WOW Word-Of-the-Week #517: Self-Awareness

July 2, 2014 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #517: Self-Awareness 

Self-Awareness being aware of both our mood and our thoughts about that mood.

How often do you find yourself in a bad mood? How long does it take you to change your mood? Do you ever feel overwhelmed and emotionally out of control? Do you tend to be accepting of your moods and therefore don’t try to change them?

Last week’s WOW was on Emotional Intelligence and I got a lot of positive feedback so I am going to share the key factors of EI – aka EQ – in the next several WOW’s. The simplest definition for EI is – an awareness of one’s own emotions and moods and those of others.

a self awareIn Daniel Goleman’s book he quotes John Mayer, a University of New Hampshire psychologist who says, “People tend to fall into distinctive styles for attending to and dealing with their emotions:

  • Self-aware. Aware of their moods as they are having them, these people understandably have some sophistication about their emotional lives. Their clarity about emotions may undergird other personality traits: they are autonomous and sure of their own boundaries, are in good psychological health, and tend to have a positive outlook on life. When they get into a bad mood, they don’t ruminate and obsess about it, and are able to get out of it sooner. In short, their mindfulness helps them manage their emotions.
  • Engulfed. These are people who often feel swamped by their emotions and helpless to escape them, as though their moods have taken charge. They are mercurial and not very aware of their feelings, so that they are lost in them rather than having some perspective. As a result, they do little to try to escape bad moods, feeling they have no control over their emotional life. They often feel overwhelmed and emotionally out of control.
  • Accepting. While these people are often clear about what they are feeling, they also tend to be accepting of their moods, and so don’t try to change them. There seem to be two branches of the accepting type: those who are usually in good moods and so have little motivation to change them and people who, despite their clarity about their moods, are susceptible to bad ones but accept them with a laissez-faire attitude, doing nothing to change them despite their distress – a pattern found among, say, depressed people who are resigned to their despair.

On thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older when it comes to managing my emotions is – Either you control them or they control you! And moods are very contagious!

This week’s focus is on self-awareness. Would you say that you have a positive outlook on life? Are you able to manage your emotions fairly easily? Do you ever feel swamped by your emotions and helpless to escape them? Have you ever thought of having a “time out” for your bad mood and then letting it go?

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