In my last post, I talked about Self Awareness as the first building block of applied emotional intelligence. Self awareness is about knowing what emotions we are feeling at any one point in time. Some of us are great at knowing what we are feeling. Others of us may need some help to determine what we are feeling. No matter where you are, the techniques we are introducing here will be of some help to you.
There are many different emotions or feelings, but these simple families tend to be sufficient for most people:
The first awareness technique I want to introduce is to keep a feelings journal. A feelings journal is simply a place to log what we are feeling. For best results, we should take notes throughout the day on what we are experiencing and what feelings result from that. Our notes don’t have to be extensive; a journal entry may look like this:
Talked with Jim this morning and congratulated him on getting his deliverable completed ahead of schedule. I left feeling happy.
The journal can help us track our feelings over the course of the day or week. Once we have journaled for a few days or weeks, we can look for patterns like:
• Balance of negative feelings versus positive feelings
• Same feelings every day at the same time (e.g. sad every morning)
• Predominant feelings (e.g. always scared)
• Feelings tied to relationships (e.g. angry whenever I talk to my Mom)
• Deadspots where you are not able to feel anything
• Feeling blindspots (e.g. never angry or never happy)
I recommend that you keep up a journal for a full 30 days. It can be a helpful way to become more aware of what you are feeling and what is triggering those feelings.