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Why focus on emotions? (DW#450)

emotions feelings opinon Sep 14, 2018

How are you feeling today? If you are feeling good, happy, confident it is likely that you feel ready to take on the world. You feel like nothing can get in your way. You are productive and energetic. 

If on the other hand, you are having a bad day, feeling sad, anxious or upset for any reason, you may be lacking this confidence and energy. 

If you are angry, and you end up losing control, your emotions can get the best of you and cause you to act in ways that you later regret. 

So let’s be honest: how we are feeling on a day to day basis impacts how much we enjoy life and how productive we are. 

But emotions do much more than that. 

Here are some reasons, we need to become smarter about our own emotional state: 

1)   Emotions motivate us to act. The word emotion itself comes from a word which means to move – in other words emotions cause us to take action
2)   Because they motivate us to act, they predict...

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The function of emotions (DW#449)

emotions opinon Sep 13, 2018

Given that sometimes emotions get the better of us, or even make us miserable, have you ever wondered why are we created with emotions? I mean, if we are to suppress and control them (more on that in the coming days), what’s the purpose anyway?

So here are only a few reasons why human beings need emotions:

1)   Emotions help us learn from our memories 
When we go experiences in life, these experiences become part of our memory bank. However, when our brain stores experiences, it does just not collect facts. Our brain is designed to also record the feelings that go with these experiences and these feelings help us to learn from our experiences. 
Let’s take a really simple example: if we touch a hot stove, we will experience intense pain. The thought of touching another hot stove in the future will carry with it the memory of that searing pain. Thus our emotional memories from this experience will keep us from getting hurt again. 

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Have you heard about EQ? (DW#448)

What do you think of when you think of when you think of someone who is intelligent? Are they logical, good at learning, solving problems, taking tests? 

This is the traditional view of intelligence which is defined as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. Intelligence or IQ can also be defined as the ability that intelligence tests measure.

For the last few decades, however, psychologists and scientists have begun to question this limited understanding of intelligence. 

The most famous challenge, perhaps, was launched in 1996 by Dan Goleman with the publication of his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman claimed that emotional intelligence or EQ is another aspect of intelligence that is often overlooked but it is what often determines success or failure in our lives. 

Before we go any further, let us understand what we mean by EQ. 

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I’d love to get your opinion (DW#442)

There are so many decisions we make on a daily basis: about work, about the household, about our own schedule and about the family. 

While it is not realistic or feasible to seek counsel from our spouses or loved ones on every small decision, there are so many small and not-so-small decisions that impact the whole family. When we can ask our significant others for their input on decisions, it benefits the relationship in many ways: 

1)   It expresses trust in the other: Requesting someone’s thoughts on a matter lets the other person know how important his or her opinions are to you. By singling that person out as your go-to for advice, you’re expressing that you trust his or her judgment. The advice-giver will likely get a confidence boost, feeling like an expert in relationships, career advancement, or whatever else you need help with. 

2)   It is a sign of respect: What we do impacts those who are close to us. If we...

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Do you expect your spouse to read your mind? (DW#384)

People with fixed mindsets expect that that in an ideal relationship, the couple should be able to read each other’s minds and finish each other’s sentences. Since characteristics are fixed according to their view of the world, a lack of communication or a difference of opinion is suggestive of a fatal flaw in the relationship.
 
When Dweck invited people to talk about their relationships, she found that: Those with the fixed mindset felt threatened and hostile after talking about even minor discrepancies in how they and their partner saw their relationship. Even a minor discrepancy threatened their belief that they shared all of each other’s views.
 
For those of us who are in long term relationships we often find that we are still learning about each other even after decades of being together and can see how destructive it can be to expect the other to read our minds.
 
If we develop a growth mindset in our relationships, we have a much...
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Why do people in happy marriages cheat? (DW#368)

Esther Perel is a world-renowned authority on committed relationships and on infidelity in those committed relationships. 

In her ground-breaking new book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, she provides new insight into why people cheat. 

I found this book extremely useful in working with people reeling from the devastation of affairs because of one very important insight.

It is common for the betrayed spouse to lose their confidence, their sense of identity and undergo signs of emotional trauma when they discover that the person whom they trusted most in the world has betrayed them. It is common for these spouses (especially women) to question themselves and what they could have done to prevent the affair from taking place. 

This book explains that affairs have little or nothing to do with the marriage or the betrayed spouse and everything to do with the spouse who has been unfaithful. 

She explains that people have affairs as a form of...

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The difference between resolutions and goals (DW#312)

Most people talk about making resolutions at the new year, while some of us focus on setting goals.

What is the difference between the two and is one better than the other to bring about change and growth?

Let us take the example of health and fitness as this tends to be the number one domain of goal setting and resolution-making in January.

If you want to drop 25 pounds, it is a goal. A measurable achievement. Goals have a definite and precise endpoint. You will know when you have achieved your goal. (On a side note, when you do, it is important to take time to pat yourself on the back and celebrate!).

If on the other hand, you intend to work out 5 days a week and cut out processed foods, it is a resolution or a habit-goal. A resolution is a promise to yourself, a habit that you want to adopt, and it is more open-ended than a specific goal. It is a way to bring about a permanent change in lifestyle rather than simply a one-off event.

People who successfully make changes in their...

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A fixed mindset versus a growth mindset (DW#308)

A big difference between people who set goals and those who don’t is the mindset around growth and change.

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset and one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation, differentiates between a "fixed mindset" versus a "growth mindset".

With a fixed mindset, people believe that they either have what it takes or they don’t. They are not open to trying new things, accepting challenging opportunities or learning new things. They resist change because they simply don’t believe it is possible. Failure to them is a sign that they don’t have what it takes so they do not try things which they might not succeed at.

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, embrace challenging opportunities because they believe that they can only reach their highest potential by consistently challenging themselves and playing outside their comfort zone. They believe that failure is a necessary to learning and growing.

Here is what she says about...

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Lead with the negative (how to start and continue a fight) (DW#297)

The first issue with the exchange is leading with the negative. The husband made his entrance and said "What a mess"!

Dr. John Gottman, the renowned relationship expert, believes that if the start-up of a conversation is harsh, the conversation will go downhill from there and will generally not end well. If the first statement is negative, the other person will feel attacked and go into defence mode.

What could the husband have done instead?
He could have started by connecting first.

Here is what it would look like:

He: [Walks through the front door. Sees the mess, feels like grumbling, but thinks better of it. Takes a big breath. Kisses wife on the cheek, picks up his daughter and jiggles her in his arms while she giggles and makes him laugh. Smiles at wife.] How’d it go? [They chat for a few minutes. He says something nice about what she did that day. There’s a pause, and he takes the plunge.] I don’t want to hassle you, but could we talk about the clutter?

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Two kinds of truth (DW#291)

Last week we started the conversation about the foundational principle of mindful speech: speaking the truth.

There are two kinds of truth to aim for:

The objective truth: that is what happened or did not happen. This kind of truth is that which is objectively verifiable, quantifiable and measurable, and not influenced by emotions, opinions or personal feelings.

These are the kinds of things that plaintiffs and witnesses (and family members!) are cross-examined on:

Where were you?
Who were you with?
Who else was there?
How did the car get dented?
Who ate the last cookie? ;)

The other kind of truth is subjective truth: speaking about that which is based on our own internal experience, emotions or opinions.

Speaking the truth about what is true for us (with grace and compassion) is the doorway to intimacy as it invites another person to share our experience and internal world. It is about speaking what is in our hearts.

Some examples of invitations to share our objective truth are:

How do...

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