We start our exploration of EQ (emotional intelligence) with self-awareness. This ability sets the foundation to become proficient in the other three domains of EQ!

Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself as others see you. It is the ability to make an accurate assessment of your emotions in the moment and
across a variety of situations.

Mad, Sad, Glad, Scared: emotions just happen. They are a mental state that arise spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and are usually accompanied by physiological changes. Can you see yourself in Lynn’s situation?

Lynn is employed as a hospitalist. Today was the third time in as many months the on-call rotation schedule was on the Team Meeting agenda. The meeting was coming to a close and once again, no decision had been made.

Lynn had had enough! She could feel her face flushing, her hands starting to sweat. The physical response was familiar to Lynn – she knew she was about to say something she might regret.

Key Principles:

  • Noticing how your body responds is key to being proficient at using your emotions as information.
  • Emotions are strongly linked to memory and experience. If something bad has previously happened to you, your emotional response to the same stimulus is likely to be strong.
  • Emotions are closely linked to values: an emotional response could tell you that one of your key values has been challenged.

Try This:

Take a moment to notice your emotional response and consider what might be behind them – values, memories or experiences.

Your emotional responses don’t necessarily have much to do with the current situation, or to reason, but you can manage them with reason and by being aware of your reactions. Controlling your emotions doesn’t work. Exploring and understanding the link to memories and values is key to managing your emotional response.

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