Mar 16, 2015

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

Stephen Covey said that EQ is more important than IQ and many people agree. Many highly intelligent people lack the needed skills to reach their full potential. Skills, such as, empathy, understanding others emotions, understanding their own emotions, and the ability to manage all of the foregoing. So, in this series of posts, I’ll discuss what EQ is, what its cousin Mindfulness is, and lastly, how “In-the-Zone” Therapy can give you it all in less than 5 hours. Let’s start with the definition of Emotional Intelligence from a credible source:

Psychology Today defines EQ as the following
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;

3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

Let’s take a look at each of the EQ components listed above.

The ability to manage the use of our emotions and those of others. Is that really possible? According Dr. Eric Kandel, Neuropsychiatrist and Nobel Prize winner, “No!” Or, at least, not totally. Here’s why: In the human brain we have several areas that are involved in how our emotions are displayed and how we interpret others’ emotions. The Pre-frontal Cortex is where we create our strategies and, in combination of other areas of the brain, we make choices, such as how we will manage our behaviors. In the center of the brain is the Amygdala. The Amygdala is the part of our brain that is fed sensory input and is the primary output of emotions and motivation. There is a connection between out Pre-frontal Cortex and the Amygdala…but, it is a One-Way Street and it runs from the Amygdala to the Pre-frontal Cortex. What does that mean for you and me? That emotions can be sent to the area where we make decisions, causing emotional behavior, but not from where we make decisions to the emotions. In other words, we cannot totally control our emotions through strategy because there isn’t a direct connection from strategy to emotions.

Another aspect of our Emotional Intelligence is the emotional awareness of others. We have neurons that help us anticipate what is potentially going to happen and they are called Mirror or Predictor Neurons. Predictor Neurons help us create the understanding of what’s happening around us by “filling in the blanks” and predicting intentions & actions, as well as creating self-awareness and social mimicry (rapport). There are three levels of Predictor Neurons; 1) Immediate, which focus on behaviors and actions, 2) Mid-level, which focus on predicting the beliefs of another person, and 3) Long-term, which focuses on preferences and personalities. I share all of that with you because it forms the basis for this important point; Your Predictor Neurons are affected by your past experiences. For example, if you’ve seen a person in that past with a certain expression on their face and they were angry with you, then, even if you’ve just met a person, you’ll interpret anger as the emotion they’re feeling if they have that same expression. Once this occurs, all the previous sensations you felt at that time are elicited…and you respond accordingly.

Last, harnessing our emotions, and those of others, to put to good use. Have you ever experienced the following?

1) You were in a certain situation and you went into a high state of focus. You were in the groove, in the zone, and very effective.
2) Your senses suddenly became clearer. Everything seemed unusually vivid and rich.
3) You felt some physical, emotional, and/or mental discomfort. For some reason, you stopped fighting and resisting it and just decided to let it flow through you. When you did, the problem or suffering seeming to diminish greatly, maybe even totally vanish.

What would it be like to be able to enter those experiences (states) any time you desired? Is it possible to do so?

This is the first in a series of posts that I’m making about Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, and In-the-Zone Therapy. I invite you to follow along with the series to discover how you can experience a richer, fuller, and more satisfying life!

Creating life in forward motion,
Dr. Edward Lewellen