Emotional intelligence for health

Intriguing study – more evidence that being smart with feelings is key to success in life. In this case – recovery from illness.

Those with low anger control produced higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which was in turn, associated with delayed healing.

Source: BBC NEWS | Health | Anger control key to recovery

While I’m not crazy about the phrase “anger control” (because “control” is the most superficial form of self-management – kind of like someone saying you should “control your wife”), the concept makes so much sense. Feelings tied to danger (ie, stress response) focus our body on short-term problems (fight the lion).

Likely one reason feelings like hope, courage, and compassion speed healing is that they reverse stress.

Overheard: “Doing my work”

celebration@ lunch today confess to eavesdropping (funny word) on 2 young women talking about their lives and decision to make conscious choice about how they want their days to add up into a life.

“I am getting sick of just drinking every day, so I guess I gotta spend my time with different people.”

They got talking about “doing my work” and the healing they both wanted to do.  On the one hand, it sounded like an OD of Dr Phil – every self-help cliche was coming out.  On the other I wanted to go hug them and give them my card.  I thought that might give away the fact that i was eavesdropping though….

And, on the 3rd hand (is there one?) I was wondering about “doing my work.”  I love the commitment to growth.  And I wonder:  Why is it work?

I mean, I get that it is.  Usually it feels like work to change and grow… it’s a real effort to stop doing the crappy-but-gratifying stuff and be a grownup instead (sigh).  But I also feel sad that it’s “work” to learn.

Emotional Intelligence in Redbook

I was interviewed for Feb ’07 Redbook article.  It’s always fun to see how these things come out…


“See” your feelings in full color.
Take a moment each day to imagine that you’re a blank wall waiting to be painted, suggests Joshua Freedman, of Six Seconds (6seconds.org), an emotional-intelligence website. “Let your imagination run wild as you assign colors to your feelings and paint your wall,” he says. Orange could signify frustration, for example: You might find that streaks of orange appear on your canvas when you interact with a certain coworker, indicating that it’s your relationship with that person — not your job itself — that’s causing you workday angst. “Monitoring your mural will help you sense your emotions more clearly,” says Freedman. And once you know your patterns, you can brainstorm and implement solutions for dealing with people and situations in a healthy, positive way.

I recall talking about an exercise along these lines, but I think I suggested actually taking a piece of paper and dividing it into blocks, then coloring the blocks to represent your different feelings of the day.  We typically have multiple feelings, and sometimes it’s hard to sort out!  Would be a cool journal exercise – no words, just color blocks.

Try it an post a comment!

Pick up this month’s Redbook – or you can see the article online:
Are You Smart About Your Feelings?  Five ways to boost your emotional intelligence.

Amazing “ethnography” about students

One of the most intriguing youtubes I’ve seen this year – students at Kansas State University and Mike Wesch (presumably the prof) put together this piece sharing some data about a group of 200 students. The result is a compelling “story” that traditional instruction is not going to cut it. Wearing my “EQ guy hat” I look at this as a cry for emotional intelligence — the need for educators and educational systems to get better at connecting w students at a deeper level and helping them capture not just facts, but also meaning! This reinforces Tessy’s post about multitasking (below).

Getting to the Heart of Leadership

Press Release on my new book: PR Web – At the Heart of Leadership

Web site: At the Heart of Leadership: How to Get Results with Emotional Intelligence
— a free excerpt of the book is available for download

Here’s more of the story from Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network:

New Book Teaches How To Get to The Heart of Leadership
Tools and Articles on EQ at WorkFor over a decade the concept of “emotional intelligence” has been a buzz around the world, and while many books have defined the concept, now there is finally a book which shows leaders how to apply it.In a business climate fraught with rapid change, globalization, and an elusive pool of top talent, how do leaders forge competitive advantage? The science of emotional intelligence provides critical insights into the answer, but how do leaders put the concept in action?

Whew – exciting hyperbole or what??? Cutting through the hype… I’m really proud about the book! There’s a ton of valuable ideas as well as a lot of science made practical. Not the “best thing since sliced bread,” but I am confident that leaders interested in actually USING emotional intelligence will find this to be a useful tool.

Workplace Coach: Don’t underestimate emotional intelligence

Seattle Post Intelligencer, 6/5/07

Couple quotes I liked:

You can’t change what you are unaware of in yourself. Being able to observe yourself in the heat of the moment is the first step to making a different choice versus your typical programmed emotional reaction.

This comment is key:

There is valuable information in emotions — if you can tune into that internal channel. Feelings can clue us in about the importance and meaning of an event, situation or interaction.

Would be nice to see more depth in what appears in popular media. “Emotions matter” is a good start though!

Crossing the Cultural Divide with Emotional Intelligence

Crossing the Cultural Divide with Emotional Intelligence
Joshua Freedman
Published March 2007

A few excerpts…

Is there a way to cut across cultural difference and understand one another at a human level? If we access the intelligence of emotions, are we just using another cultural filter, or does universality exist? Are some aspects of emotional intelligence (EQ) more or less influenced by culture? And how do we use this concept to improve performance?

One of the areas with the greatest difference is optimism. Because optimism is linked closely with performance, this finding has important implications for performance management. When people from the Americas and Asia work together, they often assess risk differently. Those from the Americas are more likely to see possible solutions and have an expectation they can affect the outcome. Coupled with research indicating optimism scores predict performance scores, this finding suggests managers from the Americas might under-evaluate the performance of their Asian team members. Conversely, it suggests Asians who want to excel in a multinational company will benefit by developing this learnable skill.

The cross-cultural aspect of emotional intelligence is of particular importance in a global economy. To the extent that emotions are a universal language and that people in all cultures and places share a similar view of traits such as integrity and authenticity, the ability to “read and write the language of emotions” is an invaluable asset.

EQ for Geeks?

New on 6seconds.org:

Despite their super-human capacity for making computers communicate, many “geeks” (AKA “IT Professionals”) are challenged by the traditional human-to-human interface. Yet as key players in any business unit, today’s IT experts have to get beyond their “left-brain” genius. While some think techies lack an understanding of emotions, new research by Six Seconds Consulting Group proves otherwise.

Check out the White Paper: Increasing Emotional Intelligence

New article – interview w Daniel Goleman

I recently interviewed Dan Goleman about Social Intelligence, leadership, and emotional intelligence. Check out the full Neural Leadership article here.

“Mirror neurons are a kind of ‘neural wi-fi’ that monitors what is happening in the other people. This system tracks their emotions, what movements they’re making, what they intend and it activates, in our brains, precisely the same brain areas as are active in the other person,” Goleman explains. “This puts us on the same wavelength and it does it automatically, instantaneously and unconsciously.”