It’s a very human condition and happens to all of us. Composure is the maturity and acquired skill of staying calm and balanced in the face of day-to-day life with all of its varied challenges.
Our emotional landscape shapes and influences how we perceive and interact with the world. As much as emotions are untidy and uncomfortable at times, ignoring them is not a viable long term option.
Emotional Intelligence affects everything in our lives:
Physical and mental health
The way we perceive and interact with the world around us
Our resilience in bouncing forward from negative experiences
Skills for Sound Composure and Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) is typically defined by four main attributes
Where you recognise your feelings & emotions and how they impact your behaviour
The ability to control impulsive feelings, manage emotion in a healthy way, adapt to change and practice self-discipline
Recognise and understand the personality, character and behaviours of others. Empathise with their emotions, needs, and concerns
Develop and maintain good healthy relationships (at work, at home, and at leisure) Communicate clearly, collaborate well and calmly manage conflict
Emotional intelligence can be gained through the following steps:
Recognise the emotion you’re experiencing
Ask yourself why you’re experiencing it – whatever has provoked your response at this moment, the seeds for it lie in your past. Get a shovel and start delving.
Practise reviewing your response and put a different perspective on it. Reinterpret the interaction – for instance when we feel anxious about something take a look at it deeper and see if it’s possible to reinterpret the intensity of emotion to one that’s just as intense and slightly more constructive.
With practice, anxiety can morph into a desire to get things right, to a sense of excitement at the possibility of getting it right. We can channel our fears in much the same way a performer transforms their nerves into positive energy and uses it as a tool to enhance their performance.
Anxiety to Excitement is too big a leap. Each step is the same intensity. It’s the quality of the emotion that changes.
What’s your emotional bias? Are you a glass half full or half empty person? Pollyanna or Scrooge?
Notice the things that trigger your emotional responses – particularly at work. Think about them, what is underneath the feelings? Sadness, hurt, grief, anger? Be prepared to feel those feelings rather than soothe them with social media, food, alcohol or other distractions that we use. How can you better manage your mindset in those moments to have more control over your feelings and reactions?
Learn and practise mindfulness. There are enormous amounts of scientific evidence supporting your development of this skill. This means experiencing the moment without judging that moment. Be aware of your emotional responses and step back; become the observer. Recognise the emotion you’re feeling and go through the steps above. Observe the answers and insights you get about yourself. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process.
We all have emotional and mental habits or patterns of behaviour. They are neither good nor bad, simply part of the package of our personality. Understanding your habits can give a tremendous sense of personal freedom as routine reactions become considered responses.
Like any skill, this takes time and effort to master. Often the insight of a professional mental health specialist such as a Clinical Psychologist or Counsellor provides valuable support as you transition to emotional maturity.