an emotional interrupter designed to get your attention. Healthy guilt tells you that you made a mistake (e.g., violated a code of etiquette or conduct or expectations, were careless or unthinking). It reminds you that you’re human. All humans makes mistakes and you can learn a new way. It suggests you make restitution whenever and wherever possible. 

Unfortunately guilt is often completely misunderstood and turned into unhealthy guilt.

Unhealthy guilt is usually a learned response that often begins in early childhood. Unhealthy guilt says that you yourself are a mistake and nothing can remedy that. It’s hopeless. You may as well just go out to the garden and eat worms because that’s all you deserve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Shame

Rather than being described as core emotions, many consider shame and guilt to be emotional interrupters. They interrupt whatever is happening in order to get your attention. Likely learned reactions, each may be helpful and healthy or false and unhealthy. Your sense of shame may develop very early in childhood. Unhealthy or false shame says you yourself are a bad person who deserves humiliation and disgust—even abusewhether or not you made a mistake. False shame’s response: What a complete putz! I am so inadequate and pathetic!

Healthy shame or contrition triggers a sense of embarrassment, distress, or dread from a recognition of your mistake. It can prompt you to apologize and to make attempts to remedy the consequences insofar as it is possible to do so. Healthy shame’s response: Oops, I made a mistake—I am choosing a more functional behavior!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Male-Female Differences

Researchers showed a group of participants pictures that were designed to elicit the emotion of anger. Females typically were unaware of their anger, identifying it as sadness. As mentioned earlier this may be a socialized response to avoid coming across as “angry and unfeminine.” Males recognized their anger, perhaps due to socialization that anger is masculine and acceptable.
When shown pictures designed to elicit the emotion of sadness, opposite findings emerged. Females were aware of their sadness. Males, however, did not recognize their sadness, identifying it as anger. Again perhaps due to socialization that sadness is not masculine.
Since these differences appear to be socialized beginning in early childhood, there are some frightening and potential negative outcomes that may occur in adulthood, especially for relationship harmony and satisfaction.

Monday, April 2, 2018



Much in the same way that euphoria is a real state, although not a core emotion in and of itself, apathy is not a core emotion, either. Apathy can be described as an energy-less state of seeming indifference or lack of interest in much of anything. It can be the result of a complete overwhelm of unmanaged emotions that gradually spirals down into a shutting down of feeling and caring sensations. Interestingly enough, people rarely commit suicide when in a state of apathy – they don’t have enough energy!

This may be perceived by others as a seeming lack of concern about mental, emotional, physical, social, relational, spiritual, and health issues; as a lack of personal self-care (and sometimes as a lack of care for and toward others, including spouse, partner, children, work associates, and close friends). Over time and if not resolved, this state may lead to illness, addictions, disease, and even death.