R is for Regulate
“The emotionally intelligent person is skilled in four areas: identifying emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions, and regulating emotions” – John Mayer-
Regulating ourselves and our emotions is the key to a healthy mind and happy life.l.
If we do not regulate our body and emotions then we are at the mercy of our mind and happiness and we will get stuck reacting internally to external circumstances.
If, however, when we get overwhelmed (which happens to almost everyone from time to time) we stop, breathe and regulate our response, that is what it becomes. A response instead of a reaction.
Daniel Goleman speaks about this eloquently in his book Emotional Intelligence calling it ‘Amygdala Hijack’.
The author says if we feel ‘Amygdala Hijack’ coming on, there is a second or two where we can make a decision of how to respond. If we regulate ourselves at that moment, we respond with control, if we don’t, we react.
When we react blindly and unwillingly, that is when we say and do things that we usually regret.
It is when we are repeating programs from our past, a subconscious rewind if you will, of a former time, event or reaction that we are not in control of. The result is that it usually doesn’t end well for us or those around us.
Goleman determines that Emotional Intelligence or EQ is more important than IQ.
When we notice a feeling that we don’t like such as anger, sadness or fear, that is our body signalling us to regulate. If we do not regulate right then and there, then we react, never a good idea.
When we regulate our emotions, we are in control of our response to things that unfold in our inner and outer world.
Responding instead of reacting can require breathing, praying or meditating (even journalling) about something before we respond but if we can stop the “amygdala hi-jack”, then we will make better choices and better choices lead to a better life.
As you go through your day today, notice the times when you respond and react. Awareness is always the starting point!