Expand your emotional awareness (and vocabulary)

Question your emotions: If you think you’re feeling angry, ask yourself what two other emotions you might be feeling* (perhaps frustration and disappointment). Then consider why you’re feeling that way.

*You might find the Feelings Wheel (http://feelingswheel.com/) to be a helpful tool to find a more accurate and nuanced description of your emotions.

Emotions are data; they communicate meaning and intent. It’s critically important to know that I’m either irritated with someone because they’re late for a meeting or I’m concerned that they’re late for a meeting and maybe something’s happened to them.

Emotions are signposts for things we care about, so ask, “What is this emotion trying to tell me?” Start your thoughts with phrases such as “I am seeing that…” or “The reason that…” or “I now realize/recognize that …” Some people find it helpful to journal or write freely and see what comes out of their fingers.

Once you know where your emotions are coming from, you can better manage them and express your feelings in a way that will send a good accurate message and your next step decisions are cleaner, clearer, and just lot better.

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