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Innovative Techniques for Learning Emotional Intelligence

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Innovative Techniques for Learning Emotional Intelligence

Put simply, EQ is the awareness and control of emotions. It has been found to determine overall life fulfillment. So learning EQ is crucial for everyone. In this post, I tell you the current state of EQ education, why it isn’t working and how EQnow is revolutionizing the way we learn and increase emotional intelligence.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is considered a predicator of success, in both life and work. Introduced in the 90’s, EQ makes so much sense it’s kinda crazy we weren’t focused on it before. Read more about the benefits here.

EQ is important now more than ever. And while research is catching up, we have another, more pressing issue to focus on: How do we actually learn EQ? And then after we learn it, how do we incorporate it into our lives?

Current State of Emotional Intelligence

There aren’t many learning resources available:

  • Therapeutic practices like CBT aren’t easily accessible or feasible with everyday use. (Think of those thought journals everyone sells but the large majority of buyers ditch after a couple weeks.)
  • Self-help and business books (while likely written with good intentions) don’t give any lasting or long term success. As Daniel Kahneman explains inThinking, Fast and Slow, “Books available to us are tailored to reassure messages of illusion to us.”
  • Recycles inspiration quotes create a momentary positive outlook but fall flat. Recycled so many times they start to lose meanings. They don’t tell us anything useful like how to do something. Yeah, yeah, love yourself.. but how?
  • Products marketed to help are only helping opportunists and capitalism. Self-help has become a booming industry and marketplace, but people are still lost.
  • A lot of experts or those offering help don’t know how to. They are trying but their applications are falling short.

Desired, Future-state of Emotional Intelligence

While beneficial, CBT and therapeutic techniques aren’t practical. They don’t easily incorporate into our current, fast paced lives. Business books and quotes aren’t helping either. We need something that we can apply and develop. We need something that will help us incorporate EQ into our lives.

Thats where EQnow comes in. After decades of research, experimentation and trial and error we have created a modern day, comprehensive resource for learning EQ. With EQnow you will not only learn EQ you will incorporate EQ into your life and create a lasting and positive impact.

How EQnow works

The idea is simple. Learning EQ requires concentration on two processes:

  1. Learn the vocabulary (EQnow Glossary of terms here.)
  2. Practice and change habits

Learn the Vocabulary of Emotional Intelligence

Think of it, anyone can critique food, but there are professional food critiques. The differentiation is due to the professionals ability to put their pallet into words. They’ve developed a certain vocabulary. Learning the vocabulary around EQ is based on the same reasoning.

We need to learn the vocabulary to define our experiences, thoughts and emotions. Defining them is part of the process of being aware of them. When we are aware of our thoughts and emotions we are able to then determine how to effectively manage and control them. We are able to communicate what we are thinking and feeling to ourselves and others.

Practice and Change Habits for Increased Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence also involved emotional regulation, response and control. This will likely involve ditching some bad habits. And as the saying goes, old habits die hard.But don’t fret!

EQnow has created repeatable daily habits that can be practiced anywhere by anyone to help them ditch bad habits. We will guide you and help with this very changeling and rewarding process.

Get Started Now

No matter where you are starting, you can increase your EQ. You can have a better, more meaningful life. Start now by learning the vocabulary and incorporating positive EQ habits.

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Why EQ Is Important… Now More Than Ever

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a term that is often heard but rarely understood. Put simply, EQ is the ability to be aware of and to control feelings and emotions. A more detailed description would mention a full range of abilities regarding emotions including: awareness, control and management. It would not be complete without reference to our ability to relate to and have empathy for others.

EQ contributes to how we handle ourselves. It involves understanding what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. It determines how we cope, express ourselves, develop & maintain friendships and perceive the world around us. It can be the difference between finding fulfillment and feeling hopeless. It is considered a predicator of success in life and work.

It doesn’t take much to find indicators that EQ is needed more now than ever. Emotions are getting out of control in dangerous ways. New terms such as “Ken” and “Karen” define those with low EQ who flip out in the public arena. At the time of writing, 20 people a minute are physically abused by an emotionally ignorant partner. The drug and overdose epidemic, skyrocketing depression, anxiety and suicide rates – all results of poor emotional management.

Whatever their upbringing, background or story, it is important for every person to start learning about their emotions and to focus on emotional management and development.

EQ is inviting us to start the conversation. To learn about our emotions and to understand the inner-working of our minds. To reflect on our thoughts, and to make sure we are utilizing them to our advantage so we can live a fulfilling and successful life.

With emotional intelligences one would hope that abusers would learn that there is no justification for their actions. However, the biggest impacts lies in EQs ability to empower the victims and survivors of abuse so that they may reclaim their right to be who they are and live comfortably without fear. To let a bullied school child know they are not alone. To help those who are sad or silently suffering and let them know they are not alone either.

EQ will guide and introduce us not only to ourselves but to one another. It will give us the courage to say, “hey, I don’t know what you are going through but I can understand what it is like to feel like crap.” To find unity and togetherness in a world where we are so easily turned against each other. To find a semblance of hope in an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation and to retain clarity in an uncontrollable and unpredictable world.

To learn and understand emotions we need to know the vocabulary around them. For the EQ glossary of terms click here.

References: https://ncadv.org/statistics

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If You’re Gonna Talk Shit, Say It to My Face

Talking shit, gossiping, or talking badly about others is something we are subjected to all throughout our lives, to the point it may seem normal.

When we were kids we could hear our parents talking trash on neighbors and relatives, in school we witnessed kids gossiping about others, and as adults the gossip and trash talking doesn’t stop. It might be masked better with passive aggressive comments, snickering and normalized gossip magazines, but it doesn’t stop.

We may be so used to trash talking and gossip that we don’t even realize we are doing it. But just because it’s normalize, doesn’t mean it’s good. Gossip and trash talk is unproductive and keeping you stuck. So you need to be aware of it, and how you respond to it, if you want to be happy and live a fulfilling life.

