Mind Over Mood: Two Strategies for Improving Your E.Q.
Friday, February 05, 2016
Good news! Although you can’t as easily improve your I.Q., emotional intelligence can be vastly improved. Here are just a couple of ways to begin to raise your E.Q.
1. Think about your thoughts.
Most of us learned the childhood proverb: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” The truth is, however, that words do affect our psyche.
To begin improving your E.Q. and achieve lasting change, you will have to consider both the words you are using and the thoughts you are thinking. New expectations and beliefs will have to replace old ones while new cognitions replace automatic negative thoughts. You’ll need to train yourself to recognize unhealthy thinking for what it is… a bad habit that leads to poor self-worth and an even worse mood.
The goal is to systematically challenge and dispute your thoughts, discover if they are valid, and question their accuracy. By analyzing and reflecting on what you are thinking, you will be able to see if you are playing old, dysfunctional messages in your brain. In order to evaluate your thinking, you must learn to listen to yourself and others, watching carefully how you categorize events in your life.
You’ll want to keep an eye on your memories as well, for they can be easily skewed. Some life experiences naturally make more of an impression than others. Stressful moments and upsetting events can be much more memorable than the mundane. In many cases, the stronger the emotional response, the more vivid the memory. It is up to us to put our memories, no matter how unforgettable, into perspective while challenging distorted patterns of thinking.
The key to controlling your thoughts is realizing that you are the cinema manager. If a mental movie creates problems, you can switch to another film.
Begin to “think about your thoughts.” Is your mind always in overdrive, expecting the worst? Do others generally consider you to be a pessimist? Do you tend to talk using absolute words such as all, always, completely, no one, must, none, never, everything, totally, or nothing? Have you caught the highly contagious virus of I-can’t-stand-it-itis? Is your dialect composed of the HTAs (Horrible-Terrible-Awfuls)?
2. Remember that positive change can be painful.
When we think, feel, or do something that’s the opposite of what we are used to doing, we sometimes experience a strange emotion referred to as “cognitive-emotive dissonance.” Like a left-handed person trying to write with the opposite hand, things just “feel wrong.” Cognitive-emotive dissonance is unavoidable in life. No matter how hard we try, we will experience or be exposed to things that seem unusual or wrong. Changes we make in life, even good changes, often result in an out-of-sync feeling.
When we start feeling happy after years of depression, or someone treats us well after years of abuse, cognitive-dissonance is likely to rise. Marrying after years of singlehood, becoming wealthy after decades of poverty, or getting promoted from the factory line to top management are also good changes that can be sources of serious cognitive dissonance.
Stopping the cycle of unhealthy recurring thought patterns will take patience and, quite possibly, hard work. Taking an honest look at your thoughts and evaluating them for accuracy and truth will require diligence.
The process of positive change can be painful, but you can improve your E.Q., and with it, your prospect for personal happiness. Despite whatever effort may be involved, the success, happiness, and improved relationships you’ll enjoy because of your heightened E.Q. will make your efforts in this valuable pursuit well worth it.
Article Courtesy of Vibrant Life. Vibrant Life is a health magazine we encourage you to read. They share Christ's ministry by providing information and encouragement that will help you live abundantly. To learn more about Vibrant Life visit VibrantLife.com