Emotions Are Data

  • Emotions communicate meaning and intent.
  • It’s crucial to know that the difference between being irritated with someone because they’re late for a meeting and being concerned because they’re late for a meeting and maybe something’s happened to them.
  • Since emotions are a form of information, it's important to know how to accurately transfer these nuances to people, in a way that they will also accurately perceive.
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Communication

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • Some of us are better at acknowledging and communicating emotions than others.
  • Among the Big Five personality traits (openness, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism) research shows that people high in extroversion tend to have higher emotional expressiveness, while people high in neuroticism tend to be less expressive.
  • The ability to communicate feelings can be built up through practice, and a big part of it is first acknowledging the emotions you’re having and recognizing what’s causing them.
Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Expression
  • Daniel Goleman’s book about emotional intelligence (1995) promoted the idea that the ability to understand and employ emotional information is an important skill.
  • Part of that is expressing our emotions (through writing, body language, or talking with other people), and studies show that this process could have some real health benefits.
  • Research linked the repression of negative emotions to increased stress, and research suggests that writing about feelings is associated with better health outcomes for breast-cancer patients, people with asthma, and people who’ve experienced a traumatic event.

Great long-term interpersonal relationships (in terms of quality) are based on shared experience but also the ability to share how we are feeling at that time.

And if we are always expected to say positive stuff, we won't be able to reach that level of intimacy that we need in a really good relationship.

Organizations and even families have their own type of culture and the largest differences around emotions are called cultural-display rules.

All cultures recognize the basic emotions and they’re all expressed the same way, but those display rules, which are a function of our culture, tell us how do we show those emotions. How we express these is completely driven by those cultural-display rules. If you don't know those, you’re seen as an outlier. And maybe as lacking what people would call communication skills.

  • Acknowledge any signs of tension (in your jaw or eyes) and ask yourself, "Am I worried, am I anxious, am I angry?"
  • Next, ask yourself, “Where is it coming from?”

Knowing that will help you better manage your emotions and express your feelings in a way that will send a good accurate message.

The Trait Of Agreeableness

People who are more extroverted will talk more.

And we like people who are emotionally expressive most of the time, especially if they are emotionally expressive around positive emotions. This is the trait of agreeableness.

Being “ambivalent” in the context of emotional expression means either you want to express emotions but you aren't able to, or you expressed emotions and kind of wished you hadn’t.

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RELATED IDEAS

Emotions are responses to information

Believe wrong information and you’ll experience wrong feelings.

For example, if you think something about a co-worker, don’t trust those feelings and don’t express those feelings.

At best, let those feelings motivate calm, systematic investigation.

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IDEAS

What is self-awareness

Self-awareness is the recognition of one's own emotional state at any given point in time. 

We are far to often, wholly unaware of the emotional state we are currently in, and the degree to which that state influences our behavior and thought process.

  • To the degree that we can manage our emotional states, we are abetter able to manage these other elements of our lives as well.
Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

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