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The 3 Steps To Sharpen Our Emotional Intelligence

Written by: Serene Shereef, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“Without understanding how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors work together, it’s almost impossible to find our way back to ourselves and each other.” ‒ Brene Brown

How can you increase your emotional awareness & deepen the connection between your mind & body?

What does it mean to process and “feel your feelings”?

How can you utilize the power of your feelings to create the results that you want to see in your lives?

Our emotions aka feelings are vibrations moving through our body. They are a powerful tool that generates our actions. Our emotions are trying to communicate with us, our deep desires and goals with either a conscious or unconscious thought or story. We want to create the space and time to allow for this. And by learning how to harness the power of our emotions, we can intentionally choose our actions and ultimately our results.

Emotional intelligence is recognized as a fundamental element for success, leadership and happiness as it allows us to create awareness, process and regulate our emotions and to use this information to guide the next step [including intentional thoughts and actions]. Emotional intelligence can be sharpened by utilizing the incredible power of “thought work”. This is a series of steps that allows us to “feel our feelings” and understand the underlying thought that is tethering it to our body. This process allows us to create a deep connection between our mind and body.

Step No.1 How can you “feel your feelings”?

As you create emotional awareness, and learn how to name and process your feelings, there are many questions that will help you evaluate this. Use the following questions to journal on some of your recent feelings to explore how to accept, allow, and process them.

  • What is the predominant emotion/feeling?

  • Are there any other [secondary] feelings that are coming up?

  • Consider using an emotion wheel if you are finding it difficult to name your feeling. Rate the intensity of the emotion on a scale of 1-10.

  • What does this emotion feel like in your body? Where in your body does it feel the strongest? Does it radiate to anywhere else? What [if any] associated details are you noticing? Any color associations, temperature variances, any other associated sensations? This might feel uncomfortable, so doing this in a space that feels safe is very important.

  • Use a journal to process and understand your emotions. Writing down these details will help you identify patterns of thoughts and feelings.

  • Explore what are some healthy ways that you can express your emotions. This might include physical activity, journaling, spiritual practices, creative arts, etc. Use strategies that connects to your interests and mode of self-expression.

  • Accept your emotions without judgement, without shame, blame or guilt. Give yourself permission to feel and to be human.

In our human journey and experience, we will feel both positive and negative emotions. This is normal, nothing has gone wrong. When we ignore, resist or avoid our feelings, they become disconnected from our conscious mind and burrow deeper into our subconscious. These hidden emotions continue to hold us hostage and we choose actions that are not healthy for us to continue this pattern of avoidance. This is the space where emotional eating, addiction to alcohol or drugs, distraction via social media or Netflix, etc grow creating destructive behavior patterns. By processing our feelings and bringing them into our consciousness, we can be connected to our true self and guide our actions with intention rather than reaction.

Step No.2 What is the thought attached to this feeling?

It’s important to identify the underlying thought attached to any feeling that you are processing. Often journaling on the following questions can be helpful to reveal the deeper thoughts that are acting as the trigger.

  • What actually happened? Now separate the facts from the thoughts/stories that we are having about the facts.

  • What emotion are you feeling?

  • What thought is generating this emotion?

  • What is the impact of this unintentional thought model in your life?

It is a universal truth that our feelings are always coming from our thoughts in the moment. It's really our thoughts and our beliefs that allow us to interact and engage with our environment and create meaning within our human experience. Most of the time, we believe that our external circumstances, which are the stories that we tell ourselves about what is going on around us, are what creates our feelings.

But in reality, it is really our thoughts about our external circumstances that generate our emotions in the moment, our human experience. Our emotions then trigger our actions and our actions create our results. So, our results are always a reflection on our thoughts and not our circumstances.

Now that you have clarity on your unintentional model, this is a great space to explore the results that you want to create and work backwards to create your intentional model of thoughts and feelings that are essential to create those results.

Step No.3 What does this emotion mean in your life?

Our emotions are always trying to communicate something to us. The key is to listen deeply and follow what our heart and mind is telling us. Ask yourself the following questions and journal the words that are coming up.

  • What does this emotion signify in my life right now?

  • What do I need right now to support myself through this?

  • How can I give myself love and compassion through this journey?

  • Acknowledging our imperfect human experience allows us to let go of what we think it should be and accept what it actually is. This gentle process eases our suffering and starts our healing.

We are not alone in this journey and nothing has gone wrong…

Connect with me via social media [as below] and my podcast [Mindfulness and Productivity Systems podcast on iTunes] to continue exploring what it means to process your feelings and create your intentional results.

If you are ready to take it even deeper and really apply this to your life, if you're tired of being stuck in the same place every day, having the same problems, not understanding or not knowing how to create that change, I invite you to schedule a free discovery call with me. So we can explore what this means to your unique set of needs. If you're ready to take your life to the next level, then I invite you to explore this because the truth is nothing changes if nothing changes!

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and visit my website for more info!


Serene Shereef, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Serene Shereef is a general & trauma surgeon and a mindfulness & productivity certified life coach. After struggling with severe burnout and hitting rock bottom, she used the energy of mindfulness with the scientific principles of habit building and created systems of productivity to reclaim her life. She now uses this unique powerful framework to help other professional women struggling with burnout and overwhelm to take control of their time, mind & energy. She has created an integrated mindfulness and productivity program that builds clarity on your life’s passion and purpose and uses individualized systematic tools to take control of your life so that you have time for everything that is important to you. Her goal is to help you do less and live more, embracing the joy of living your best life.



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