Self Management, Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence

Self Management is the ability to use your awareness of thoughts, physical sensation and emotions to bring yourself to a state of attention and contemplation before action.

In this article which focuses on emotional intelligence here is a look at self-management, followed by a few tips to help you in developing it.

Self-management is a powerful tool with a foundation built upon solid self-awareness (the ability to be aware of thoughts, feelings and emotions and understanding the deeper signals they provide), it provides the ability to break a habit, let go of a thought or desire, and build resilience – an ability to return to your breath and the present moment whenever the need arises.

When you develop the ability to size yourself up quickly and grab the reins before you head in the wrong direction, it keeps you flexible and allows you to choose positively and productively how to react in different situations.

This quote from Emotional Intelligence 2.0 does a great job illustrating that self-management is much more than simply self-control or “sticking a cork in it” as Travis Bradberry likes to put it – keeping yourself in check when emotions come on strong.

It is about using what we know about our selves as a tool to better understand the subtleties of the situation and returning to choosing what we bring our attention upon.

Our attention is so used to being pulled in so many directions – radio, email, texts, social media, TV, news etc. that we have lost control quite literally to what we bring our attention upon – essentially we have forgotten the fact that we have the capacity to choose.

Mindfulness is a key element in developing this ability to choose within us, by returning to our breath after our thoughts have taken us, this simple practice allows us to do the same in the present moment, in situations outside of meditation.

As meditation is something you can do to passively develop self-management, a few tips that I provide to my clients to cultivate daily mindfulness are:

  • Create a log of physical, emotional and mental sensations in situations where you usually react
  • Practice choice by bringing novelty in your life
  • Follow a routine of physical fitness, creative expression and mental relaxation
  • Engage in compassionate communication with others
  • Focus your attention to your freedoms, rather than your limitations

Today take the opportunity to practice your choice of attention and bring a simple novelty into your life; choose a day to escape electronics, take a day to refresh from talking on the cellphone, for one week drive silently to and from work with no radio or music.

The steps are small at first, but they are steps to cultivating a state of resilience, clarity and poise ultimately developing self-management as a secondary process in your daily activities. 

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