Emotional Intelligence and Anxiety

Many people experience anxiety. 

Anxiety stems from past experiences, the body knows what to expect such as: restlessness, heightened heart-rate and sweaty palms. For some people this anxiety is so bad that they cannot even function in their current situation, such as being unable to sit an exam. Needless to say, anxiety can become a seriously limiting factor to our success in education, our sports and pastimes and life in general.

When attacked by a predator, an animal either runs or fights or freezes this is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Anxiety is physiologically caused by inappropriate triggering of the flight or fight response, this could be in groups of large people, while taking an exam or in any non-threatening situation. Lisa Barrett stipulates, that those sweaty palms, that hammering heartbeat may not be anxiety, rather it could be your body preparing to do ‘Battle and ace that test.’

Studies show, that when student learn to harness what was previously dubbed as ‘anxiety’ that they perform better on tests and can change the way their brain perceives tests in the future, ‘they can get their [stomach] butterflies to fly in formation,’ — this can be seen as emotional intelligence in action. 

Can you relate to waking up with dread? Your mind racing with concerns as regards all the tasks of the day ahead, the work you have  to do…. etc. This is the brain searching for predictive data of what might be. Looking for ways of creating anxiety based upon the past. 

The past is the past, the present is now and the future is what we can effect. 

Perhaps nothing is really wrong and there is a physical explanation for how you feel starting your day. You are too tired due to not enough sleep, dehydrated even ill from a physical disease or illness. Nothing to do with emotions. These physical reasons just make starting the day hard but can be remedied or prepared for, get a good night’s sleep, stay hydrated and be aware of your health reacting to the needs of your body. 

We all have greater control over our emotions than we imagine.

We could construct our future experiences differently, there is a lot of research to support this position. In doing so we are training the brain to think in a different way. Not basing the information it is giving us so much on the past but considering how we are today, understanding how we have prepared for that event and empowering ourselves to just perform better. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

‘Emotions are built and not built in.’

The message of this piece is that if we have greater control of our emotions then we are also responsible for them and hence personally more accountable for our behaviour. 

By accepting this position we have a path to a healthier body and emotional life.  

If you wish to find out more about this topic, please follow the sources link below to watch a short video which this piece was based on.

Sources:

https://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_feldman_barrett_you_aren_t_at_the_mercy_of_your_emotions_your_brain_creates_them/transcript#t-295552 [Last accessed 09.01.18]

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201604/panic-fight-or-flight – [Last accessed 09.01.18]

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