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Emotional self awareness is not that common (DW#457)

emotions self awareness Sep 25, 2018

If you are not aware of your emotions as they are happening, please don’t give yourself a hard time.

According to a credible study, only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen. What this suggests is that the vast majority of us are being controlled by our emotions and are that they may be leading us to where we might not want to go.

If we are not aware of our emotions, we do not recognize that we are continuously having emotional reactions to everything that is happening around us and in our lives. We may find that we are overreacting to triggers and don’t understand what happened to cause the overreaction. We may find ourselves blaming others for our feelings rather than confront the uncomfortable truth that we did not recognize we were emotionally aroused until the feelings bubbled over as a behavioural overreaction. 

But you know what the great thing about awareness is? Just thinking about emotional awareness makes you more...

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How many emotions can you name? (DW#453)

emotions self awareness Sep 19, 2018

In 1972, psychologist Paul Eckman suggested that there are six basic emotions that are universal throughout human cultures: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness. 

In 1999, he expanded this list to include a number of other basic emotions, including embarrassment, excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction, and amusement. 

But a new study out of UC Berkley professor Dacher Keltner now suggests that there are at least 27 distinct emotions—and they are intimately connected with each other. 

The study followed a demographically diverse group of 853 men and women who went online to view a random sampling of silent five- to 10-second videos intended to evoke a broad range of emotions. Keltner and his colleagues at UC Berkeley found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way these hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to these videos. 

The researchers also found that emotional experiences...

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The three components of emotions (DW#452)

emotions self awareness Sep 18, 2018

When we think of emotions, most of us only focus on how they "feel" but this is only part of the picture.

Psychologists explain that each emotional experience has three components. Understanding these three components of our emotional experiences is an important step in helping us manage strong emotions. 

Here are the three components:

1)    The Feeling/Physical Component: "How I feel in my body"
Emotions manifest in internal sensations in our bodies which can include heart palpitations, stomach distress, sweating, hot or cold flushes, shortness of breathe, fatigue, muscle tension or increased energy.

2)    The Thinking/Cognitive Component: "What I say to myself"
How we interpret events and experiences and the self talk that we engage in greatly impact what we end up feeling and doing. If someone cuts us off on the highway, for example, what we tell ourselves about the other driver will make us feel either anger or sympathy for...

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A brief history of emotions (DW#451)

emotions self awareness Sep 17, 2018

Although emotions are as old as human beings themselves, it is only fairly recently that the word "emotion" has become of our everyday language.

The word "emotion" comes from Latin and French emovere meaning to "stir up, to move, to agitate". Some scholars would even define the term as "to suffer an emotion", which itself points to the disdain with which emotions have been viewed. 

The term emotion was introduced into academic discussion as a catch-all term for passions, sentiments and affections. It was coined in the early 1800s by Thomas Brown and it is around the 1830s that the modern concept of emotion first emerged. "No one felt emotions before about 1830. Instead they felt other things - "passions", "accidents of the soul", "moral sentiments" - and explained them very differently from how we understand emotions today.

Historically, thinkers in the West have contrasted the ‘animal’ passions with calm and "God-like reason". Plato, for example,...

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What would you like to see happen? (DW#446)

Continuing with our series on the best things to say in relationships, today’s phrase is a question to use when the other person is telling us what they don’t want.

It is so much easier to talk about what we don’t like and what we don’t want, rather than to make a specific request about what we would like. 

I don’t want us to be late
I don’t want you to leave things lying around
I don’t like it when you don’t tell me your plans 
I don’t want to go a beach holiday again this year

Often we don’t even know that we are doing this. So it can be very helpful to be redirected by our loved ones and asked what we would like to see happen or what we want (as opposed to what we don’t want).

So the next time you hear someone complaining about how bad things are, instead of getting annoyed, try gently redirecting them with a question such as "What would you like to see happen?" or "Please tell me what you would like as opposed...

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Did I get that right? (DW#443)

When we are in a conversation that is not going so well, a great way to turn it around is to switch into listening mode – listening to understand, that is, rather than listening to reply and make our point. 

We can switch into listening mode by reflecting back to the other what you think they are saying. Repeat their message in your own words and check your understanding by asking: 

Did I get that right?

What I hear you saying is  . . . 

If I understand you correctly, than what you are saying is . . .

So, let’s see if I got this  . . .

I am not sure I understand. Do you mean. . . 

These phrases are guaranteed to deepen our understanding of each other and when we use these, we always learn something new and deeper about our partner’s perspective. 

We just need to remind ourselves that listening and reflecting back does not mean that we are agreeing or that we have to agree with the other perspective. 

It...

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You always/you never (DW#422)

When we are in the midst of conflict, it seems that the other person is consistently annoying – they are always late – they never keep their word – they are always grumpy – they never pick up after themselves – they never listen to us – they always have the last say etc etc etc. 

By sharing the ways that they always or never do certain things, we are trying to build a solid case of how we are being let down. 

The problem with using generalizations like always and never is that they are seldom accurate. People are just not that consistent. There will always be times when they are not what we are accusing them of. 

Moreover, the minute they hear always or never in an accusatory tone, their mind becomes super busy trying to find exceptions to our case against them. Once they find even a single exception (and they generally do!), they will do their best to prove us wrong, our case is destroyed and we have lost the...

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Watch your words! (DW#421)

We all want to enjoy great relationships with the people that matter most and others whom we are in regular contact with. Our spouses and our children, our friends and community members, siblings and parents. People at work and in the neighborhood.

Sometimes, though, despite our best intentions, we say things that drive these same people way from us.

For the next few days, let’s explore some phrases and things that we say that can be annoying, that shut down communication, damage intimacy and distance our loved ones.

Today’s phrase is wildly popular on social media and via instant messaging: "just sayin’".

 

Here is how the Urban dictionary defines it:
  • a term coined to be used at the end of something insulting or offensive to take the heat off you when you say it.
  • The punctuation people put at the end of an unsolicited, fact-less assertion to indicate self-satisfaction at having stated something they erroneously believe...
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Eat of the good things (DW#415)

Sūra Mu’minūn: Eat of the good things and act righteously [Quran: 23:51]

As we prepare for the festival of Eid and the days of feasting that will surely follow, let us remind ourselves of this verse which links eating to doing good or acting righteously. 

It is a most beautiful command to eat of the good things: to enjoy the bounty and blessings that He has granted us and to take pleasure in these bounties. While this verse commands us to be mindful of what we eat, it also links food to spirituality, to the command to act righteously. 

Scholars explain that this verse reminds us that what we eat impacts our soul. It affects how we think and how we behave, how we connect to God, and how we treat others around us. Our spirituality, in other words, is very closely linked to what and how we eat. 

A tradition of the Holy Prophet (saw) advises us: Spare one third of the stomach for food, one third for drink and one third for breath.

So today as we begin...

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Avoid secret conversations (DW#413)

Sura Nisa: There is no good in most of their secret talks except in he who enjoins charity, or goodness, or reconciliation between people. [Quran 4:114]

During the time of the Holy Prophet (saw), his enemies would gather in small groups, whisper amongst themselves and plot against him. In this verse, the Quran cautions against having secret conversations amongst people while leaving others out, except if it to do charity or advise towards kind deeds or to make amends between people.

This verse about social etiquette has deep psychological wisdom. It refers to when two or more people gather to talk secretly excluding others. In another place in the Quran, najwa or a secret conversation is referred to as an act of Shaytan (Quran 58:10) as it is often done with ill intentions, either to plot evil, to form inappropriate relationships or to deceive someone. A conversation that is well intentioned on the other hand, generally does not require the covering of...

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