Brain and Behavior

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Did you ever think back on some of the important decisions you made in your life and wonder "What was I thinking?" or "Did I really do that and why?" Not using your emotional intelligence may be to blame for those bad decisions and actions.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life's challenges.

Our emotional intelligence affects the quality of our lives because it influences our behavior and relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because it enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.

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4 Game-Changing Brain Science Discoveries Redefining Happiness

Have you ever tried to tell yourself to "just relax" and "enjoy" an unexpected traffic-filled commute that is sure to make you late? You keep telling yourself there is nothing you can do so "let go" and "be Zen" about it, only to feel your hands gripping the steering wheel and your eyes rolling out of frustration at the car that jetted into your lane.

You sarcastically think to yourself, "as if they were really going to get there that much faster." Then you remember to be positive. Back and forth your mind goes like a high-speed ping-pong match. On one side you have frustration-filled thoughts; on the other you have Pollyanna-positive thoughts.

It is commonly believed that you should be able to think your way out of negative feelings.
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5 Ways to Access Awe in Our Lives

Awe is all around us. It is fall’s changing leaves, pink sunsets and snow falling on our faces. It is in big moments like birthdays, baby showers and weddings. It is in generosity between strangers. It is even inside us, bursting in our bodies (which I think of as both hardworking machines and works of art).

Awe is wonder. It's amazing things. And it’s always available to us, even in dark moments.
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How Shame Contaminates Our Lives — and a Path Toward Healing

Growing up, did you hear messages like, “What’s wrong with you? Can't you do anything right? You’ll never succeed at anything!” Have these toxic criticisms left you with a subtle background feeling of shame? Or perhaps you learned to keep feelings inside because no one was interested in your inner world.

Until fairly recently, shame was neglected as a field of study in psychology. But there has been a growing recognition of how toxic shame stifles self-worth, inhibits intimacy, and keeps us suppressed.

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4 Ways to Let Go of Anger

“Holding on to anger,” said the Buddha, “is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel the venom coursing through my veins when I’m ticked off, tightening all my muscles, activating the sympathetic nervous system to prepare for the gorilla that is not about to attack me, and tagging my amygdala (fear center), saying, “You’re it!”
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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Reduce or Stop Racing Thoughts that Stall Sleep

I can’t forget to bring that paperwork with me tomorrow! I can’t forget to pay that bill! I need to call the bank! I can’t believe she said that to me. What did he mean by that? What am I going to do about that meeting tomorrow? How can I fix my presentation? There’s no way I can make that deadline! How can I fit everything in???

Maybe these thoughts sound familiar. Or maybe your racing thoughts take on a different theme. But one thing is for certain: They stop you from falling asleep.
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5 Tools and Tips for Navigating Stress When You’re Depressed

Not surprisingly, stress can have damaging effects on depression. That is, “stress hormones like cortisol can exacerbate the effects of an existing depression. Or if we're not currently depressed, we can become more vulnerable to a future episode,” said Lee Coleman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and assistant director and director of training at the California Institute of Technology’s student counseling center.

Depression also comes with its own stressors. We might become self-critical because we aren’t able to function normally, he said. (And because depression sinks our self-esteem and fuels our inner critic.)
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Connecting to Your Body to Cope with ADHD

Adults with ADHD commonly have an uncomfortable or combative relationship with their bodies. According to psychiatrist Lidia Zylowska, MD, in her book The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD, adults with hyperactivity might get frustrated with their restlessness. Adults with inattention might get frustrated with their sinking energy. Many adults with ADHD also neglect their basic needs, such as eating and getting enough sleep.

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