This week we start adding in a mindfulness practice to increase your emotional intelligence. Mindfulness is the core skill that centers around the ability to be fully present in the current moment. Mindfulness meditation increases awareness of your body and emotions and provides the tools for greater insight into how your mind works. Specifically, a mindfulness practice benefits you in terms of increased empathy, stress reduction, better emotional regulation, and it's even been shown to boost your working memory. A mindfulness meditation practice starts with learning to using your breath as "home."
Title: Stress Management and Wellness
Featured: Dr. LuAnn Helms, Counseling & Psychological Services, Utah State University
Publication Date: 2013
Selection Reason: Stress Management, Emotional Regulation
You have a natural tendency to focus more on certain aspects of your environment than others. This narrowed focus is often based on your current internal state which is made up of a combination of your recurrent thoughts and overall mood. Items that naturally set off a higher level of emotional or physical response within you can also contribute to an attentional bias.
When it comes to adult-centered instructional design, it's important to bring up Gail Elkin. Her research on retention and attention spans is where we get the 10-2 rule -- ten minutes of instruction followed directly by two minutes or more of an engaged activity that cements what was just covered. Dividing a class up this way has been shown to increase engagement, greatly improve retention, and, yes, if done correctly, it can up the fun rating of the class you are teaching.
Trigger (n). - An external stimulus that invokes a strong fight, flight, or freeze response is a Trigger. A trigger can be based on undealt with issues, past traumatic experiences, or can be environmental in nature. When the trigger is related to a strong traumatic event, the individual can experience flashbacks, the return of repressed memories, or find themselves mentally disassociating or shutting down. When the trigger is environmental, a person is reacting to something outside their control in their surroundings like repetitive sounds or certain visual images.
We won't cover trauma-related and environmental triggers. That's for you and your therapist. For this post, we are looking at non-trauma triggers. Or, as they are sometimes affectionately known, drama triggers.
Forgiving and letting go of the ways others have hurt you is difficult work. And the difficulty often begins with the word, "Forgiveness." Forgiveness for many people holds an additional connotation of justifying and excusing someone's behavior. This misperception can lead people to hold onto things for longer than they should. Forgiveness is a virtue. Justification is not. Forgiving someone and justifying their behavior are two separate things that only sound similar.
Many people are already doing a daily review whether they realize it or not. When we go to bed at night, there is a natural tendency for all of the things that happened during the day to show up and be reprocessed. The difficulty for many people is that they have a mental filter that screens out the all the day's good interactions and leaves them to only process the bad. And when it comes to the bad, people often re-process those events in ways that only increase their worry and anxiety rather than lessening it.
“I’m not biased,” came the student’s insistent response. “I see everyone the same.”
“No, you don’t. You just aren’t aware of your biases and that is even more dangerous,” was my response. Okay, so “dangerous” may be a bit extreme for most situations but simply saying to me you don't have anything filtering your view doesn’t mean there isn't anything there impeding your judgment. It’s like looking through a screen door. If you stand too close, you don’t see the wire grid. If you stand further back, you will clearly see the screen over-top your view.
Best Self (n.) -- Your best self is the part of you that goes into difficult situations and acts with wisdom, clarity, and purpose. We use the term "best self" in the emotional intelligence world to represent the you that you are fully capable of being -- the very best version of who you are as a person.
Many people start off their day with a "Today I am grateful for..." post on their Facebook page. Others may keep a private gratitude journal that no one else knows about. Still others just inwardly review their gratitude list before they even open their eyes in the morning. They are practicing this positive focus as their first thoughts of the day. But why are they doing it?
My Writing and Other Resources for Students
A growing collection of writing and other resources for students to use to continue their growth.