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Body Sensations Reveal How Your Emotions Affect You Somatically

Body sensations are the way you manifest your emotions in your body, and once you learn to control your emotions you can change the way your body reacts.

“Our sensations are the original language of the body.” ~ Amanda Blake

Is your body talking to you?

Are you listening to its whispers?

Or do you wait until it screams?

Learning to slow down and listen to your body isn’t just about feeling the aches and pains of over exertion. It involves discovering how you actually feel emotionally about something.

Your emotional health and physical health are intertwined and inseparable. Your emotions are experienced and stored in your body. And they are manifested through body sensations. Breathless, clammy, fuzzy, hot, heavy, dizzy, queasy, or shaky are a few body sensations you may experience when you’re angry or stressed. Energized, full, expansive, smooth, and radiating are a few body sensations you may experience when you’re joyful and confident.

It’s within your body that you’ll discover the key to unlocking your emotional intelligence. In other words, emotions live inside your body, changing your physical experience and causing you to believe and act in particular ways. One moment you’re happy (emotion) on top of the world, so you’re feeling spacious and light in the chest (body sensations). Then someone says something that makes you feel anxious (emotion). It feels like your world is caving in, your shoulders slump and you feel deflated and dull (body sensations).

Conversely, by changing your posturing, you can alleviate these body sensations and alter your emotional experience. If you’re feeling shy and uncertain, you can breathe deeply, soften and straighten your spine, lift your head and look people in their eyes. The more you practice this, the more it will be your natural response and your emotions will change to feeling more confident and self-assured.

The concept, embodied cognition, says every thought/ideal is connected with an emotion which, in turn, has a physiological response in your body. Reflect on how the energy of shyness makes you feel small and act withdrawn. Sadness feels heavy, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Anger feels hot and stormy. Excitement feels energizing.

Tune into your emotions and identify each sensation as you experience it. Honor the messages that your body is sending you about your feelings. Don’t try to override them. Suspend any judgment of them. Simply observe them for what they are.

Do you want to become more balanced and centered? Here are some simple ways to get better acquainted with how your body responds to emotions. Observe what body sensations and emotions manifest as you do each of the following:

Regular exercise. It’s been proven to reduce stress, boost your “feel good” endorphins, enhance your self-confidence, sharpen your thinking ability, ground you, and inspire creativity.

Now add another dimension to your exercise sessions – an emotional one. Are you feeling anxious? Channel your anxiety into the physical act of exercise and release it. Invite all of your feelings, whether you view them as positive or negative, to come through your movement.

Improve your postureSitting in a slumped, helpless position invites thoughts and memories to manifest. Sitting in an upright, powerful position invites empowerment thoughts and memories.

Eating healthfully for your body type. Everyone has a unique biochemistry which greatly influences brain chemistry and emotional state. What you choose to fuel this system will be determined by your metabolism, blood type, genetic history, and activity level. Of course, we all have basic needs for fresh, nutrient-rich, whole foods.

Deep breathing. It improves your physical health and helps you remain calm under stressful situations. Also Alternate Nostril Breathing can help you achieve balance and harmony.

The key to controlling your emotions is developing an awareness of exactly WHERE you feel them, HOW they feel in your body, and in WHAT healthy ways you can process them. Somatic Coaching can help you become between attuned to what your body is telling you. Contact me and let’s schedule a session that will transform you life.

And if you need help listening to your body, make sure to click here to download your free copy of The 7-Point Wellness Assessment – Create Change Through Awareness. 

 

Embodied Learning – A Lifelong Practice that Leads to Excellence and Mastery

Embodied learning means there’s a harmony between your intellectual thoughts, emotional state and body organization as you learn to model the life you want.“By my actions teach my mind.” ~ William Shakespeare

Learning doesn’t stop when you finish your schooling. As the world has become more connected we are required to continually learn new skills and adapt to change. This takes great flexibility in our thinking. Yet this raises an important question: Is thinking enough to achieve mastery and excellence? No, and here’s why…

Do you really know ‘how to learn’?

Perhaps your style of learning has been to memorize facts intellectually until you take a test or do a task, and then you quickly forget it. Or perhaps you “know” a topic but never put it into practice, let alone master it.