In this article we will talk about:

Why Trash Talking Is Negatively Impactful

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Gets you Stuck. If you don’t want to face something difficult, you may occupy your mind with gossip over celebrities or other people. This may make you feel good in the moment, but like with any procrastination, it will hurt you in the long run. Because you aren’t evaluating and improving yourself, you’re evaluating others.
  2. Breads Negativity. Kind, happy, well-rounded people don’t gossip or talk shit on others, they’re too busy living their best life. Trash talking makes you feel negative and spreads negativity because it stems from negativity.
  3. Creates Anxiety. Trash talking and gossip creates anxiety because when you trash talk others you start to assume others are trash talking you. So if someone makes a weird face you may think it’s because they don’t like you, when really it’s because they just farted.
  4. Unhealthy Social Connections. Trash talking can feel fun. And it can make us feel connected to others when we trash talk the same person. But connecting over trash talking is a negatively impactful social connection.
  5. Encourages Self-Hatred. Not having love for others shows a lack of love and compassion for self. So “hating” someone or talking badly about them is a lack of self-love and self-compassion.
  6. Unproductive Thinking. Trash talking is riddled with cognitive distortions. For example, gossip and trash talk typically maximizing negative attributes, and reduces a person to on one action. If you have this mentality about others you will also think that way about yourself. 
  7. Highlight Insecurities. When you talk trash you lose sight of our wants and needs because you are so preoccupied with needing to be liked. People who are secure with themselves don’t gossip or trash talk.

Why People Talk Trash

People talk trash for many reasons which can include:

  • insecurities
  • boredom
  • procrastination
  • not realizing it’s negatively impactful for them and others
  • not knowing any better
  • thinking it’s normal
  • following others who trash talk and gossip

How to Not Trash Talk

The first step in changing any destructive behavior is admitting you do it. Of course it’s uncomfortable to admit that you do something that’s negative, but if you want to change, you need to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t perfect and have room to grow.

With the growth mentality, you can then look out for times when you have the urge to trash talk or are around others who gossip. If some of your friends are used to gossiping you may not stop that, but you can stop contributing to the gossip, try to steer the conversation, or remove yourself from it.

Remind yourself that people make mistakes and one action does not define an entire person. Also, remind yourself that you are a work in progress and that stopping the trash talking now will benefit your entire life for the future.

Example of Not Trash Talking  

Not trash talking, gossiping, or talking shit doesn’t mean you can never talk about others (or that you only talk positively about others and ignore their faults). It means you talk about them differently.

Here’s an example:

A few months ago I was ghosted—it sucked. I called a friend to vent and had the urge to trash talk the ghost (call him a piece of shit, say he fucking sucks—you know…). But I stopped myself, because I knew while trash talking would make me feel good at the moment, it would not help me long term.

Obviously I liked the person who ghosted. I mean, I was hanging out with them. So there was good there. They just weren’t able to communicate in how I needed.

So I acknowledged that ghosting was a douchebag thing for him to do (not that he was a douche—see the difference?), that I am better off and that going forward I need someone who is a better communicator.  

Instead of trash talking or gossiping and putting myself on a negative mindset (by talking negatively about someone else), I focused on validating my feelings, working through the disappointment and focusing on my wants and needs.

Showing compassion for another person strengthened the compassion I have for myself. I moved on and when the ghost reappeared (as they typically do) I thanked him for his apology and ignored his request to go to dinner.

When the Trash Talking Is Directed Towards You

We talked about not trash talking others, but what do we do when others are trash talking us?

It’s best to not respond when the trash talking is about you, because trash talk is a low vibration and negatively impacts our mental and emotional well-being. We need to focus on what we want, not on the insecurities of others.

But that’s not how we are taught.

It seems the common societal response to trash talking is to act tough and tell people to: “say that shit to my face”. It may seem like with this response you are asserting dominance and strength, but you’re actually reducing your empowerment.

I say, fuck that. If someone has a problem with me or wants to trash talk I’d prefer they keep it to themselves. If they really can’t control themselves, then I prefer they say it behind my back. Because I genuinely don’t care and don’t have time for their drama or insecurities. That’s confidence and empowerment!

On the other hand, if someone has an issue with me, or if they feel I did something that hurt them and they come to me directly to address it, I am more than happy to discuss and I appreciate the feedback and opportunity to correct the slight!

Of course there are extreme instances where trash talk might negatively affect me. Like if someone was untruthful and told a person I’m dating that I was unfaithful, or if someone told my boss an untruth that could cost me my job. In those instances, I will address the trash talker and misunderstanding directly.

But unless there are repercussion that will keep me from my goals, I am more than happy to have the trash talk go on behind my back. Because while others are busy trash talking me, I’m focused on developing positive thought habits and being happy.

It’s literally to the point that I don’t think anyone has trashed talked me in ages because I don’t pay any attention to it, I choose to be oblivious.

Trash Talking and Gossip Isn’t Personal

Just like almost everything else, trash talk and gossip isn’t personal, so we need to not take it personally. Make sure to see trash talking and gossip for what it is, a distraction bread from insecurities and unproductive thought habits that are keeping you stuck.

Now go live long and prosper!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto 

3 Ways to Overcome Rejection Confidently

Simply put, rejection sucks. And while we may try to push it away or avoid it, we will constantly get rejected throughout our lives—no matter what we want. I mean, unless you lock yourself in your house and become a hermit.

Anyway…

Similar to other strong emotions, the best thing to do when feeling rejected is to face the feeling head on. But we haven’t been taught how to face strong emotions. So we go the opposite route and ignore the uncomfortable feeling allowing it to gain momentum.

We unintentionally hurt ourselves. It’s making us miserable and keeping us from our true potential.

