Our emotions help us see and react to the world. When we have an experience, our emotions change with our mood and attitude toward it. Our emotions help us decide how we feel, and what we should do about different situations in our lives.
Wisdom is the collection of all the things we have learned through experience in our lives. Wisdom allows us to access our history and develop maturity in areas of our lives. Through the knowledge of our experiences, we are able to organize and understand the events we experience in our minds.
But what is Emotional Wisdom?
Emotional Wisdom is the crossroads of how we control our emotions while experiencing certain stressors, and our ability to maintain a certain level of mindfulness and attitude in our daily life.
There are many ways to develop Emotional Wisdom and hone our skills in keeping a cool head during stressful times. Some ways include controlling our rate of breathing, which then controls our heart rate. Other methods involve mental strategies of releasing ourselves from the situation, and taking a step back to get a better understanding of what is going on.
Georgia Southern University’s Counseling Center puts on several Emotional Wisdom classes throughout the semester that will equip us with the skills and mindset to deal with everyday emotional stressors. There are fifteen classes, one per week, and each class is held twice a week!
Some of the places in our lives that test us the most are classrooms, work, and social gatherings. Any time there are several opinions in one area, there are bound to be emotional responses. For anyone stuck in this tornado of opinions, it is important to breath, stay calm, and try to understand where the other person is coming from. Being different isn’t a bad thing, it’s a gift, so enjoy the different point of view!
When engaged with others, here are some ways to begin understanding them a bit more, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
Breathe – fully, in through the nose
Exhale – slowly, out through the mouth
Control – Understand what is going on, and how you are reacting to it. Are you opposed? For? Confused? Decide where you are coming from, and don’t let the primal, instant, emotional response leave your brain quite yet.
Assimilate – Understand the social dynamic of the situatio
n. Perhaps, travel through a thought process like, “I don’t agree with what they are saying due their points of X and Y, but I don’t understand what they meant by Z.” You understand part of the picture, but there is more to communicate.
List – Layout all of your potential options like so
- “I don’t think I agree, but what did you mean by Z?”
- “I agree with your points X and Y, I can see why you think that way.”
- “What I have experienced in life has shown me that X doesn’t work very often, so I usually trust Y to get the job done”
- “I don’t know much about this topic/ or / I’m not emotionally ready to talk about this subject.”
Move – make a move towards a certain goal. Do you wish to know more, stop talking, or share your side while respecting the other person involved?
For example, let’s say that sometime in our college careers we obtain a significant other. They may be an awesome person, but they may have different political beliefs than we do. If a controversial or disagreeing debate/conversation arises, we shouldn’t treat this person like an enemy. We remember to BE CALM. We breathe, and make sure not to react or jump down their throat. We talk about the differences we may have to understand each other’s point of view, and either learn from them, teach them the correct way, or agree to disagree!
Remembering to BE CALM will always help foster a healthy and productive relationship between any number of individuals. Additionally, being able to communicate with others from all backgrounds effectively is essential to developing trust and respect for others and a safe, healthy community.
Here is a quote that clearly illustrates the mindfulness and empathy we must share for one another.
A Scottish Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns, quotes a Los Angeles priest, “What we need is a compassion that stands in awe at the burdens the poor have to carry, rather than stands in judgment at the way they carry it.” This quote references how the rest of society must sympathize those enduring struggle, but truly embodies the take home message of mindfulness and wisdom.This was taken from Sir Harry Burns’ Tedx Talk.