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.
If we do not regulate our body and emotions, 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 reply 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 on 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, 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 we don’t like, such as anger, sadness or fear, our body signals us to regulate. If we do not restrict right then and there, we react, which is 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 react. Still, if we can stop the “amygdala hi-jack,” we will make better choices, leading 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!