Its Saturday morning, we’re preparing to have breakfast, hubby spots a roach under the table, swiftly reaches for the roach killer and goes at it like Seal Team 6. ‘You’re spraying too much of the pesticide”, I said, “it isn’t healthy for us either.” His response angled toward how his actions aren’t related to health, the beginning of the heated and unpleasant conversation.’ You’re yelling’, he points out. I literally feel my heart thumping out of my chest and breathing pattern to match. We took a time out. I went out for a walk, during which I had time to reflect. I asked myself, ‘Why was I feeling this way? How does this feeling reflect on me as a person?’ My brain kicked in, ‘It’s because I wanted to be heard, and my solution was to yell.’ Needless to say, I got back home, apologised to my husband, and explained that the yelling was unnecessary and that I only wanted to be heard. The peacemaking move! A healthy conversation ensued!
Emotional Intelligence is the power of aligning your emotions with your thinking ability. Emotions are data or information. For example, say you’re feeling angry about a situation with a colleague who isn’t playing well with the rest of the team, what would your reaction be? To yell? Would the situation frustrate you? What is your anger telling you? What would be the best course of action to address the situation?
Life coaches say that in such situations, the most powerful question to oneself and others is that that helps find a solution.
Easier said than done, right? The truth is that you can learn and implement such practice. When you’re angry, emotions boiling when you’re at meetings or with your child, getting into a heated conversation with your spouse, what do you do?
Try TIME OUT! This allows filtered information to reach that part of your brain that thinks. Research says that information takes 6 minutes to reach the Thinking Part of the Brain. This will help you align your thinking with emotion. I have found the following suggestions to be useful for time outs:
Acknowledge and label your feelings. For example, by saying you’re feeling angry or emotional. Labelling your emotions for what they make it easier to detach from the sudden reaction.
Count breaths: Breath in (feel the air passing through your nose, down into your chest) and breath out. Count 10 breath cycles.
Say a simple prayer/words: This is to affirm yourself to be calm and collected. It can be a short saying like ‘It Shall Pass’ repeatedly.
Take a walk, stretch, or put your body or feet on the floor and observe what you are feeling from mother earth.