Updated: Apr 20
Emotions refer to the mental and physiological states characterized as feelings. It's often hard to put a name on what you're experiencing because it's likely that your brain is processing more than one reaction to your circumstances at a time. Not only do feelings overlap and blend, but there are also hundreds of emotions we experience, each with many gradations of intensity—that makes emotional awareness a difficult skill to master.
It’s important to emphasize here that emotions are no more than an experience or energy. They are neither your identity nor the sum of who you are. Feelings provide wisdom to help you navigate through the experiences of your life. Simply put Self-Awareness is the ability to look at or be aware of your feelings or focus, note your experience in the moment without judgement, and gain understanding of the circumstances helping to generation those feelings.
The more adept you are at discerning the force that is shaping your mood and mental status, the greater will be your ability to manage your behavior. You can choose to act in the moment based on possibilities instead of reacting to the moment based on habit. In other words, you respond with intelligence instead of impulse. The goal is to give you the tools to respond rather than simply react.
The result is greater effectiveness, productivity, and confidence. As you come to comprehend your own emotions and behavior, you increase your understanding for what drives the actions of those around you. With this knowledge, you can improve your relationships, and above all, your happiness. Emotional intelligence is a key factor to enhancing your quality of life.
For the next week, set your cell phone or computer clock alarm to ring at several intervals throughout the day. At the times listed on the schedule, fill in the blanks with 1) what you are doing, and who you are doing it with. 2) the emotion(s) you are feeling in the moment, and 3) what your body is sensing now, or what effect the emotion is having on your body and 4) what is your inner-chatter or self-talk is saying.
Use the inventory on the pages that follow to help you identify what you are feeling. The exact times are not essential. It's more important to begin to recognize emotional patterns, and to determine what circumstances elicit specific responses. However, it's important to try to read what you are feeling in the moment instead of relying on memory. Emotional intelligence is the art of identifying your feelings at the time they occur so you can better understand behavior—yours and others—and to learn how to rationally choose your reactions.
Remember, you are seeking to understand your feelings. You are not trying to change them. They are not right or wrong. Therefore, honesty is important. However, recognition alone can often diffuse or increase an emotional reaction. You may find that over time, the intensity of some moods or emotions decrease while other sensations, hopefully the more pleasant ones, increase. That's why emotional intelligence helps in all aspects of your personal growth.
At first, you may find it difficult to assign an emotion to what you are feeling; with practice you will be able to increase your emotional vocabulary significantly. Below is a tree-structured chart to help you get started and identify your emotions.