THE five minute EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EI) NEWSLETTER - by Johanna Vanderpol

The website for emotional intelligence, authentic happiness and coaching -
Because of the masses of information we are subject to each day, I have purposely kept this newsletter brief. However, if you remain a regular subscriber, this is a good way to increase your emotional intelligence little by little, day by day. Each issue will have an action step or exercise designed to increase your EI. This is my gift to you. Enjoy.

1. Increasing Positive Emotion
2. Did you know? From the research
3. Quote
4. Action step for you

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1.  Increasing Positive Emotion - Gratitude and Optimism
The Premier Issue of this newsletter talked about gratitude. It bears repeating especially in relationship to generating positive emotions. Gratitude is one of the factors that will help you do that. Here is a brief account of the positive effects of gratitude:
One of the qualities that make us more emotionally intelligent is gratitude. Science shows that choosing to generate feelings of gratitude reduces damaging stress hormones and a creates a happier state of mind. It also increases resilience so that when the challenges of life befall you, you have an easier time bouncing back. You think you have nothing to be grateful for? Try it anyways and see how it feels.
Did you know that people who are optimistic live on the average nine years longer with fewer health problems than people who are pessimistic? Astounding, isn't it? So, what exactly are the qualities of optimism? Dr. Martin Seligman, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania has conducted many studies on optimism and has written about it in Learned Optimism and The Optimistic ChildWell, the two main dimensions involve permanence and pervasiveness.
1. Permanence has to do with the belief that bad events are permanent, that these events will continue, always.
Permanence vs. a temporary belief would look like this:
Permanent (Pessimistic) vs. Temporary (Optimistic)
Iím all washed up vs. Iím exhausted right now.
Diets never work vs. Diets donít work when I eat out.
You never talk to me vs. You havenít talked to me lately.
The optimistic style for good events is the opposite of the optimistic style for bad events.
Temporary (Pessimistic)/ Permanent (Optimistic)
My lucky day vs. Iím always lucky.
I try hard vs. Iím talented.
My rival got tired vs. My rival is no good.
Pessimism leaves us feeling very helpless whereas Optimism lets us know that it will pass and that we can do something to make it a bit better now by addressing it in the moment.
2. Pervasiveness
Permanence is about time. Pervasiveness is about space. In pessimistic styles, when a problem occurs, the person catastropizes. He or she makes a universal explanation. When a failure strikes in one area, it applies to all areas of their life.
Universal (Pessimism) vs. Specific (Optimism)
All teachers are unfair vs. Professor Seligman is unfair.
Iím repulsive vs. Iím repulsive to him.
Books are useless vs. This book is useless.
And for the good events:
Specific (Pessimism) Universal (Optimism)
Iím smart at math vs. Iím smart.
My broker knows oil stocks vs. My broker knows Wall Street.
I was charming to her vs. I was charming.
The above examples have been taken from Dr. Martin Seligmanís book Authentic Happiness on pp. 88-91. He has created an excellent assessment tool to test your own optimism which is published on p. 84 of his book or you can access at his website at You will find it in the left-hand column.
I am a dyed in the wool pessimist. The application of Dr. Martin Seligmanís work on optimism, strengths and positive emotions have changed the quality of my life. I experience more positive emotions now on a consistent basis, am grateful for the things I have, focus on the positive things in my life now and can see the bright side of challenging situations. It has allowed me to act to make things better vs. give up and feel hopeless, helpless and depressed. Hey, if I can change, so can you.
2.  Did you know? From the research
    The Broaden and Build Theory took Barbara Fredrickson, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, to convince my head (Dr. Seligman speaking) that positive emotion has a profound purpose far beyond the delightful way it makes us feel.
Fredrickson claims that positive emotions have a grand purpose in evolution. They broaden our abiding intellectual, physical, and social resources, buidling up reserves we can draw upon when a threat or opportunity presents itself. When we are in a positive mood, people like us better, and friendship, love, and coalitions are more likely to cement. In contrast to the constrictions of negative emotion, our mental set is expansive, tolerant, and creative. We are open to new ideas and new experience.
- from p. 35 of Authentic Happiness by Dr. Martin Seligman
- to read more about Barbara Fredrickson's interesting work which won her the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize of $100,000, see the attached article from American Scientist.
3.  Quote - Optimism from the spiritual writings
    He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone's life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 457)
- see
4.  Action step for you
    Try this: Take the optimism test at and apply one element of that new thinking in your life in the next 24 hours. Jot down a few observations in your notebook as a result of how you feel from thinking differently. Sounds simple, but it can have a huge impact in the quality of your life and your emotional resilience during setbacks. Go for it! And remember the gratitude exercise from the premier issue: think of three things you are grateful for today. If you can think of more, go for it. Make it a daily habit to think of things for which you are grateful. Try it when you are grumpy. It is more difficult but doable. See if it doesn't shift you to a more positive state of mind.
Until next time
Regards to all of you
Johanna Vanderpol

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