Most writings on managing emotions speak to the topic by providing generic emotional management strategies: taking charge of your thoughts, use relaxation to decrease your physiological arousal, take control of and generate effective behavior patterns, take time out to calm down and even have a laugh. All of these strategies are necessary but not sufficient if you are to manage your emotions most effectively. For that to happen, you must respond to the messages of your emotions.
An important component of emotional intelligence is to understand what emotions communicate so that you can respond to their message. How you manage anger is different than how you manage anxiety and how you manage anxiety is different than how you manage dejection. Similarly, how you respond to an angry co-worker is different than how you respond to an anxious or dejected co-worker. Emotions communicate different messages and each requires a specific response to manage it. We all know that emotions that are ignored continue to bug us. Evolutionary psychology helps us here.
EP tells us the function of emotions is to communicate information so, you can enhance your emotional savvies by responding to the message of the emotions. Evolutionary explanations aside, when you’re frustrated, your emotion is communicating that you are not meeting your goals; anxiety tells you that you are uncertain; anger is an alarm letting you know that something is wrong, and dejection says you feel no hope.
Thus, manage your frustration and the frustration of those you may advise by establishing short -term goals so that feelings of accomplishment can be achieved.
If you are anxious, ask yourself what you are uncertain about and then take steps to reduce your uncertainty. If you are anxious about whether a client is going to stay the course or jump ship, or whether you are going to be given a desired assignment by your boss, make the call and find out. Depending on their response, you might be upset or euphoric but having taken uncertainty out of the loop, your anxiety will dissolve and you can move ahead.
For anger, ask yourself “what’s wrong?” and know that your thoughts are becoming distorted — mountains instead of mole-hills and lots of blaming of the innocent. Use your relaxation response to make your perceptions accurate and use anger management self- statements: “I can handle this. What is the well adjusted, wisest action for me to take?” If the news is bad, cool angry investors by pointing out they are losing less money than others, and if that isn’t true, take the stance, “we will figure out the best course to take.” Anger is often created by unrealistic expectations so everyone on the Street would be acting with emotional intelligence by clarifying and assessing their expectations.
For the dejected and depression prone, check your internal thoughts for doomsday thinking — they’re killing your hope for the future. Also, get your feelings out, talk about your fears but then give yourself the challenge: “what do I need to do to make business better?”
Respond to the message of your emotions and you will find yourself better off. You will be acting emotionally intelligent.
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