LIONMIND - STEP 5

Strengthen your Mind and Spirit with the LionMind Agenda - 8x mental skills for a calm mind, free spirit and brave heart.

STRENGTHEN YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE


You are not your feelings, you have feelings. Emotions are data from your body and soul, accumulated knowledge and important messages. But they are not YOU. When you learn how to flow with your emotions, without being swept away and owned by them, your life becomes strong, real and adventurous. And you become more curious than afraid of feeling life as it is. More free and open to other peoples feelings.

Emotional intelligence is a skill. By strengthening your ability to listen and understand your feelings and where they are coming from, without judging or being hijacked, life expands.You improve your ability to stay with your life-force and at the same time be in charge of your reactions and behaviors.

Next time you feel overwhelmed by emotion, try to turn on your curiosity. Where does the feeling come from in your body? Heart region? Throat? How's your pulse? How long does it linger? What thoughts are connected to it. Observe without acing on it. By making space for emotions, we also become more open to meet and accept other people's feelings.

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

 

YOGA

Emotional researchers describe emotions as different levels of energy and mood. Yoga is simply a way to get in touch with your emotions, our inner mood, a practice to influence and regulate our inner state. Maybe you have experienced being moved to tears during or after a yoga class. Suppressed emotions surface when tension softens, as we relax in both muscle and mind. When your physical body relax it provides space for our innermost being.

We spend so much time in a "DOING" state, at the cost of just ”BEING”. A yoga class allows us to open up to emotional information, that for some reason has been pushed aside. Yoga also has the power to empower emotional states; power, focus, pure joy or euphoria, not to mention the long lasting mental energy from being present in the moment.

The practice of yoga makes us more mindful and present. That alone strengthen our ability to listen. I mean really listen, within and to other people. Yoga is also a brilliant breathing practice. By becoming more conscious about your breathing patterns, you will be able to regulate your inner pace, mood and focus.

Emotional intelligence

That said, emotional intelligence is highly trainable. It is all about the skills of understanding and regulating emotions. There is rich telling us how the practice influences performance, koncentration, health, aging, mental states and relationships.

By being emotional intelligent, you can live a switched on life.

The better you know yourself and also recognize your dark emotions, the more situations and relationships you can handle, and your experience of life becomes even more balanced.  What´s important is that you can distinguish between having a feeling, and being a feeling.

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Mindfulness and emotion

When researchers studied the brain's structures in conjunction with mindfulness training, it has been found that the brain repairs itself by meditation training. Insula is an area in the neocortex (the area that thinks) that regulates empathy and thought, and the experience of the body as it is and not as the stories the brain itself serves. In mindfulness training, we have been able to measure a greater distance between Insula and the prefrontal cortex - the place where all our inner stories live. This means that when we train ourselves in mindfulness, we strengthen ourselves in the ability not to fall into stories, gossip and negative thinking that often tend to be exaggerated and fiery. We become stronger in choosing emotion over thought, and above all we become stronger in the thought of ourselves and others.

Another thing you find is that the amygdala - the area that regulates emotions and is linked to the fight or flight function - is calmed down. With stress and mindlessness, the amygdala is over activated and sometimes enlarged. After mindfulness training, it decreases in size.

Emotional intelligence (EQ)

The concept of emotional intelligence was coined by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s and still stands today as one of the most important intelligences for both success and mental health.

EQ differs from the usual concept of intelligence in that it is not fixed - it is highly coachable

Exercises:
  1. Be curious about your feelings. How does your body feel when you are sad, angry, happy, calm? How do you breathe, where in the body is the tension situated and how long does it last?

  2. Read about Moodmeter (there is a section in the book The Lion Agenda, but also good material online). How do you usually;

  • Correct your energy?
  • Correct your inner mood?