Honestly, would you book Carnegie Hall for your daughter’s piano recital if she had only looked at a music book? No, a master pianist has years of practice to train the mind (to gain the skill), the body (to gain the dexterity) and the spirit (to gain the confidence) to cooperate together harmoniously. Mastery, through embodied learning, requires all three – the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Learning with the Mind. The educational system traditionally teaches the mind. As a result, many people stay stuck because they theoretically know what they should do, but they feel overwhelmed or are distracted by the next “bright, shiny object” that comes along. There’s too much information for any of us to process. We’re moving at a speed that demands immediate action.

In order to master a skill, it’s vital to stay connected as you embody your higher purpose and remain focused on what’s important. This requires…

Learning with the Spirit. Over time we establish a characteristic mood. People can see us as cheery or brooding, positive or negative, and helpful or closed-minded to give a few examples. People will either be repelled or attracted by our mood.

Emotions, on the other hand, come and go as situations change. However, if you’re not skilled in resolving your emotions they take on a life of their own and become a mood. For example, if you don’t effectively deal with your sadness and loss, it may become a mood of depression.

Your emotions and moods shape the way you learn. If you’re negative, and self-defeating, your learning and productivity will suffer, regardless of how skilled you are. On the other hand, if you’re open and curious you’ll be receptive to learning and increase your creative and innovative skills.

Learning with the Body. To manage your own emotions (not repressing them or becoming victims of them) you must approach them from a somatic perspective. How you organize your body produces certain moods and emotions, both positive and negative.

The body never lies. You may say you’re ready for a presentation to a room full of clients, because you know your material inside and out. But when you stand in front of them and you stammer and stutter and forget key points, your body is telling the truth – that you aren’t ready emotionally.

Embodied learning means there’s a congruency between your intellectual thoughts, emotional state and your body organization. And you only achieve this harmony through practice. For example, when you learn to model confidence behavior, you’ll feel confident. And as you repeatedly practice it, you will become confident. You will have learned this new skill so well you embody it in all you do. It will come to you easily. As you perform these actions in a graceful manner, people will see you as a master of your craft.

Are you seeing areas in your own life that can benefit from embodied learning? I would be pleased to partner with you as you discover how to become more mindful and aware in your approach to life. Please contact me and we can schedule a time to work together in person or via Skype.

How to Use Emotional Intelligence Training to Be an Influential Leader

Emotional Intelligence Training helps you support, motivate and assist your clients or employees as they improve their emotional competencies themselves.  I love this quote from William Arthur Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

I think it applies to leading as well as to teaching. Whether you’re trying to inspire your clients, your employees or your children, understanding emotional intelligence training is vital for your success. Emotional intelligence training might sound intimidating but it isn’t difficult once you understand the fundamentals for behavioral change.

What does emotional intelligence training include? Here are the three stages, which include fifteen steps that you can use to motivate your clients, employees, children or others to become more emotionally in tune with themselves, others, and the world around them.

Stage One: Preparation and Motivation

  1. Assess the job. Without knowing what the job involves, you won’t know what competencies are needed.
  1. Assess the individual. Before you know what needs to be improved, you must know the person’s strengths and limitations.
  1. Deliver assessments with care. Before giving your assessment, think about the impact your words will have on the hearer.
  1. Gauge readiness. Not everyone is at the same level or stage in life, so determine if the person is ready to hear and work with you.
  1. Motivate. Change comes when people want it and to achieve this you must motivate them at a higher level to overcome their reluctance to participate.
  1. Make change self-directed. People learn at their own rate and only when they see the need. So tailor training according to what they want to work on at this moment, helping them link their goals with their personal values.

