Apr 09, 2015

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Mindfulness, and In-the-Zone Therapy – 2


As you read my first post on the subject Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Mindfulness, and In-the-Zone Therapy, you may have wondered about the connection between Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness. If you research both, what you’ll discover is that Emotional Intelligence can be perceived as an updated and abbreviated version of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is deeply rooted in Eastern Religious Philosophy and trains its students to manage their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. It has been around for thousands of years and is closely associated with meditation. In fact, meditation and trance states are important part of Mindfulness. To illustrate, imagine that you get that feeling in your “gut” that signals to you that something just isn’t right, or that you get that “sick” feeling immediately following making a decision and you just know that it was the wrong decision. Have that? Good. So, you’ve just experienced what is known in Mindfulness as “Noting” and you experienced being a state of trance as you stopped and experienced all the feelings, emotions, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes associated with it. What can usually cause people problems are the following:
1) They aren’t aware that they have a choice of what they can do with all of those sensations
2) They create full association to the experience and deepen it

According to Psychology Today’s definition of Emotional Intelligence, a person is intentionally aware of their own emotions and those of others, they are able to harness and apply those emotions to tasks, and they are able to manage and regulate their own emotions and those of others. Mindfulness is the tactical part of Emotional Intelligence. Here is Psychology Today’s definition of Mindfulness: “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” It’s the strategy and the “how-to” behind the scenes that makes Emotional Intelligence work. In a very abbreviated version, here’s how:

When a person becomes aware of an emotion, a sensation, a belief, or a thought (good or bad) they have 90-seconds to decide what they will do with it before their mind goes into “default” mode and creates a mind-loop for it to exist within. Not only is this part of a thousands-of-years-old philosophy, it is a proven event through recent Neuro-Science. In those 90-seconds, Mindfulness teaches that you three options; 1) Noting. During “Noting” you the options of identifying with the emotion, sensation, etc. and fixate on it, holding onto it inappropriately; you can suppress the experience by stuffing it down, and denying it; or, you can choose a point between suppression and identification – the balanced state of non-self interference of equanimity. The other option in those 90-seconds are 2) Do Nothing, which means that you let happen whatever is going to happen, or 3) Nurture Positive, which means that you actively create positive images and talk. These prime the pump for pleasant emotional body sensations—joy, interest, enthusiasm, love, friendliness, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness and so forth.

Of course, there is much more to learn in addition to this snippet, but even this little bit of information helps you appreciate that, as Emotional Intelligence teaches, we aren’t victims to our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. We have choices. And, by acknowledging that we have choices, we then begin to fit the definition of Emotional Intelligence of being intentionally aware of our own emotions and those of others, we are able to harness and apply those emotions to tasks, and we are able to manage and regulate our own emotions and those of others. As one last thought on Mindfulness, in addition to the equanimity (balance) that is acquired through practice, two other important elements can become a part of us; Concentration Power and Sensory Clarity. And, I wonder, what it would be like to experience Concentration Power, Sensory Clarity, and Equanimity to the fullest degree?

I’ve covered Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the connection it has with Mindfulness. Both can seem to be very daunting to learn and become skilled at. There are companies that offer to train people these skills for several thousand dollars over the course of multiple days, even weeks. Suppose a person could have these skills instilled in them in a matter of hours. Be looking for the final part in this series of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Mindfulness, and In-the-Zone Therapy.

Creating a life in froward motion

Dr. Edward Lewellen