Which is why we need to face uncomfortable emotions like rejection head on. When we face them directly we take power away from the emotion and give it back to ourselves.

This emotional management is a life skill that will positively impact you in every area of your life for your entire life.

In this article we are going to talk about what rejection is, why it hurts, and how to confidently overcome it with a mindset shift and 3 steps.

Related article: Stoicism and the Trichotomy of Control: Why You Need to Know What It Is and How It Changed My Life!

Related podcast episode: Ep26: Acceptance, Empowerment & Body Positivity

What is Rejection

The opposite of feeing accepted, rejection occurs when we sense we are being dismissed or turned down. We typically associate it with shame and discomfort.

We can feel rejected in multiple ways, in different situations and on different levels. For example, if we are flat out told “no” by a love interest, or if no one laughs at our joke, or if a friend group doesn’t invite us out or include us in the group chat.

Rejection is a part of life. We can’t always get what we want and people are not always going to do exactly what we want or respond how we would like.

Why Rejection Hurts

Something scientifically proven is that rejection can literally hurt. This is because the part of the brain that processes rejection is closely tied to the part of our brain that processes physical pain.

Scientists theorize that rejection causing literal pain is because of our need to be part of the pack. Being part of the pack was really important for us when we were hunter gathers. In that pack we were more likely to have physical safety than if we wandered alone.

So if someone was rejected from the pack they would feel a pain or discomfort that would encourage them to get back in with the pack and therefore stay physically safe.

Humans are social creatures, and while we need connections to feel fulfilled, we no longer need to be part of the pack like before. Unfortunately, your brain didn’t get the memo so your pain sensor is still triggered even when rejection will not cause physical harm.

Basically, your brain can’t tell the difference between a love interest saying “no thanks” and you being left in the desert alone to fend for yourself.

But this isn’t the only way rejection hurts us.

Rejection Negatively Impacts Us

While rejection literally hurts, fear of rejection can negatively impact every area of your life and keep you from feeling fulfilled. Below are 5 ways a fear of rejection will negatively impact you:

Decreases emotional intelligence. EQ is considered the No. 1 determinant of success, and people with higher EQs are happier and feel more fulfilled. To build EQ it is important to be aware of and effectively manage feelings—even the ones that don’t feel so great, like rejection.

Related article: #1 Secret to Effectively Improving Your Emotional Intelligence… and How to Use It

People pleasing tendencies and one-sided relationships. If you fear rejection you’ll likely focus on not being rejected. So instead of determining if someone will add value to your life, you are likely hyper-focused on them liking you. This can lead to people pleasing and relationships that aren’t healthy.

Encourages a lack of abundance. If you fear rejection, rejection is magnified. When something is magnified it keeps you from seeing the larger view. There is a world out there with billions of people and millions of opportunities. Just because something didn’t work out, doesn’t mean something else won’t.

Hinders boundary setting. If you have a fear of rejection, you will most likely be very conscious and sensitive to it. This includes when you reject other people. Since you fear rejection you might not want to reject someone else and that can lead to unestablished boundaries and codependency.

Keep you from opportunities and success. A fear of rejection can stop you in your tracks. You might not ask for that promotion you deserve or the thing that you need because you fear being told no.

Mindset Shift and 3 Steps to Overcome Rejection

Rejection means you tried, and rejection means you asked. So while you aren’t being accepted by one person or company or whatever, you are actually getting closer to the person or company that will accept and appreciate you!

Rejection also builds desire. Think of a time you were dating someone and they had a particular quality you liked. If it didn’t work out, you now know of that quality and have a desire for it which means you will attract it and look out for it.

From rejection we can also learn what we don’t want. I went up to a cute guy at a bar once and did my best to shoot my shot (mind you I’m socially awkward when trying to flirt). He rejected me… hard core. Like, wow, ouchie, that hurt.

After that situation I took great care in turning someone down. It created self-compassion and compassion for others. I also realized that him being so harsh was not what I wanted and it created a desire for kind people which I have been fortunate to find. (Remember, kind people do find kind people!) 

Below are three steps to help build resiliency and accept rejection. Coupled with the mindset shift above you’ll be ready to face rejection in a confident and empowered way!

Step 1: Accept It

The first step in emotional management is acceptance. We are encouraged to ignore our emotions and told limiting beliefs like “emotions are weakness” but that’s far from the truth. Emotions are human. You’re human, you have emotions. It doesn’t make you weak. Accept it.

Acknowledging and accepting emotions is strength. If you get rejected and it hurts you can tell yourself, “wow, this hurts. I am disheartened and that’s OK, this too shall pass.”

Not only will you build a resiliency that will reduce emotional intensity so rejection won’t hurt as much. You’ll also strengthen your self-compassion, emotional intelligence and resiliency. Wow, look at you go!!

Remember that acceptance differs from toxic positivity and please be mindful not to invalidate yourself.

Step 2: Be an Explorer

With fear mongering, extremes and other negative influences around us we may have lost our imagination and playfulness. We also may shy away from taking chances because we didn’t manage our emotions and rejection well in the past.

But today is a new day! And if you think of it, you are an explorer and life it to be explored.

See a cute guy/gal and want to ask them out, do it. If they say no, accept it, acknowledge it hurt, and then continue exploring. Take the intensity away from rejection and consider that you are testing the waters. See what fits and try to have fun with life.

Step 3: Think Abundance

We can get stuck in our world and forget there are billions of people and opportunities everywhere. But we need to be open to these people and opportunities to have a fulfilling and enriched life.

When we think in terms of abundance, we reduce the rigidness of the world and we allow it to be a safe place to explore. We can get up and go to the gym or a coffee shop or a walk. We remember there are people and commerce and energy and things going on outside of the rejection even though it may not feel like it.

With abundance we take power away from rejection and we give it back to ourselves. With that power comes fulfillment and mental and emotional well-being.

