Ever have one of those days where you're just pissed off for no reason? Or you're anxious, but can't really narrow down why? Over at The Atlantic, they spoke with David Caruso, co-founder of the Emotional Intelligence Skills Group to come up with a process for managing those emotions.
Photo by Ally Aubry.
The idea here is kind of obvious, but it's also something most of use don't do. It's essentially a two-step process: pay attention to physiological signals, then ask yourself "what are the possible causes of this?" Caruso gives a few examples:
[Pay more attention to] physiological signals. Like tension -- I feel my jaw is tense, there's tension around my eyes. Am I worried, am I anxious, am I angry? So I'm mildly anxious right now, let's say. The next part is to ask yourself, "And what are the possible causes of that..."
So the moral of that story is not just to do that physiological check. Step two is to ask yourself, "Where is it coming from?" and "Is that anxiety related to the communication I'm about to make? A decision I'm about to make? Or an email I'm about to send? Where is that irritation coming from? Where is the anger coming from? Is it a leftover mood because traffic was terrible today? Or damn it, I'm getting a cold again and I can't afford it?"
It's a pretty simple solution that should at the very least help you figure out what's wrong, if not help you actually deal with it.
How to Get Better at Expressing Emotions [The Atlantic]