February focus: all the feels

February is a month that’s traditionally all about love, so I’ve decided to focus on a bit of self-love: understanding our emotions

  • noticing and accepting our emotions
  • understanding what’s happening for us
  • knowing what we need when we feel that emotion

For four weeks, I’ll share some strategies for noticing, labelling, being with and responding to our emotions. Why’s this important?

  • emotions are a source of information for us
  • they prepare us for action
  • they help us communicate with others
  • and they are not permanent

Emotional intelligence sets leaders apart

By the end of the month you will know more about how to connect with your emotions and emotional responses, and navigate life’s challenges more easily. This can help you be more productive, focused and emotionally resilient at work and at home.

Just as in most situations, emotions are better addressed than avoided. Emotional intelligence is seen as a key leadership skill that, according to Daniel Golman, writing for the Harvard Business Review, accounts for what sets almost 90% of high performers apart.

Critical to emotional intelligence are two internal capabilities:

  • being connected to yourself and aware of your emotions
  • ability to manage your emotions and choose your responses

As well as two outward-looking capabilities:

  • being tuned in to the emotions of others
  • ability to coach and influence others to manage their relationships and emotions

As a leader, a parent, a loved one, a community member, you set the tone and role model effective behaviour. Supporting those you have responsibility for to acknowledge, accept and respond purposefully to the messages their emotions are sending them will improve overall wellbeing as well as collaboration and communication.

Daily practices

I’ll be sharing daily activity ideas for supporting this inner work:

  • Monday: meditation – connecting to and managing our emotions
  • Tuesday: self care – managing our energy
  • Wednesday: philanthropy – showing our love to others
  • Thursday: self expression through creativity
  • Friday: movement – moving mindfully to support positive emotions
  • Saturday: connection – building healthy relationships with others
  • Sunday: reflection – pausing to create structures and routines to help manage our emotions

Getting started

Before we dig in, I invite you to think about what you’d like to get out of this month and set your intention. You might like to do today’s meditation to first settle and calm your mind & body. Then reflect on and write down what you want to achieve. This can help clarify and focus your mind.

Monday 1 February

Meditation

Place your hand on your heart

Breathe gently and deeply

Breathe in a sense of ease

Breathe out any tensions

As you breathe, think of one moment you felt safe and loved.
Let the feeling flow through you for 20 or 30 seconds.

The science bit:

Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and our body begins to relax and feel calm.

Warm safe touch and loving memories activate the release of oxytocin, a hormone of safety, bonding and connection.

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