Emotionally Mindful

One who practices the art of moment-by-moment, non-judgmental awareness of their emotions (or feelings).

~ Emotionally Mindful Individual

Do you consider yourself an emotionally mindful individual? On a scale of 1 – 5, how emotionally mindful are you?

  1. Never
  2. Rarely
  3. Sometimes
  4. Mostly
  5. Always

If you rated yourself as a 1, 2, or 3, don’t feel bad; more people than you realize fall into one of these three categories. If you rated yourself as a 5, congratulations, you might just be a unicorn — a rare and unique mythical creature! If you rated yourself as a 4, that’s great, you’re hitting the target zone.

Now, even those who’ve rated themselves a 4, will admit they are not perfect, because “mostly” still means there are times when they are not emotionally mindful; this is okay, this is normal. We’re all human, no one is perfect.

Your goal, if you’re not already there, should be to strive for “mostly”, the target zone. You may be wondering, shouldn’t we strive for “always”? And yes, “always” would be an admirable goal to pursue. However, being an emotionally mindful individual at ALL times and in ALL situations is a lot of pressure to place on oneself, and you would most likely end up generating more negative feelings towards yourself every time you didn’t succeed at being emotionally mindful.

Being an emotionally mindful individual is about the practice, not the perfection. And seriously, if we can get ourselves to the target zone of “mostly” then we’re doing pretty awesome!

So, if you rated yourself as a 1, 2, or 3, how do you start moving towards 4, the target zone of “mostly”? You start by applying one simple technique: practice. With every situation or interaction that occurs, you have an opportunity to practice being an emotionally mindful individual.

One who practices the art of moment-by-moment, non-judgmental awareness of their emotions (or feelings).

~ Emotionally Mindful Individual

With each new situation or interaction, you practice, that is, you strive to pause for just a moment, to breathe, to be aware and acknowledge to yourself what has happened or is happening, and to identify the specific emotions (or feelings) you are experiencing, without judgement.

Practice = Pause (Breathe + Acknowledge + Feel) * Non-judgement

It’s important to note that it’s about practicing to be emotionally mindful in all types of situations, the good (positive) ones and the bad (negative) ones. Being able to identify a specific positive emotion (inspired, eager, joy) is just as important and beneficial as identifying a specific negative emotion (doubt, anger, guilt).

By identifying the specific emotion you are experiencing in any given situation you have more clarity and insight on what you’re actually feeling and where it falls on the 7-Level Emotional Scale we’ve discussed in previous posts.

The better you become at identifying the specific emotion(s) you are experiencing in any given situation, the more you are developing and increasing your own emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

~ Peter Salovey and John Mayer

For many, especially those who lacked parents or mentors with emotional intelligence, the ability to identify a specific emotion they are experiencing can be very challenging at times. For them, it may simply be “this feels good” or “this feels bad”, which at a fundamental level, can still be an effective guidance system. But you can go further, you can develop and fine-tune your guidance system with an increased awareness and understanding of your emotions, you can develop and increase your emotional intelligence.

Just as a parent or teacher encourages a child by saying, “use your words” in order to help them improve their ability to communicate to others, we want to encourage you to, “feel your emotions” (or, if you prefer, “feel your feelings”) in order to help you improve your own well-being and your interactions with others.

Having Emotional Intelligence in your back pocket, always with you and readily available, will not only make you a more Emotionally Mindful Individual, but it’s also one of the important foundations to making your Next Big Adventure easier and way more FUN to achieve!

Until next time…be satisfied, but eager for more!

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