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Mar212012

« 3. Develop emotional intelligence: Write your feelings »

Written by Rachel Green, Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute.

There are many different activities you can engage in to develop your emotional intelligence at work.

Most of us have not grown up in emotionally intelligent societies, schools or families and thus our potential emotional intelligence has seldom developed to its fullest. Completing emotional intelligence activities for adults can make a difference therefore.

If you are designing an EQ program for yourself or your team at work, these are useful activities to add.

Various articles will cover a small selection of the hundreds of emotional intelligence activities available. This one will help you develop the second emotional intelligence competency on the Genos emotional intelligence model: Emotional self-expression.

How good are you at expressing your emotions clearly?

Once you know how you feel you then need to be able to understand why you feel the way you do and decide whether it needs to be expressed and, if it does, how you will express it. There are many layers to each of the emotional intelligence competencies.

Emotional intelligence activity: Write your feelings in a journal

Write down your feelings in a journal, each day for four weeks.

Expressing your feelings doesn't simply mean you have to tell someone, it means being able to identify the feelings and expressing them in some way that is helpful. That is what it means to be emotionally intelligent.

If it's an unpleasant feeling, such as bitterness, frustration, embarrassment, resentment, jealousy, or helplessness, you may simply write down how you feel and what has triggered the feeling, and all the thoughts and associated feelings you have.

You may then write down what in your worst moments you'd like to do in response. Then move on to writing down what other options you have for managing it.

I have personally used this technique successfully for years. What helps me most is simply writing a free flow of consciousness. I write without editing until I've got all the feelings out of my system and on to paper.

This is especially helpful when I am feeling strong or hard-to-access "negative emotions". It is also very helpful when I have emotions that I don't need and don't want to share with others, but I still wish to feel them, own them, express them, and learn from them, before allowing them full release.

I may also do this when I do want to talk to someone about how I feel, but first I want to be very clear about the exact emotion I am experiencing, and why I am feeling like this. I write first, and only talk later so that I can communicate clearly without doing an emotional dump on someone else.

I often find the feelings ease. I come to a greater understanding of the issues and what was behind my reactions.

After this, I sometimes find I need do nothing else, or else it becomes clearer to me what action I could take that is emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence activity: Four questions to ask each day

Writing in a journal for 10 minutes a day can be a great help in developing your emotional intelligence.

Here are four questions you might like to answer as you write in your journal:

  • What upset me today?
  • Why did I get upset?
  • What could I have done to avoid becoming upset?
  • What can I do to help me not to get upset next time?

These questions will help you understand your emotional triggers, and that is all part of being emotionally intelligent.

What is your EQ?

EI skills: Develop your emotional intelligence skills, now

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional intelligence, we have barely touched the surface in this article. If you'd like yourself or your team to enhance your emotional intelligence skills, the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:
  1. There are top quality CDs, books and DVDs, including the very practical 2 DVD program: "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".
  2. There is a series of advanced emotional intelligence master-classes.
  3. There are high energy, interactive and practical emotional intelligence workshops. An excellent one to begin with is "Mastering emotional intelligence".
  4. There is a dynamic keynote speech "High on emotional intelligence" which enables you to present the key concepts of emotional intelligence to your whole workforce in one go, at your annual conference or PD day.
  5. There is superior, skills-based, 1-1 emotional intelligence coaching.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.