Tips for Emotional Mastery: How to Increase Your Wellbeing by Being Smarter with Feelings
How can we navigate feelings more effectively?
By Joshua Freedman
Every person has emotions. They’re part of being human. But too often, we’re in a struggle against our own feelings – trying to suppress or ignore them. Our wellbeing suffers as a result. So what do we need to know in order to get a handle on feelings and feel more in control of our emotional wellbeing? Here are 12 tips from emotional intelligence practitioners:
1. We almost always have multiple emotions at the same time. This can be confusing and lead to overwhelm, but it doesn’t have to. Use resources like Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions to understand your feelings better, including how emotions combine to create entirely distinct feelings. Joy + Trust = Love. What about Joy + Anticipation? Check out the Wheel to find out.
2. Every emotion has a purpose. They give us messages about opportunities and threats. The Emotoscope Feeling Chart offers many examples of the purpose of feelings, which you can download in the Plutchik article. When we learn the messages of each and every emotion, we can navigate them more effectively and fuel sustainable wellbeing for ourselves. The most difficult part for many people is appreciating challenging emotions, like fear, anger and jealousy. This article is a great introduction into valuing all emotions: Decoding Emotions.
3. There is power in the ability to name emotions – “name it to tame it”. When we name feelings, we get a handle on our own experiences, and then communicate more effectively with others. Neuroscience research has found that “affect labeling” – or naming your emotions – increases the connection between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which is key to building resiliency.
4. To identify feelings, remember: Emotions affect us physically. What is your body telling you? Are your muscles tight, do you feel pain anywhere, are you hands hot, cold, etc? Are you smiling? Frowning? Forehead furrowed? Physical sensations provide invaluable data about how we’re feeling.
5. Treat all feelings a neutral – data about your experiences. There are no “good” or “bad” feelings. Emotions are data. Most of us have been socialized that some feelings – or more likely, all feelings but happiness – are “bad,” To start unlearning this mentality, start with this article, Integrated Emotions: Treating Feelings as Allies.
6. Treat feelings as normal. Don’t apologize for your feelings, nor “show off” with them (“look how emotional I am!”). Don’t make a “big deal” about other’s feelings; neither reward people for being vulnerable, nor criticize – keep a neutral, curious, caring tone.
7. Remember that if you don’t pay attention, feelings usually escalate. The earlier you attend to this message, the easier it will be to handle the feelings.
8. When strong feelings come up, be an observer. “Oh, that’s interesting,” or, “What can I learn from this?”
9. Emotions ≠ actions. Notice emotions as sensations, and distinguish between that sensation and the way people act. Anger is an emotion, yelling is an action – but one does not NEED to yell just because s/he is angry. We have choice about how we use our emotions.
10. In different situations, different emotions are useful. For example, with loss it’s useful to feel sorrow; relaxing on the beach it’s useful to feel peace. When understanding feelings, think about what’s useful in the current context.
11. Validate feelings. Name them, acknowledge them. Start by assuming they’re valuable & useful.
12. Don’t obey feelings blindly, don’t lock them away: find the middle path. Feelings are signals saying, “Something interesting is happening!” Ignoring and suppressing emotions has actually been found to increase their intensity and lead to a host of problems. A lack of impulse control is similarly troubling. Find the middle ground!
What’s new in emotional intelligence?
Test your knowledge of emotional intelligence and gain key insights to bring EQ to life at home and at work
It’s time to rethink mental health as a resource for thriving, and learn how emotional intelligence can help us create full vitality.
Harvard study, more than 80 years old, identifies the common threads of a long, satisfying life. So what makes a good life? And how can this study’s findings help us make better decisions in our own lives?
In the storms of volatility fueled by COVID-19 news, both real and sensational, how do we maintain equilibrium? Collected resources on emotional intelligence to help.
Looking at the neuroscience of stress and anxiety offers practical strategies for us to “cook up” more happiness.
Learn the key difference of empathy vs. sympathy, including the most common sympathy traps. Plus tips to put empathy into action!
Why Six Seconds?
Why do leaders from places like the UN, FedEx, Amazon, Qatar Airways choose Six Seconds’ tools and methods?
- Global: Used in 157 countries & territories — this approach works everywhere.
- Scientific: The latest research creates a robust approach by the pioneers in EQ — these tools are reliable.
- Practical: It’s not enough to talk about emotional intelligence — Six Seconds helps you put it into action.
- Active Listening as a Leader: 4 Ways to Use Emotional Intelligence To Listen Well - July 12, 2021
- Head, Heart & Hands: What Makes Learning Work Best? - May 26, 2021
- Leading a Hybrid Workforce: What Google, Microsoft & Spotify Can Teach Managers About Emotional Intelligence for The Future of Work - May 25, 2021