Stage Two: Education and Support

  1. Focus on clear, manageable goals. Show them clearly what’s required to accomplish a goal.
  1. Give performance feedback. Self-awareness and insight are keys to creating lasting change, yet these are often the pieces that are missing. By giving sincere, well-deserved commendation and points to work on, you’re helping the person create this self-awareness. And when they learn to recognize what pushes their buttons – gaining insight into what irritates and annoys them – they’re able to learn how to control their emotions.
  1. Rely on experiential methods. “Repetition is the mother of retention” so the more they can actively practice the desired pattern of thought, feeling and action the faster and easier the new habits will become engrained in the brain.
  1. Arrange support. Continual mentoring accelerates motivation and accomplishment, so establishing a buddy system is vital.
  1. Provide models. We learn best by watching others, so show them how it’s done by providing good role models, including yourself. An embodied leader wants to model the desired behavior. In order to impact the lives of others, you work on exhibiting congruence in all aspects of your life. This gives you credibility, which is so critical for gaining the trust of your clients or employees. Fairness, respect, and humility, will bring out their best.
  1. Prevent relapse. Everyone has bad day, so have reasonable expectations and be prepared to handle the downs as well as the ups, and give ample opportunities to practice the new skills.

Stage Three: Transformation and Evaluation

  1. Encourage use of the new skill. Create a new environment with visual and verbal cues that reminds your clients to use what they’ve learned.
  1. Reinforce change. Strengthen and support each person as they achieve new skills and levels of emotional competency.
  1. Evaluate. To see progress you must have a measuring stick to assess it against. To keep them motivated, let them clearly see how far they’ve progressed.

Never think it’s too late to incorporate emotional intelligence training in your private practice, workplace or home. While it doesn’t happen overnight, you can alter deeply engrained habits and social behavior through retraining the brain and body.

If you’re a coach wanting to hone your emotional intelligence training skills or a CEO wanting to improve EI in the workplace, or an individual who want to excel personally, feel free to contact me for help in setting up your emotional intelligence training program.

Which of These 25 Emotional Intelligence Competencies Will You Master Next?

If you feel lost, unfulfilled and wanting to “find my true self”, it’s vital to mindfully define, in great detail, your emotional intelligence competencies.“What is it you’re really good at doing? What makes you unique?”

Do these questions make you squirm and think, “I don’t know…I’m just me?” Surprisingly, most people struggle with this. They do what they do without much thought. Of course you’re aware of your technical skills, people skills and personal work ethic. Yet, this barely scratches the surface of who you are.

With so many people feeling lost, unfulfilled and wanting to “find my true self”, it’s important to take time to mindfully define in great detail your core values, strengths, and emotional intelligence competencies.

When you do, a magical thing happens. You become empowered to break out of your comfort zone and excel beyond what you ever imagined possible. Like all top performers, you’ll finally know exactly what you’re capable of doing. You’ll know what to improve to achieve excellence. And while no one can master all 25 emotional intelligence competencies, you can significantly improve on some of them.

Daniel Goleman writes about the 25 emotional competencies in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence. (I really enjoyed this book. You should check it out!) They fall into five categories, under two main headings – Personal and Social – as the following outline shows.

1. Personal Competence – how you manage yourself.

  • Self-Awareness: Know your internal states, preferences, and resources.
    • Emotional awareness – recognize how emotions affect your life.
    • Accurate self-assessment – know your strengths and limitations.
    • Self-confidence – embrace your self-worth and capabilities.
  • Self-Regulation: Manage your internal states, impulses and resources.
    • Self-control – keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
    • Trustworthiness – maintain standards of integrity and honesty.
    • Conscientiousness – take responsibility for your personal performance.
    • Adaptability – be able to handle change, flexibility.
    • Innovation – be comfortable with new ideas and ways of doing things.
  • Motivation: Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
    • Achievement drive – strive for excellence.
    • Commitment – wholeheartedly support group or organizational goals.
    • Initiative – be ready to act on opportunities.
    • Optimism – remain positive despite obstacles and setbacks.

2. Social Competence – how you handle relationships.

  • Empathy: Have an awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.
    • Understanding others – sense others’ perspectives.
    • Developing others – actively bolster their abilities.
    • Service orientation – anticipate, recognize, and meet others’ needs.
    • Leveraging diversity – Cultivate opportunities through diverse people.
    • Political awareness – reading power relationships and undercurrents.
  • Social skills: Proficiency at stirring up desirable responses in others.
    • Influence – effectively persuade others.
    • Communication – listen openly and sending compelling messages.
    • Conflict management – negotiate and resolve disagreements.
    • Leadership – inspire and guide individuals and groups.
    • Change catalyst – initiate or manage change.
    • Building bonds – nurture instrumental relationships.
    • Collaboration and cooperation – work toward shared goals.
    • Team capabilities – create group synergy, bring out their best.