Related article: 7 Examples of Emotional Reasoning and 11 Ways It’s Keeping You Stuck

3 Ways to Awareness and Why You Need It

In order to successfully navigate life we need to be aware of who we are. This includes having a strong understanding of our thoughts and emotions and how we manage them.

Unfortunately, we aren’t encouraged or taught how to be self-aware. Instead, we are encouraged to ignore our emotions and we are taught unproductive thinking habits.  

But the great news is we can build self-awareness no matter what age or where we are in life.

In this article we will discuss what self-awareness is, why it’s so important and how to build it so you can enjoy the benefits.

What is Self-Awareness

Simply put, self-awareness is an individual’s understanding of how, why and what they feel and think.

Someone who is self-aware would acknowledge that they may not be as even keeled a on particular day if they haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. This awareness will keep them from making rash decisions, eating too much out of exhaustion, and will encourage them to go to bed earlier the next night.

If someone with low self-awareness doesn’t get a good night’s sleep they may end up being curt or short with others and remain in a foul mood all day.

Benefits of Self-Awareness

Descartes was close when he said “I think therefore I am,” but really it’s: “I think therefore I am awareness”. Because you are the awareness of your thoughts and emotions, you are not your thoughts and emotions.

Self-awareness is life changing because self-awareness is life.

If you aren’t aware you are still alive but if you lack self-awareness, then you aren’t truly living. You’ll be a prisoner to your thoughts and emotions instead of controlling them.

(Since our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the only things we really can control, it’s imperative we focus on them in order to feel happy and fulfilled.)

The benefits of self-awareness are unlimited and each person will benefit in different ways according to their circumstances. However, there are common benefits people who are self-aware will enjoy like:

3 Ways to Build Self-Awareness

1. Acknowledge You Are Awareness

Acknowledging you are the awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and not your thoughts, feeling or emotions is the first step.

It would look like saying (or thinking), “I am acknowledging feelings of anger right now,” instead of saying “I am angry.”

This simple swap will help you separate yourself from powerful feelings, thus taking power away from the feelings and allowing you to respond in a manner consistent with your goals.

2. Pile on the Questions

Self-awareness is found when we question our motives and thoughts.

For example, if you think you want a big house, ask yourself why? Your answer might be that you want your family close by. Ask yourself why? You may want your family close by because you love them and you enjoy spending time with them.

So it’s not that you want the big house, you want your family close by and for people to be comfortable. This may seem like a small shift but it will help you fine tune your goals and understand your “why” behind your wants. And when we understand our “why” we gain clarity and our desires are easier to get.

3. Reflect

You hear a lot of self development and self-help gurus talk about journaling. It’s because journaling is awesome! Not only is a journal a place to collect your thoughts, it can help you become self-aware. 

You don’t need a journal to reflect and can reflect simply by setting time aside to consider and understand why you responded the way you did. For example, if someone says something that pings a powerful emotion and you get quiet and reserved you can look back on that situation and use questions to understand why the comment elicited a strong emotional response.

Ask yourself, “why did I do that?” when you reflect and you’ll become more aware.

Why We Aren’t Self Aware

Since we live in a commercialized society largely influenced by organizations that need us to spend, spend, spend emphasis is made for us to base our identity on external objects.

So while we are busy learning we need to have the latest tech or new clothing trend, and while we are being told what to think, we aren’t learning how to manage our emotions and how to think productively.

Self-awareness changes all of that. It will help you to find out what you really want and to act in ways that will get you closer to your goals.

So work on your self-awareness and LMK how it goes!

You’re Likely Overlooking this Key Aspect of Successful Weight Loss and Personal Development

Marketers in the diet industry will tell you that losing weight is quick and easy. It’s not. Which is why the diet industry has a 95% failure rate.

The trend of “get results at lighting speed” has transgressed into the self-help movement which makes promises it can’t deliver. So a well-intention person who simply wants to lose weight or live a better life is set up for failure before they even start.

Not only are unrealistic expectations regarding results hurting those who are longing for help, it’s normalizing failure and making us think we can’t do something we can. So if you think you can’t keep the weight off or succeed in self-development know that you can. 

It’s not you, it’s the false narrative they sold you. And since you deserve to be happy and achieve your goals it is time for a new narrative. If we are going to do weight loss and personal development right, we need to enter a new set of expectations. One of those expectations: boredom.

That’s right, prepare to be b-o-r-e-d.

What is Boredom?

Boredom is an emotion that occurs when we do something that is repetitive, dull or unsatisfying.

Think of when you were a kid and your mom ran into someone at the grocery store. As she talked for 20 minutes in the canned food aisle you likely felt dread or you thought about all the other things you’d rather be doing which left you feeling anxious.

Or think of a job that requires you to do the same task repeatedly—it’s boring right?

Boredom comes when we do not feel challenged. Which is why boredom has gotten a bad rep. But boredom isn’t all bad.

Boredom Isn’t Necessarily Bad

Boredom actually has some pretty amazing benefits; it can help you gain self-control (which will help you increase EQ). And it has been scientifically proven to increase creativity, motivation and improve mental health. (Ref)

We’re sold the idea that we constantly need to be entertained and things need to be exciting or we are unsuccessful. But that’s far from the truth. If you’re bored at your job it can push you to get a newer exciting one, or you can accept your job is boring and find excitement in other areas of life.

We’re also taught love and relationships need to be exciting and lively. But finding someone solid who makes you happy, is loyal and you have a routine with can actually be boring (in a great way!).

Things don’t always need to be exciting and loud. There are beautiful feelings and experiences waiting for you in the tranquility and peace that comes with slowness.

Successful Weight Loss & Boredom

When it comes down to it, weight loss and personal development are pretty boring. They’re repetitive. Unfortunately, the diet industry sells weight loss as being glamorous. We see flashy before and after pictures and think “yeah, I want that too!” And they tell us there are exciting “secrets” that will help us keep the weight off.

