With self-management you’ll become less dependent on others for happiness, and be more empowered to build strong and healthy relationships.
In this second article of the emotional intelligence series: self-management (also called self-regulation) will be investigated as a powerful tool to understand emotional internal triggers and their causes, and how to control them effectively.
Firstly, to move from self-awareness to self-management, requires that you take responsibility for your emotions whenever provoked by certain triggers, in order to regulate your internal world (mixed and troubled emotions), which will transpire to your external world (how you treat others).
Self-management or self-regulation, is the ability to choose how you think, feel, and act – and includes disciplines of:
Emotional self-control – the ability to wait till your emotions have past, and you can respond from a place of reason in a calm manner.
Achievement – getting more focused on moving forward toward some vision, goal, or strategy, and developing enhanced performance to meet your own standards of excellence.
Initiative – being self-motivated, keep moving toward goals with creative inspiration, think of new ideas, and take action when necessary.
Transparency – being totally honest, realistic and transparent about your progress.
Adaptable – being resilient, can stay calm under pressure and crisis situations, and recover quickly when things go wrong – and you don’t brood, point fingers, or hold grudges.
Optimistic – always have a positive outlook for the future, see new opportunities and the good in other people.
Flexible – being able to adapt and work with different people in different situations.
Trustworthy – being honest and taking action aligned to your values.
When you’re able to self regulate you:
- Are generally happier because you have control over your own life and any situation that may occur
- Tend to perform much better and flourish with more responsibility and accountability
- Recognize the link between freedom and economic prosperity
Indicators of self-management
In Latin the word emotion means ‘to move’ – as the ancients believed emotions move behavior. In modern times however, scholars say emotions motivate behavior.
Emotions spur you to do things by sending chemical signals to the muscles and organs of your body to ready you for action.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, all emotions have one of three motivations:
Approach – is when you want to get more of something, experience more, discover more, learn more, or appreciate more; you increase the value or worthiness of your attention. Approach emotions include interest, enjoyment, compassion, trust, and love. Approach behaviors are learning, encouraging, relating, negotiating, cooperating, pleasing, delighting, influencing, guiding, setting limits, and protecting.
Avoid – is when you want to get away from something – you belittle the value or worthiness of your attention. Avoid behaviors are ignoring, rejecting, withdrawing, looking down on, dismissing.
Attack – is when you want to devalue, insult, criticize, undermine, harm, coerce, dominate, incapacitate, or destroy. Attack emotions are anger, hatred, contempt, and disgust. Attack behaviors are demanding, manipulating, dominating, coercing, threatening, bullying, harming, and abusing.
Feelings can feel like like emotions and are complexed, ever-changing, and subject to moods, sensations (warmth, cold, pleasure, pain, comfort, discomfort), and physiological states (ie hunger and tiredness).
Consistent self-regulation requires focussing on your core values rather than feelings. Violation of values produces bad feelings, while being faithful to them, will eventually make you feel more authentic and empowered.
Regulating negative reactions
Make time to think about various situations and the emotions it triggers. Also list all the things that cause an impulsive emotional reaction inside you – the things that sometimes make you to just ‘lose it’. Then think of ways you could change the way you would normally react, write down a strategy for each situation to prevent losing your self-control in future.
Plant new thoughts – when you’ve identified emotions and reactions that are not useful, replace them with new ones that are more positive, and practice putting these into action.
If people are critical about you or what you do, try to identify what they say exactly, and how this can be constructive and helpful to you.
Nonverbal communication can communicate the way you feel far more powerfully than the words you use. Research has found the right nonverbal cues help you portray higher levels of:
power, charisma and intelligence.
Learn everything about body language and how to use it in all situations so that what you say, is congruent with your body language. An important fact in communicating with others.
Managing stress is an important aspect of self-management. Too much stress can have a negative influence and can result in depression and health problems.
To manage stress you can do:
- Breathing exercises
- Healthy eating and drinking
- Use self hypnosis and affirmations to keep calm
- Exercising frequently
- Sleeping eight hours at night
- Make time for family, fun and laughter
- Spend time on your own
Goals allow you to see your progress. It enhances motivation, provides structure, focusses attention and improves performance.
There are three critical elements of goals setting:
- Specificity – Goals should be well defined with clear standards
- Difficulty – How challenging the goal is for you. Goals that can be achieved with little or no effort will not increase your motivation. Setting goals that are too difficult will be overwhelming.
- Proximity – Goals that can be completed in the near future. Proximal goals produce greater performance because they are more immediately attainable. Distal goals should be broken down into to smaller goals to reach the long-term goal.
Self instruction is talking yourself through a task, using self-induced statements. The goal of self-instruction is to go from modeled, induced, strategic, task-relevant, private speech to covert, strategic, task-relevant, private speech. This will aid in orienting, organizing, and structuring behavior.
Self-reinforcement occurs when you choose a reinforcer when criterion for performance is reached. There are four steps involved in self-reinforcement:
- Setting benchmarks and evaluative criteria – understanding when you have met the requirements necessary to be able to self-reinforce. For example, you may set a goal of writing two pages of a book and when completed reward yourself with something fun.
- Selecting a reinforcer and controlling access to that reward – making it only attainable after reaching the performance target.
- Performance evaluation – determining whether the criterion was met measuring performance against benchmarks.
- Self-administration of the reward – give yourself the reward, the reinforcer.
This is your ability to respond to a situation. You are an autonomous (self-ruling) being. And the more conscious you are of your autonomy, the more unconditioned your responses will be.
As long as you are alive and conscious, you can respond to your circumstances in any way you choose, in the pursuit of your happiness. This power to respond, is a defining feature of humanity, and a direct expression of your rationality, your will, and your freedom.
Responsibility is looking at what you’ve been dealt with in life and make the best of it. It’s knowing that no matter how bad things appear, there’s always a possibility to express your truth.
Taking responsibility for your actions, is the source of power and integrity. It’s the power to influence your situation to become in alignment with your values.
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