Why not copy and paste this list into a Word document and print it out. Then score yourself from 1 (very limited) to 10 (excellent) on each one. But don’t stop there. Ask someone who knows you well to review it and get their viewpoint. It will be an eye-opening exercise for you and give you a basis for where you want to start improving.

And if you want to open your own private practice this exercise will keep you from floundering, because it helps you identify your unique selling proposition (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP) – the things that make you and your services unique. And when you identify that factor, your business will excel.

Would you like me to help you assess your emotional intelligence competencies and give you proven ways of getting out of your own way so you can excel? Then contact me and we can set up an in-person session or one via Skype.

What is Emotional Intelligence and Why Do You Need It to Succeed?

What is emotional intelligence and why do you need it – answer this question and you can hone your EQ skills and become a leader who excels in any field.One of the things I love about my community of women leaders is their passion for finding (and sharing) new resources that help them pursue personal excellence. One of the most important resources you’ll ever find is defining and improving your emotional intelligence quotient. What is that?

Firstly, let me ask you…if you had to pick one over the other, which do you think are the more important skills you can have – learning the “how to” technical skills or the “why do they do that” emotional skills?

While, many people think that having a high IQ (intellectual smarts) is the most essential skill set for excelling in business and life, successful business leaders are proving to be those who nurture their EQ – Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence. This applies to the solo entrepreneur and the leaders of huge corporations – emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities.

Why is emotional intelligence so important? Being in business means you’re dealing with thinking, feeling people not inanimate objects. And if you want to motivate a person to do something, you need to make an emotional connection, not necessarily an intellectual connection.

What we’re taught in school about business and leadership is incomplete. They left out the more important skills, which are often termed people skills, soft skills, character building, or personality development. In today’s business world, these skills are now considered the new measuring rod for success. The higher a person’s position is and the more responsibility he or she has, the more emotional intelligence becomes crucial.

But what is emotional intelligence exactly? Happily, it’s a set of skills that anyone can acquire. It’s an essential ingredient for reaching and staying at the top in any field.

“Emotional Intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

This quote is how Daniel Goleman, who coined the term emotional intelligence, defines it. I’ve just finished reading his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence. I highly recommend it to you. He uses real life case studies of star performers to compare the importance of emotional intelligence with intellectual, technical competency. Here are some major takeaways from this book that you can apply immediately to your own life…

Understand how the brain works. Daniel Goleman explains that intellectual intelligence is based on the neocortex, the most recently evolved parts of the brain. This prefrontal area gives you the ability to pay attention to, remember and apply vital information when making good decisions.

Emotional intelligence occurs in the lower or inner brain, the more primitive sub-cortex, specifically the amygdala. Here is where our emotional, preprogrammed “primitive” impulses, “gut feelings” reside. It also stores our accumulated life experiences.

What this means for you: When the mind is calm everything works normally. Your prefrontal lobes introduce your power of reason, judgment and appropriate social behavior and, at the same time, control your emotional impulses. However, when a perceived threat arises, the central, more emotional part of the brain takes over. Worry, panic, frustration, anger, or irritation can kick in.

If you don’t have a high level of self-awareness, these powerful emotions can hijack your rational mind and cause you to explode in ways that you typically wouldn’t. Like when you lose it and yell at your spouse or children. Or you get stage fright so badly you can’t give your presentation. Out-of-control emotions can make the smartest people act crazily.

But the good news is, when you understand how the brain works, you can learn to control your emotions. How?

Researchers are discovering that people who are excelling in leadership roles today have a high level of non-judgmental self-awareness, which leads to controlling their emotions. This is such an important topic I’m starting a series on how to deepen your emotional intelligence. Be sure to visit my website each week so you don’t miss out on any of the articles.

Would you like a head start to honing your EQ skills? I’d love to give you one-on-one support as you fully discover your personal emotional intelligence. Please contact me and we can set up a convenient time for both of us to start working together.

Read related information on Emotional Intelligence:

Women in Leadership Who Excel Have High Emotional Intelligence

Which of These 25 Emotional Intelligence Competencies Will You Master Next?

How to Use Emotional Intelligence Training to Be an Influential Leader


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