When people hear I’ve been maintaining a 40 weight loss for eight years (I’m in the 5% success group) they seem very eager to know my “secret.” You’d be shocked at how quickly the conversation falls flat when I say, “consistency, repetition and being OK with being bored.”

Because, again, weight loss is boring (and that’s OK!). I’m currently on a 8 week body recomposition. Meaning, I am working maintain the same weight while gaining muscle and losing fat. My trainer gave me a routine of 3-4 exercises I do 5 days a week.

It can get pretty boring. You might even be bored just reading about it. I’m kinda bored writing about it. But it works so I stick with it. And I know it won’t be boring all the time. I mix it up with Yoga or boxing and change my routine every 8 weeks. And I get excited to see the changes I’ve made by allowing boredom and focusing on the long haul.

Rebranding Boring

Personal development and weight loss take time and repetition. If you stick with it, it works. So ditch the flashy and unrealistic expectations. Stick with the basics and prepared to be bored.

Boredom gets a bad rep but it isn’t always bad. There are amazing benefits to sitting with boredom and allowing yourself to not need constant distraction and excitement.

The great news is that once you work through the initial boredom you’ll settle in and start seeing results. You won’t feel as bored with the same old boring routine, and if you’re like me, you’ll start to love it!

(Seriously, I just go to the gym, follow the same routine and see results. No thinking involved, no brain energy needed. I just zone out and focus on building muscle, which helps me build even more muscle!)

All of this will help you feel confident, empowered and find happiness—which is the entire goal, isn’t it?

5 Steps to Effective Anger Management

“Rage that has nowhere to go is redirected against the self, in the form of depression, self-hatred, and self-destructive actions.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. “The Body Keeps the Score”

If you are human living in 2021 it’s likely you are encouraged to stuff down your emotions or you weren’t allowed to express your emotions as a kid so you have trouble with emotions now.

We are told lies like, “emotions are weakness.” But that’s a limiting belief. Emotions are amazing… well, they can be if we manage them right!

Emotions help guide us to what gives us joy and satisfaction. When we are happy, we acknowledge “yes, I want more of this.” And when we are mad or uncomfortable we think, “something isn’t right here, how can I change this?”

In this article we are going to talk about the most misunderstood and weaponized emotion of all: anger. We’ll discuss what anger is, how it gets a bad rep, and 5 ways you can manage anger productively.

What is Anger?

Anger is when we feel there is a real or perceived slight against us. This can happen if we think we are being treated unfairly or differently than others, if we feel we are giving more in a relationship than others are giving to us, or if we think someone is treating us unfairly.

Typically a secondary emotion, anger is usually secondary to sadness. So if you are feeling angry you could actually be sad. However, since it feels empowering to be angry (and vulnerable to be sad) you may focus on anger instead of sadness.

Typically anger is associated with intense and hostile actions like yelling, slamming, screaming or aggression. But anger does not equate to hostility. People show anger in different ways.

How Anger Gets a Bad Rep

Merriam-Webster defines anger as “the feeling that makes someone want to hurt other people, to shout, etc.” (Ref) And anger is portrayed in movies and TV with a man pounding his fists on a table or slamming a door or punching something. 

Many of us likely witnessed someone get aggressive or hostile and blame it on anger. But anger is not what leads to these tantrums and actions. Anger does not make someone shout or hurt another, poor emotional management does.

Emotional Management vs Anger

Anger is an emotion. Emotional management is a response to emotions. Just like with any other emotion, when you are angry you can choose how you respond.

We may not realize we have the choice because we weren’t taught how to manage our emotions. But the fact is, if we want to have a happy life we need to be focus on emotional management.

Anger Responses

Previously, if I were angry I would shut down, be a ball of nerves or I would feel guilt and shame for feeling angry. All of this leading to self-destructive thoughts and actions. 

But once I started acknowledging anger was a sign that I felt slighted or sad and that feeling angry didn’t need to equate to screaming or hostility, my world changed.

For example, a man I was seeing did something offensive. I was visibly annoyed and while I was collecting my thoughts he said “you seem angry.” I responded “obviously I am angry, if I wasn’t angry it would be a sign of low self-worth.”

Instead of feeling shame for being angry, I embraced the anger and realized I was right to feel it. I then decided our narrative stops here, and I left. There was no screaming or yelling or any hostility. Just an annoyance, acknowledgement of anger and an exit stage left. 

Instead of hostility, other ways to respond to anger can be taking deep breaths, playing with puppies, going for a walk, taking a map, drinking some hot tea, writing in a journal, meditation—the options are endless.

Anger and Rage

But it doesn’t stop there. You are also allowed to express anger with rage as long as it will not hurt you or others. In fact, expressing anger with rage can feel amazing!

I come from a dysfunctional family. And I used to get angry when I would think about the way I was treated as a child. But I did not know what to do with the anger—I did not know emotional management.

Sometimes I would be so angry I would freeze. I was overwhelmed and would pace back and forth in my house, scream, cry. I didn’t know what to do with these feelings and it made me upset because I didn’t want to hurt myself or others.

Enter: boxing.

Somehow I stumbled upon boxing and I’m lucky I did. It helped me not only work through anger, it helped me build confidence in my autonomy and agency. I must have hit a boxing bag thousands of times while working through my anger.

Then something incredible happened. The more I acknowledged and worked through the anger, the less anger I felt. Pretty soon I stopped boxing because I was angry and now I box because I genuinely enjoy it.

Now, when I think about my past I am still angry. But I don’t have to manage the anger. It is a fleeting emotion. An emotion that is then pushed aside by my feelings of pride and love for how far I’ve come. But I needed to acknowledge and allow myself to be angry to get to where I am today.

5 Steps to Manage Anger

Step 1

The first step in managing anger is understanding what it is. As we talked about in the definition above, anger is a perceived or real slight against you. It’s when we feel we are being treated unfairly. And is typically a secondary emotion to sadness.

