Emotional Intelligence Helps NFL Players “Win at Life”

“We’re learning that emotional intelligence is an important ingredient in helping professional athletes live healthy and successful lives”
– National Football League Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw

A study of retired NFL players and EQ compares players’ emotional intelligence with life success — including good health, positive relationships, avoiding drug/alcohol use & violence, financial strength, and quality of life.  Among the 30 athletes we studied over 60% in the variation of these important factors are predicted by emotional intelligence scores.  So there is a massive correlation between high EQ skills and life success.

This is an important study because NFL players are extremely influential as role models – and despite their incredible success in making it to the top of the  game, there are so many struggles off the field. We can now pinpoint specific, learnable skills that will make a difference for these guys – for life.  While the NFL is a very big, economically driven business, the growing interest in emotional intelligence could be a sign of commitment to the larger impact of the sport in our society.

Jasmine, Insecurity, and Being Stuck

jasmineIt feels like summertime here – glorious, peaceful, and relaxed. The scent of jasmine is pouring in through my office windows along with the gently cooling evening air.

Yesterday I was talking with a client/friend about where he needs to put energy in his business. Hands down: “relationships.” Reaching out and connecting, mostly externally and also internally. He admitted he wasn’t doing it the way he wanted, and part of me wanted to say, “but that’s so easy!”

Then I realized that his reason for not doing this is much the same as my reason for not exercising (something he’s great at, by the way): In two completely different challenges, we each feel inadequate – incompetent – and without real hope that our efforts will work.

And we each find it incredibly difficult to persevere… and all too easy to slide that task to the bottom of the pile. I am sure there is value and insight in this feeling, some clarity to be found, but even in this quite jasmine gentleness of evening, the wisdom is beyond me.

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.

Fight for Your Life: Marital Arguments + Longevity

Is it emotionally intelligent to fight? New study from University of Michigan divides 192 couples 3 groups based on “unfair attacks”:

  1. both partners communicate their anger;
  2. one spouse expresses while the other suppresses;
  3. both suppress their anger and brood.

Preliminary finding after 17 years is that group 3 is at risk. Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus with the U-M School of Public Health and the Psychology Department, and lead author:

“When both spouses suppress their anger at the other when unfairly attacked, earlier death was twice as likely than in all other types.” Source: Physorg

Sometimes people think emotional intelligence is the same as “being nice.” Based on this data, though, the intelligent use of emotion is to fight! Or maybe to fight nicely.