Know yourself

The Hardware

 Mother Nature equipped you with two kinds of processors (brains): rational and emotional. Throughout the evolution, emotional one was the first to develop, followed by the thinking brain. They’re in the constant battle with one another, the battle of head and heart.

The thinking brain. One of the greatest nature’s gifts we were given is neocortex. Its located It’s a “thinking” brain that allows us to think about our feeling and ideas. Without it we won’t get to experience love and parent-child connection.

The feeling brain. Small part of the brain is dedicated to Amygdala. Without it we would loose recognition of feeling, as well as feelings about feelings. Our lives would seem meaningless, without the need to compete or cooperate.

Amygdala and neocortex are at the the hardware that runs our emotional intelligence. They both are designed not to just process incoming information from our sensors, but to also store it for future use. Strong emotions and experiences, particularly negative ones are being picked up and stored in amygdala. The stronger and more intense the experience, the longer it will be stored in the brain. Amygdala constantly scans the environment for events and experiences, constantly comparing them to the ones it has stored in the memory from the past. In case or reoccurring situation, it makes sure we react to it, exactly the way we did in the past, trying to keep us safe. When it comes to live or die situation, amygdala works faster that a flash, not giving us a chance to rationalize and think about what actions to take.

Neocortex on another hand allows us to make sense of the information we receive and lets us to choose how to respond to it. Speed is the weakness of it as it takes longer to processes information. Did you become sad after your dog died? Did you feel happy winning a competition? Did you get angry over the comment someone made about you at work? Neocortex is at work.

Self-awareness

Being aware of your own feelings and emotions is the keystone of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is the skill that if developed, allow you activate your neocortex to monitor the emotion. It lets you to step back and and gain control over what is happening. The only way to becoming more intelligent emotionally is through self-awareness.

Self-awareness means being aware of your mood and thoughts about your mood.

After you recognized the emotional sensation, once you registered it with your neocortex, you gain control over it by deciding to change your outlook, therefore your mood.

There are three types approaches commonly used by people to manage their emotional lives:

  • Self-aware. These people are aware of their moods as they’re having them. They are typically in good psychological health and tend to have a positive attitude towards life. They are able to get out of bad mood easier.
  • Engulfed. These people feel overwhelmed by their emotions and feel helpless in taking control over them. They’re not aware of how and what they feel and makes them loose perspective over the situation.
  • Accepting. These people are aware of their feelings and they accept them. However they don’t try to change the way they feel. In case of being in a bad mood, they simply accept the condition they’re in and doing nothing to get out of unpleasant feeling.

Alexithymia

This is a condition which described by phycologists as inability to identify and express or describe one’s feelings. People with such condition are unable to speak clearly and openly about their feelings, not because they don’t want, but because they simply don’t know how they feel feel at the first place. When they experience strong emotions, they often feel overwhelmed and try to escape that feeling as soon as possible.

Inability to prioritize

There are people that have no sense of priority. They get lost in every small detail, and everything seems equally important to them. The main cause of it is poor self-awareness. Person don’t know what he feels about the decisions he makes.

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