Sunday, 30 April 2017 07:52

Emotional Thinking

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There is within the human heart a quality of intelligence which has been known to surpass that attributed to the human mind.
Aberjhani

Earlier this year I experienced a chaotic and stressful week. My uncle-in-law was hospitalised after cancer spread to his spine, paralysing him from the waist down. Denial is a tricky mind state. He lives alone and late afternoon the day before he was being discharged from hospital, he finally agreed to the help everyone had been insisting he needed. It didn’t give those of us on the ground much time to manifest the required 24-hour care. We managed, but it took organisational skills I didn’t even know I had!

A few days later my mother-in-law was thanking me for my help and described it beautifully. It had been a very emotional process for his friends and family and she held her hands apart, out in front of her. “There was emotion here,” she said shaking her one hand, “and emotion here,“ she said shaking the other hand, “and in the middle there was chaos.” “You,” she said, “had emotion here and emotion here, but clear thinking in the middle. What a difference!”

It’s a brilliant description of Emotional Intelligence. Emotions, especially intense ones, have a way of overriding our ability to think clearly. When we most need to  make good decisions, we simply can’t. What usually happens is this; when things go wrong, our emotions hunker down and throw the biggest panic / pity party ever. If our intelligence joins the mayhem, we add fearful, negative thoughts to the mix and our initial struggle swells to meltdown proportions.

There is another option. If we can use our rational, logical, intelligence to calm and bolster our reeling emotions, we may be able to find that elusive balance that brings out the best in us.

So where does Emotional Intelligence come from? It grows from the ground of self-acceptance and is nourished by the wish to do no harm to ourselves or others. It begins with building trust in yourself; honouring your word; supporting, instead of berating, yourself for errors and misjudgements; and being brave enough to face and express your feelings.

From that space of authenticity, over time, we learn to integrate our emotional reaction with more intelligent thinking. Through this integration we are able to slow down our initial reaction and increase our ability for more mature, reasoned responses. This is how we improve our capacity to be at our best in those critical moments when we need all our resources to deal with what we are facing.

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Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching

I'm a Personal Development Life Coach who specialises in L.I.F.E (Living Into your Fullest Expression). Based in Richards Bay, on the East Coast of South Africa, I live with my long-suffering husband, (his description!), two much-loved dogs and care for my elderly father who has Alzheimer's.

Read more about me here.

