RECOGNISING EMOTIONS

I like to start new year with good news. One of those is that my husband's company (www.realeyes.com) have just signed an agreement with MediaCom – one of the world's leading media agencies. What is interesting about this deal – is that Realeyes product is about tracking emotions and this signals that marketing agencies increasingly realise the importance of understanding consumers' emotions when designing campaigns.

While marketing has its own interest in emotions tracking, whole organisations should focus on building emotional intelligence capabilities in their people. This Forbes article indicates, that the ability to manage emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to the performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. Besides that, being able to manage own emotions contribute to a happier and healthier life.

However, when we grow up we are seldom taught on how to recognise our own emotions and emotions of others. Usually we are taught to 'hide' and 'bottle up' emotions and we struggle with this later on in our lives.

So, no doubt building up own emotional intelligence is an important task and the question now is HOW to do that?

Generally EI refers to two kinds of focus.

A: an inward awareness of our thoughts and our feelings, and applying that in managing our upsets and focus on our goals.

B: a focus on others, to empathize and understand them, and on the basis of this to have effective interactions and relationships.

It is possible to develop emotional intelligence through practice. The obvious start is to increase the self-awareness and start listening to your emotions. This is the basis before you continue to developing your social skills.

1. Check-in with yourself. Sit down at least twice a day and ask, "How am I feeling?" It may take a little time for the feelings to arise. Allow yourself that small space of time, uninterrupted.

2. Label your emotions. Some suggestions for labels might be single words like fear, anger, joy, or sadness. You can use different words like 'fed up', 'tired and worn out' or whatever suits you. Practice recognising and labelling the positive emotions as well.

3. Be in the moment and don't judge or edit your feelings too quickly. Try not to dismiss your feelings, 'hear' them as they happen. What are they telling you? Healthy emotions often rise and fall in a wave, rising, peaking, and fading naturally. Your aim should be not to cut off the wave before it peaks.

4. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. When a difficult feeling arises, ask yourself, "When have I felt this feeling before?" Doing this may help you to realize if your current emotional state is reflective of the current situation, or of another time in your past.

5. Connect your feelings with your thoughts. When you feel something that strikes you as out of the ordinary, it is always useful to ask, "What do I think about that?" Often times, one of our feelings will contradict others. That's normal. Listening to your feelings is like listening to all the witnesses in a court case. Only by admitting all the evidence will you be able to reach the best verdict.

6. Listen to your body. A knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress. A flutter of the heart when you pick up a girl you have just started to date may be a clue that this could be "the real thing." Listening to these sensations and the underlying feelings that they signal will allow you to process with your powers of reason.

7. Write thoughts and feelings down. Research has shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help profoundly. A simple exercise like this could take only a few hours per week.



If you'd like to evaluate your level of emotional intelligence, you can try the following tests

- https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/ei-quiz.htm

If you're interested in reading more about Emotional Intelligence, have a look at this website - http://www.eiconsortium.org/index.html

If you're interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, I suggest doing the following online course - https://www.coursera.org/course/lead-ei