Step 2

The second step is acknowledging when you feel angry. Typically anger is associated with feeling flushed or your heart racing. So the next time you feel your heart beating fast, or your blood “boiling” stop for a moment and reflect. Ask yourself, “am I feeling angry?” 

Step 3

Step three is to separate yourself from the emotions. Emotions come and go. You are a Being not an emotion. So instead of saying “I am angry” say “I am acknowledging feelings of anger.”

Step 4

From there we go to Step 4 which is exploration. This involves understanding where the anger is coming from. You’re a detective at this point. Ask yourself, “why am I feeling angry?”

Step 5

Sept 5 is the height of emotional management. This is where you decide how you want to respond in order to stay align with your goals. Remember, anger doesn’t equate to yelling and screaming. Anger can lead to meditative breathing, doing a check-in, talking to a friend, taking a timeout or going for a walk.

Example of Using The Steps

My father was angry and aggressive. He had horrible road rage, and I followed suit. So if someone cute me off while I was driving I would get angry and aggressive. I would beep, yell and curse. Mind you, I am not proud of this, but at the time I did not know any better.

Once I started focusing on emotional management, I used the 5 steps above to understand my road rage. Keeping in mind that anger was an emotion stemming from me feeing slighted, I wondered why being cut off bothered me so much. Paying attention to my responses, I focused on when my heart was racing or if I felt hyped up when someone cut me off.

From there I reminded myself I was feeling anger, anger was momentary and I was not anger. After some reflection, I realized that the anger I was acknowledging was stemming from the fact that I wouldn’t cut someone off in traffic.

So it bothered me when others cut me off because I felt others were not being as considerate as I am to them. Then I realized, “wow, I am a super considerate person, good on me.”

I went from being angry to smiling and congratulating myself. After I was cut off I decided I was angry, it was momentary, and I continued driving as I normally would. I forgot I was cutoff by the time I got to my destination. Now people rarely cut me off, or I barely notice it. If I do notice someone cutting me off I assign them positive intent.

Anger is Amazing

Anger gets a bad rap, but it’s actually a great resource that will help us find self-love and direct us towards what we want.

Acknowledging anger can get us out of situations that are negatively impactful to us or where we aren’t being treated fairly. It can get us unstuck, have stronger relationships, build connections with yourself and others.

When we acknowledge anger (any emotion for that case) we lessen its power, identify what is making us feel unsatisfied and we can work to correct it or overcome stress cycles we may be in.

So allow yourself to be angry, acknowledge it does not equate to hostility or aggression and instead focus on why you are feeling angry and how you can act to get closer to your happiness and satisfaction.

The Most Important Self-Care You’re Not Doing… and It’s Free!

From 2014 to 2020 the self-care industry has seen a 4400% increase in estimated value jumping from $10BN to $450BN.

Books, journals, sleep remedies, crystals, CBD products, bath bombs, the commercialized aspects of self-care seem limitless. And while the things we buy for self-care can help us tremendously, self-care doesn’t need to cost money.

Since free self-care can’t be commercialized, it isn’t publicized but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t add value. In fact, there is something to be said for self-care that doesn’t cost a dime.

Free self-care will have lifelong lasting positive impact on your general health and emotional and mental well-being. It will even help you appreciate the self-care that you buy.

In this article we are going to discuss what I consider the most important self-care practice—free or otherwise. It changed my life and that I think everyone needs to incorporate it into their life.

When put into practice, this self-care technique is going to:

  • improve your mental and emotional well-being
  • help you create connections
  • build stronger relationships
  • bounce back quicker (build resiliency)
  • reduce stress
  • increase your emotional intelligence
  • stop taking things personally, and
  • create healthy mental habits that will positively affect every area of your life including your physical health

 In this article we are going to talk about….(drumroll)…:positive intent.

What is Positive Intent?

Positive intent is assuming people act from a well-meaning place and that they are doing the best they can with what they have.

So if someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of thinking “what the fuck, that person’s an asshole,” you would think “they might not have seen me,” or “oy, they must be a bad driver,” or “maybe they’re tired, I hope they get home and get some sleep.”

How to Practice Positive Intent

Last week I wrote an article about ghosting and why people ghost (check it out here). Ghosting is when someone stops all communication without explanation. It can hurt. And when we are hurt we likely look for closure.

If we are ghosted we may ask ourselves questions like: Why did they ghost? What did I do? Why would they act like that?

There are many directions your thoughts can take you but it is likely you will think the ghost is a “bad” person or you will think you are a ”bad” person and don’t deserve to have a relationship—yikes!

However, there is another option. You can assume the ghost is doing the best they can with what they have, they did not mean to hurt you, and you are deserving of love and a great relationship.

—-

As you go about your day, pay attention to how you judge others and their actions. If you believe others have negative intentions, think of positive intent for why they did what they did.

Of course sometimes someone does something that is blatantly vindictive or rude. In that instance you can consider that they do not know any better, are doing the best they can, and that their actions are not something you want in your life. Bye, Felicia!

Benefits of Positive Intent

When we assume others are doing the best they can with what they have we remind ourselves that we are doing the best we can with what we have. When we come to this realization we slow down. We reflect on our actions. And we can decide to fine tune our thoughts processes to help us get in alignment with what we are trying to attract (our goals).

By giving others the benefit of the doubt, we generate a thought pattern that will increase our self-compassion. So when we make a mistake we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Just like others are doing the best they can, we are too.

No only will you have compassion for yourself and others, you will realize the underlying connection between you and others. Since humans are social creatures this is a primal need that you may ignore or reject in today’s world where we are encouraged to think in an “us” vs “them” mentality.

With positive intent there is no us vs them. There is us and them and we are all doing the best we can with what we have. This line of thought is going to help take away the stress of everyday life and to not feel you are alone or that the world is against you. 

