What could be meant by emotional intelligence activities? When Daniel Goleman first published his work, I found it very useful to use the concepts with my court ordered anger management and domestic violence clients.
In particular, the idea of amygdala high jack was useful because it allowed me to describe the hard wiring we all have which impacts behavior.
I also talked about the three layers of the brain and in particular emphasized the role of the limbic system in emotions, and how to generate positive feelings more frequently.
But the primary emphasis was on how a child's brain is impacted by witnessing violence and how fast that happens.
If a human brain perceives that it is in danger, the chemistry of flight or fight or freeze is generated in about 1/18th second, or twice as fast as I can blink my eyes, and if that brain perceives that it is about to die, the amygdala stores that intense chemistry and has the memory available from that moment on. (By contrast, Paul Ekman says we can respond to facial expressions, which we may not even perceive consciously, in 1/25th second).
At any moment subsequent to the storage of that memory, if the amygdala interprets sensory data passing by on the way to the thalamus as similar (does not have to be an exact match) to the data from the memory, it may high jack the body, and flood it with stress hormones faster than I can speak, and before I can create words, my body is moving to fight, freeze, or flee.
So emotional intelligence activities, which we have all learned well and used successfully many times, have to be in place and available for very fast retrieval.
One emotional intelligence activity that is very useful and easy to recall when I am flooded with stress hormones is breathing, deep breathing, down into the belly, like a baby breathes, in for a count of three, hold for a count of three, out for a count of three.
The deep breathing provides an opportunity for the body to generate some new hormones and neurotransmitters very quickly that can provide an antidote for the stress hormones as fast as I can take a deep breath.
Anther very powerful emotional intelligence activity that I like is to cue up my HeartMath process, which is a learned skill which brings my heart into a coherent beat in the proverbial "heartbeat", and changes the chemistry of my body just as fast, which may break down the fight or flight response appropriately.
The nice thing about a biofeedback tool like HeartMath is that it is learned.
In otherwords, I can make it a routine practice to cue a feel good coherent heart rate every five minutes, and I do not see why we do not all do that.
However there is more to the emotional intelligence issues.
Researchers are struggling to define what emotional intelligence means, and how to research so that useful information can be generated for us.
Marketers are not so constrained, so there are a number of programs for business and schools available, including programs based on the work of Daniel Goleman, who I mentioned above, and I think Goleman's work dovetails with Martin Seligman's work on Positive Psychology, and the role of optimism.
But for now, there are five competencies in Emotional Intelligence;
5. Effective Relationships.
And of course, it all starts in the brain, so be sure to challenge your brain with any of these programs.
Emotional Intelligence Training
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.
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