Boost Your Emotional Intelligence with SHF

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence with SHF
Photo by Alexas_Fotos / Unsplash

Hello! I recently attended a small women's leadership training where Emotional Intelligence was discussed and the conversation reminded me about my first encounters with Emotional Intelligence.

I remember it was a strange day in my career when we were encouraged to explore emotions at work. As a professional, I had more often been encouraged to leave my personal life and emotions at home.

Sadly, I never questioned that. It made sense at the time. I worked as an engineer, so most of my work was based on facts. We asked questions like, "What was our expected outcome?", "Who contributed to the outcome?", and "How did their work influence what we accomplished?"

On the flip side, we didn't ask how someone actually felt about us, their job. No one seemed to care if a case of the grumpies had any impact on our work.

Painted eggs expressing a range of emotions from joy to depression.
Photo by Tengyart / Unsplash

So in that kind of atmosphere, it was easy for me to forget I was human and that I had a lot of stuff tugging at my attention day and day out, including emotions. I certainly didn't have the See Hear Feel technique available to me either back then.

But the good news is, if you are reading this, you do!

If you're not familiar with See Hear Feel, here's an overview. First, it is a great way to tune into your feeling experience. It is also one of the easiest techniques to use on the go, so you can get into your real time experience with ease. And that's important when we're talking about emotions. We only have seconds, if we're lucky, to turn a conversation that's gone sideways around.

And we all know that having choice about how our feelings impact us is super important for Emotional Intelligence. Think about how many times our emotions get the best of us?

Like I said, I didn't have See Hear Feel to work with in most of my career back then so I had, uh, oh so many reactive moments, (more than I'd like to admit). But you can be more skillful than I was.

Let's go back to Emotional Intelligence and that conversation I'm reflecting on as I write this post. What I notice about Emotional Intelligence discussions is they often feature encouragement for us to be curious and open about others' emotions.

And this is a fine stance but I'd like to take it a step farther because my personal experience with cultivating Emotional Intelligence tells me that we are better at detecting emotions in others when we have experience detecting our own.

Knowing what's going on within us not only helps us sense another's emotional state better but helps us approach the situation with empathy. Empathy seems to be a natural side effect from being able to detect and welcome our own emotions.

Together Gratify
When we become aware of our own emotional struggle, we naturally have more patience and understanding with another's. 

If you'd like to boost your Emotional Intelligence work, I suggest working with the See Hear Feel technique to get to know your emotions better. Within See Hear Feel, we use an approach called noting which helps us acknowledge and stay with what's going on for a few seconds.

As you practice this finding and acknowledging stance more and more, you become more skilled at uncovering your emotional life with greater clarity.

Though See Hear Feel covers all our sense categories: sight, sound and physical sensations, we're specifically focusing on the Feel category in this post. I'll write another post on how focusing on the other two categories can help you manage difficult conversations better.

For now I'm just trying to build a bridge between your attention and that emotional world of yours. When you work intentionally on finding and acknowledging emotions, a whole new level of information comes to light within your attention. Sometimes it's just for a moment. But a moment is good, the more you work at it, the more your skills increase until you are able to follow the ebbs and flows of your emotions real time.

Oh, and focusing gently on the feeling part of your sensory experience helps you understand the quality of your emotional experience, too. Great news because the more you purposely place and keep your attention on your emotions, the easier will be to detect where they occur and how long they last.

Instagram : @kpbiglife
Photo by Prateek Katyal / Unsplash

So learning how to place and keep your attention on emotions for a few moments at a time helps you really get good at real time interpersonal communication. With enough skill you become known for taking what I call restful action, the ability to stay present in a way that allows you to calmly respond to a situation with Emotional Intelligence.  

I hope this peeked your interest. If you'd like to learn more about how to boost your emotional intelligence with mindfulness. let's talk.