Because you are not alone and the world isn’t against you. There are kind people out there but the focus has been on the negative for so long you might have forgotten or never even known. 

Positive Intent and Productive Thought Habits

Positive intent will help you find self-love and connections with others.

Positive intent separates a person from their behavior. Instead of seeing people in all-or-nothing terms and instead of generalizing or labeling (all unproductive thinking habits) we see people as Beings who makes choices and mistakes just like we do.

This mentality leads to self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others. It also contributes to confidence and self-empowerment.

With positive intent you learn to accept the world as it is and you will naturally shift your focus towards the things you can control while reducing your reaction to the things you cannot control.   

Related Podcast Episode: Ep26: Acceptance, Empowerment & Body Positivity

Physical Health Benefits of Positive Intent

Heart racing, blood boiling, muscle tightness, stomach ulcers galore, our mind and bodies are connected. And when you feel mentally stressed your body responds by releasing stress hormones and clenching up.

Say someone cuts you off in traffic. As you yell “fuck you asshole” your blood pressure rises. It likely will not go down once the other person drives off. You can end up coming home still rattled and full of stress hormones.

So it might just take you over the edge when you see your kid or your partner forgot to thaw out the chicken for dinner. Yelling or passive aggressive comments may ensure which can hurt your relationship and will contribute to more stress.

All this stress increases your stomach acidity which may cause heartburn that can keep you from sleeping properly. Oy. What a mess.  

With positive intent you will keep your blood pressure in control while you think “eh, they are probably just a shitty driver.” So then the unthawed chicken will go into the microwave for a quick defrost or maybe it will be pizza for dinner!

No, You’re Not a Push Over

When you assume positive intent you will be more accepting, less affected by the actions of others and you will be more compassionate and forgiving.

This can get confusing. Because people who are forgiving and accepting can be misunderstood as weak or a pushover. In order to practice positive intent we need to remove the limiting belief that people who forgive and understand are being pushed over.

Just because you forgive someone for something they did does not mean you need to continue a relationship with them or you are allowing them to take advantage of you. For example, if a friend stole money from you and then lied about it you can assume they were desperate for money and then lied because they were ashamed.

You can forgive them and move forward, but you don’t need to still consider them a close friend. The connection can move to acquaintance level, or if you determine the relationship is bad for your health, you can decide to sever the relationship altogether.

Positive Intent for All

Since it cannot be commercialized free self-care is often overlooked. But positive intent is a life changer. It will help you generate a new perspective and positively impact your mental, physical and emotional well-being.

While it may sounds simple on paper, positive intent can be difficult in practice. It will be difficult for some more than others depending on where you are coming from. If you were encouraged to assume positive intent as a kid then positive intent may be easier for you.  

But if you were like me and grew up in an environment where people were tough on you or assumed other people were unkind, then positive intent may take more effort and practice to become habit.

Similar to any new thought habit, practicing positive intent takes repetition and patience. So pay conscious attention to how you judge yourself and others. If you judge yourself or someone else harshly, stop yourself and find positive intent.

Remember, understanding isn’t agreement and even the villain in the story thinks they are doing the right thing.

Show up For Yourself—100

I Can, I Am, I Will
I Can, I Am, I Will
Show up For Yourself—100
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Ending the 100 podcasts in 100 days series with a thank you to listeners and a reminder that if you continually show up for yourself, you can, you are, and you will!

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Ghosting Is Drama. Here’s How We Stop It.

“Ghosting”, by current socially accepted definition, is when a person abruptly ends a relationship by stopping all communication without notice. The ghost hopes the person being ghosted (the ghostee) gets the hint and moves on. 

Unfortunately, ghosting has become common.

Some people defend ghosting and say it’s an honest and drama free way of ending a relationship. Some even suggest that the ghostee shows no emotion or response to being ghosted or else they give the ghost power.

But even though ghosting—abruptly ending a relationship by cutting off contact—has been somewhat normalized, it’s not normal. In fact, it’s fucking weird and borderline emotionally abusive.

Similar to emotional abuse, ghosting can be negatively impactful to mental and emotional well-being. It can be a traumatic experience. And victim shaming ghostees is only making it worse.

Because we don’t give the ghost power by reaching out to them, we give ghosts and ghosting power by incorrectly identifying them.

(Just like we got the definition of ghosting wrong, we’re defining “narcissist” wrong and it’s negatively impacting us, read more here.)

So let’s redefine ghosting and call it out for what it is: drama. With a new definition and some reeducation we will stop ghosting in its tracks, or at least be better able to recover if it happens.

In this article we will redefine ghosting, explore why it is negatively impactful, why people ghost and how to move forward in a more positive direction

Ghosting Re-Defined:

Ghosting is when someone (ghost) ends a connection with another person (ghostee) by stopping all communication. It is extreme and dramatic.

Depending on the level of attachment, ghosting may be a traumatic experience for the ghostee. Ghosting may lead to stress, anxiety and fear of abandonment.

To avoid blame or feeling bad some people will fight like their life depends on it to sway a term in their favor. So the ghost may try to self justify by suggesting they didn’t have a connection with someone to ghost them.

“Connection” is an ambiguous term. And of course there is room for reasonable people to disagree.

But for this definition, connection means that you’ve met someone in person, hung out with them, text them and showed interest in them and/or forming some type of relationship with them: friendship, long-term dating or casual sex, etc.

Negative Impacts of Ghosting

Ghosting leads to compacted rejection.

Rejection triggers a pain sensor in the brain. So if you get rejected by a potential love mate or friend or whoever, it can literally hurt.

If not manage properly, rejection cuts deep. Ghosting ensures the cut is as deep as possible. It can damage our self-esteem and make us feel depressed and angry. Because not only are we being rejected, we are losing the possibility of a relationship. And we are being treated less than human.