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Comments  

# heidi 2017-06-07 17:55
Great post and I think emotional thinking is really a problem for women and I have been there, not so much as I've gotten older
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-06-20 11:37
I was just thinking that yes, women do seem to struggle with this but men have a different sort of thinking that is just as problematic for them!
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# Whitney Abigail 2017-05-04 20:44
Emotional intelligence is very interesting, being able to be logical definitely helps in chaotic and difficult situations.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-21 10:08
I find the whole topic absolutely fascinating, as I do most human behaviour. Mine included!
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# Noblandmakeup 2017-05-03 06:46
I'm so sorry this is happening to your family. Unfortunately every situation needs someone with a level head, and thankfully for your family, that was you. Things will get better.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-03 08:03
There are times when you are too closely involved to do it for yourself, and it's amazing how someone seems to step up in so many situations. At least that has been my experience.
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# Emily@ Lifeinspandex 2017-05-03 05:49
Love this post!! Quality over quantity when it comes to those in my life for sure.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-03 08:01
So well put, Emily!
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# David Elliott 2017-05-03 04:14
It is essential to be able to slow things down when crisis come into our lives in order to make decision. You can see when someone is incapable of that, and things go downhill fast when they are dealing with the stresses of life.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-03 08:00
That is probably what I have struggled with the most, David, taking hasty action. It really is a critical issue and thankfully, one that those of us to whom it does not come naturally, can learn.
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# Nay 2017-05-02 19:56
I'm quite a logical 'everything is black and white' person but strangely this helps me to deal with whatever life throws at me as I manage to plan and organise my thoughts.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-03 07:58
Good for you, Nay, a clear head and the ability to organise can be a real gift.
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# Carol Cassara 2017-05-02 17:50
I have faced so many things in my life that would have drove me mad. We have to find that inner peace, that part of us that will help us stay calm and not go wild over what's happening.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-03 07:57
So true, Carol. Being able to stay calm makes the world of difference to our ability to cope with life's many hurdles.
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# Patrick 2017-05-02 16:36
You find all sorts of hidden talents you didn't know you had when a chronic/advance d illness comes calling. Hope your uncle has a painless as can be journey.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:43
Thanks, Patrick, unfortunately, they are battling to get the pain under control for him at the moment. Bone cancer seems to be one of the hard ones for pain management.
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# Rose Sahetapy 2017-05-02 15:21
I'm sorry to hear about your uncle in-law. The balance of mind and heart create clarity in making a decision. Beautiful post, Tania!
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:39
Thanks, Rose. Balance, mind, heart and clarity, four such beautiful words put together in one fabulous sentence!
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# Dana Vento 2017-05-02 08:48
For some, strong emotions tend to interfere with balanced and realistic thought processes and can result in distorted views of situations and relationships.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:38
Absolutely Dana. As any of us who have ever sent an angry response to an email that seemed offensive, only to reread it later and realise we read it completely out of context!
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# Elizabeth O. 2017-05-02 04:52
It makes so nich sense to use our mind and emotions to spread calmness instead of panic. Our mind is powerful after all and this could really help in times of stress and panic.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:35
I love that, spread calmness instead of panic. Gets a yes from me!
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# Diane Hoffmaster 2017-05-02 03:38
I tend to be a very logical thinker so when emotional issues hit, it is hard for me to deal with them. Great tips to keep in mind.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:34
Thanks, Diane! It's all about finding that elusive balance where both emotional connection and intelligent thinking work together for the best all round result!
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# Five Little Doves 2017-05-01 20:39
I am so sorry to hear about this sad news, but I love this post and how thought provoking it is. I am definitely an emotional thinker, I'm an emotional person in general even though I try very hard to mask it sometimes.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:31
Emotions are so tricky. We need them for all the joy and enthusiasm they bring to life, but man oh man, they really can cause all sorts of trouble!
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# Ana De- Jesus 2017-05-01 19:50
Your right, sometimes when our emotions are riding high we lack clarity and can make rash decisions. Having the ability to use our emotional intelligence allows us to be more rational x
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:30
I have definitely found that connection in my own life, Ana.
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# Khsuhboo 2017-05-01 19:22
Emotional Intelligence I feel is something you develop over a period of time when faced with tough situations. I also happen to know a few youngsters whose sensitivity surprises me. It is different for different people I guess
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-02 17:29
It's a fascinating topic! I do think some people seem to be more naturally emotionally intelligent than others and they could well be born like that. Or else they learn it from emotionally intelligent parents!
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# Ravi 2017-05-01 18:17
A balance between IQ and EQ is what can make life easier. But it's rather difficult to maintain such a balance..
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 18:35
It is, Ravi, especially in those intense moments when we are out of our depth or facing something completely new.
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# Tonya Wilhelm 2017-05-01 17:36
Sorry for your families stress. This is a really nice post. It's hard to be centered at times, but if we can, it makes things a lot better, especially for those around us.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 18:37
Thanks, Tonya. This experience really brought home to me how working on myself was of benefit to people near me. It felt good to keep my balance!
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# Jacqueline 2017-05-01 17:28
This is an extremely thoughtful blog post. I know I've also experienced this and from all the comments others have also. I have been training myself to not act from an emotional place but a rational place when faced with stressful situations.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 18:44
Thanks, Jacqueline, and it does seem to have resonated with a lot of people. Realising that we can actually train in this kind of stuff is so helpful, I wish I had known that when I was younger!
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# Katie Kinsley 2017-05-01 16:52
I've never been a person who handles emotions well in any capacity. I've been known to be a person who "freezes" in the critical moment, then react after the event passes.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 18:46
Ah, Katie, you are not alone in that and it can be so frustrating. That freeze reaction is a tough one to overcome because of how very overwhelming it often is.
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# Anya 2017-05-01 16:23
Beautifully written. Sorry to hear about your uncle in law, I hope he gets better! Sometimes very emotional times help us come to our greatest realisations.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 16:47
Thanks Anya.Sadly, he is not doing too well at the moment. You are so right, we really do grow in these hard times and there is often some good mixed in with the difficulties.
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# Divya 2017-05-01 15:14
So beautifully said. I've always been an immediate-grati fication kind of person. I like to see the fruits of my labor right away. Which is why I was so hesitant to welcome meditation and other self-help practices into my life.

But, over time, I've realized that when we practice these things daily, they become more habitual in our day-to-day life, sowe are more able to pull upon those calming strategies when we need them the most.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 16:50
Thanks, Divya. I so agree with you, it has worked exactly as you described. Over many years, I have been able to kind of train myself during meditation to react differently in real life daily moments!
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# Tiana 2017-05-01 13:10
This is beautiful but true....Life always throw rocks at us. It is left with us how we respond to this. At the end, we need people we can trust
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 15:10
It does feel like rocks sometimes, Tiana. I can so relate!
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# Chelsea Elizabeth 2017-05-01 10:17
I'm a very emotional thinker but I'm now turning this into positive thinking. I'm taking part in 100 days of gratitude and finding it to be a big help so far
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 15:11
That is such an amazing thing to do, it can be quite life changing. Good for you, Chelsea!
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-05-01 08:49
That is a brilliant resource to have, Ali. You are so lucky to have people you can turn to and trust. There is nothing like that to help us regain perspective when we have lost it.
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# Ali Rost 2017-05-01 08:15
Your post rings so true in my life. I learned long ago to keep a very small circle of kind smart people close. When the going gets tough and I know I'm too emotional to handle whatever is in front of me .. I've learned to simply listen to and go with their advice. They haven't steered me wrong yet.
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