Similar to rejection, abandonment is when we feel deserted and treated less than human. If you feel abandoned, it can create issues in your relationship with yourself and others. It can lead to insecurity, jealousy, people pleasing tendencies and difficulty creating intimate relationships.

I refer to ghosting as compacted rejection because the rejection is prolonged and also includes characteristics of abandonment. When the ghost stops communicating, the ghostee is not aware they have been rejected.

This could go on for days. The ghostee is left in a state of confusion. They may wonder if something is wrong. They may make excuses for the ghost, “oh they’re just busy,” or “I’ll hear from them soon.”

So when the ghostee finally realizes they have been rejected they make this realization alone while already stressed and confused. They realize they have been living in denial, and a person they liked did not have any concern for them. All of this compacting the already adverse psychological effects of being rejected.

But Wait, There’s More!

The ghostee may also question their own intuition or why they would attract someone who would treat them so poorly. It can hurt their social confidence and keep them from trying to connect with others which may contribute to loneliness.

All of this may lead to ruminating thoughts, self-sabotage, and if not managed properly, can negatively impact future relationships.

Compacting the already compacted rejection and the extreme intensity is that the ghostee is then expected to be nonchalant, invalidate their natural emotions and just disappear. 

There’s No Excuse for Ghosting, Except

Some people may try to justify ghosting and act like it’s not a big deal. But when you break it down, ghosting is extreme and dramatic. Think of it, you’re hanging out with someone, texting them every day and then boom they disappear. That’s intense!

People who ghost because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings are actually doing more damage. And those who ghost because they aren’t considering anyone else’s feelings lack empathy which is a pivotal part of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the #1 determinate of success and people with higher EQ have better sex, make more money, are better leaders, parents, lovers and friends.

I’d like to say there is absolutely no excuse for ghosting but life is complex and ghosting is a complex topic. Sometimes it is OK to ghost. These circumstances include if someone is being manipulative, abusive, or endangering you. In that case, the ghostee is the drama.

In my view it is also OK to ghost someone if you went on a date with them or your first time hanging out and they were creepy or inappropriate. With online dating you may not filter out all the creepers. And you don’t need to continue to subject yourself to them just because you made the mistake of going on a date.  

It is also OK to ghost someone who has ghosted you. Yup, sometimes the dramatic person returns from the dead. I don’t consider that ghosting since the connection was already broken by them.

Why People Ghost

Ghosting is extreme and incredibly dramatic. People who ghost may simply just be drama. They could have low self-esteem and an unhealthy need for external validation—negative validation being all they are used to. 

People ghost for many reasons including that they:

  • lack emotional maturity
  • have an avoidant attachment style
  • have low self-esteem or self hatred
  • want to end the relationship but don’t to know quite why
  • lost interest
  • don’t want confrontation
  • assume there will be confrontation
  • have poor communication skills
  • met someone else and legitimately don’t care
  • got bored
  • did it because they can
  • don’t realize how negatively impactful it is
  • didn’t realize how connected you felt
  • were lashed at before for ending a relationship
  • want to feel powerful
  • were ghosted so they are lashing out at you
  • don’t think ghosting is a big deal
  • are emotionally illiterate
  • have a perceived slight and instead of communicating, left
  • were lied to about you and believed the lie
  • are too scared to be vulnerable

Note: there may be many reasons why people ghost but the reasons are not excusable. And if you were ghosted it’s not about why they did it, it’s about how you move forward productively.

How We Stop It

We can stop ghosting or reduce its power by correctly defining it, having forgiveness and reeducating.

Ghosting is dramatic. It’s extreme. People don’t want to be labeled as either of these things. So when we call ghosts out for their drama it will probably shame them into not being so dramatic a.k.a. not ghosting.

If you ghosted because you didn’t know how negatively impactful it was, work on the forgiveness part. See if you can offer an apology or what you can do differently in the future.

Literally you could say “hey, didn’t want to ghost but don’t know what to say. Sorry.”

Some other things to say if you’re not into someone are:

  • “I had fun, but I didn’t feel a strong connection.”
  • “I don’t think we are a good fit. I’m sorry. Good luck!”
  • “You’re great and I really want this to work but I’m not feeling it.”

If you have been ghosted, work on forgiving yourself for trusting someone who didn’t have your best intentions in mind. Forgive yourself for being vulnerable with the wrong person and allow yourself to be vulnerable again.

The reeducation part is letting others know that ghosting is negatively damaging. Ghosting is hurtful and I genuinely believe that people are kind and don’t want to hurt others (or at least I continually tell myself that so I don’t fall into a pit of despair).

With this education we also need to make sure we appreciate when someone doesn’t ghost, even though us appreciating someone not ghosting means we’ve been rejected. Ugh. Look at us being all mature and shit.

Sample response when being rejected to help discourage ghosting: “Thank you for letting me know!”

With a more accurate definition we will gain clarity, understand how ghosting affects us and better manage when it happens to us. With forgiveness and reeducation we will hopefully encourage others not to ghost and stop this harmful trend in its tracks.

A Note From Lyndsey:

Recently I met someone who disclosed that they ghost people. When I asked why he said he knew it was wrong but he didn’t know what else to do. I told him I get that, and I understand he doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to let people know you are no longer interested.

Ghosting is a sign that as a society we do not focus on emotions and being emotionally kind to others. I really hope we can change this soon!

Learn about how to effectively cope and move on after being ghosted here.

You Are Deserving—99

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I Can, I Am, I Will
You Are Deserving—99
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To have success in any type of personal development we need to know that we are deserving. Sounds easy but it may be more difficult than it seems. Learn how here so you can confidently build your confidence.

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Urgency!!—98

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I Can, I Am, I Will
Urgency!!—98
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Living in a world where everything seems urgent leaves us with a ball of stress and anxiety. Let’s talk about taking a breath and how prioritizing what we need is an act of self-empowerment.

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