Steps and Tools for Emotional Intelligence

What is emotional intelligence? How does emotional intelligence make you a better lover, leader, parent, or friend? What is mindfulness? How do you negotiate a win-win agreement? What is the easiest way to calm your stress symptoms at work? How do you speak to a narcissist? What is anxiety? What are the symptoms of depression? Psychologist and coach Greg Hamlin takes up questions like these and more. He offers skills, tools, and steps for less stress, more emotional intelligence, more satisfying relationships, along with greater well-being.
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Aug 21, 2017

More than 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. experiences a panic attack during any 12 month period.  Dr. Greg Hamlin uses a simple illustration that helps explain panic attacks to those who have never had them.  Panic attacks come in many awful varieties and yet rarely are they dangerous. This episode is about demystifying panic attacks in order to set the stage for getting rid of them.

Jul 25, 2017

The research of Dr. John Gottman has spanned over 40 years and lays claim to the most scientific understanding of what makes couples happy together and what breaks them apart.  In this episode Dr. Hamlin discusses Gottman's famous "Four Horsemen" as patterns of communication and how to use them in a dating relationship.  Unless these 4 negative communication patterns are recognized and changed, the future spells trouble for the couple.  These four ways of interacting are the most important areas to think about, talk about with each other, and change together.

Jul 4, 2017

Disappointments are a part of life.  The smaller they are, the easier it is to "just get over it."  But major loss brings disappointment to a whole new level.  When loss has a magnitude that is earth-shattering we also find that our coping mechanisms are shattered.  The death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, and even intangible losses can leave us floundering.  This is because the grief process requires us to grow in our emotional intelligence in gut-wrenching ways.  If we try to avoid this, we just prolong our misery.

The process of grief is a natural process of moving from point A (crushing loss that leaves us broken) to point B (full adjustment to our new reality).  Sadly, there is much confusion about what grief is and what to do with it.

In this episode Dr. Hamlin offers tools to understand the process of grief and steps to move through it.  He also describes how the right kind of therapy can make the whole process easier and faster.

Jun 27, 2017

People with mild paranoia often have difficulties in relationships.  Their trust issues take a particular form.  They are suspicious, quick to read between the lines, quick to assume that the person speaking with them has a hidden motive.  At times, they will accuse others of having thoughts and intentions that are not there.  It creates anger, frustration, and a whole boat-load of misunderstanding.

In this episode, Dr. Hamlin explains how to recognize this pattern in others and in one's self.  He briefly discusses the causes of this way of thinking.  Finally, he offers tips for how to deal with it in a constructive manner.

Jun 22, 2017

What does it look like to have a friend who is also your mentor?  What is the value of being mentored by someone who your friend?  In this episode Dr. Hamlin reflects on one of his own friendships to illustrate a few defining principles of mentoring friendships.  In the context of friendship, a mentor is an encourager and a witness to the forward movement of your life.

"This episode is dedicated to Erwin Mooradian, friend and mentor, who passed away in May 2017."

     -- GH

Jun 14, 2017

Someone once said that friends are God's apology for making families. Indeed, friendships can be one of the treasures of being human.  But friendship involves a relationship and relationships always have problems or challenges.

In this episode Dr. Hamlin describes three frustrations that often arise between friends.  Of course, understanding these frustrations doesn't make them go away, but it does make us smarter, i.e., more emotionally intelligent.  When we get perspective in this way, we are more apt to be patient and also make better decisions about the friendships we have.

Jun 2, 2017

What is a real friendship?  Are there actual characteristics that you one can pinpoint to evaluate whether or not a friendship is worth keeping?

In this episode Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly comments on these questions by outlining 10 features of satisfying friendships.  This is part one of a periodic series on the nature of emotionally intelligent friendships.  By understanding these 10 characteristics of friendship, it lays the groundwork for having perspective on how to build friendships over time.

May 11, 2017

It's everywhere.  It's in greeting cards, songs, TV shows, and movies.  And it saturates graduation speeches.  It's the myth that says, "You can be anything you want to be. Just follow your dreams."  

There's only one problem:  it just ain't so.

In this episode, Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly outlines the compelling reasons why we should stop telling our children, "You can be anything you want to be."  There are much better ways to build self-confidence.  There are better ways to encourage a child toward success in life.  If we can be clear about why this ubiquitous American myth should be nixed, then we can free our children to be confident and resilient as they dare to achieve great things.  The key is in preparing our children to be emotionally intelligent men and women who excel at frustration tolerance, reality-testing, and self-awareness.

Apr 14, 2017

What is all the fuss about mindfulness and mindful meditation?  Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly describes what mindfulness is and how it enhances emotional intelligence. He then explains three ways that mindfulness can increase your happiness by helping you to tune in to what is positive, store up positive memories, and reduce the time you spend on negative memories that are not worth your attention.  Finally, he suggests a very practical way to instantly get started practicing mindfulness.

Mar 31, 2017

In previous episodes Dr. Hamlin has discussed emotional burnout and what to do about it.  Earlier episodes touched on narcissism and how to speak to a narcissist. The current episode brings these two topics together: burnout and narcissism.  

What is a narcissistic boss?  If we understand the key characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder, it can inform our strategies for setting boundaries with an unreasonable, demanding boss.

Part of emotional intelligence is self-awareness.  This means that we need to make sure we are carrying our own weight in the workplace. We need to do some reality testing to make sure we are not projecting our own shortcomings onto the boss.  But if a boss is truly narcissistic, he or she will likely be critical, demanding, stingy with encouragement, and will tend to take credit for himself or herself when it comes to your accomplishments.  The lack of empathy is striking and the narcissistic boss will talk and make decisions in way that is wholly self-referential.

In this episode, Dr. Hamlin briefly explains 6 specific ways that a narcissistic boss causes crushing stress to those under him or her. But there's more.  This excessive stress spills over into the family, friends, or significant others of anyone working for a narcissistic boss.  He concludes by offering a few tips for how to cope with a narcissistic boss so that you can protect yourself and those you love.

Mar 24, 2017

Various forms of social anxiety are common in the workplace.  Even highly successful people can suddenly find a particular work situation becomes a trigger for high anxiety or even panic.  One such situation is the conference call or business meeting. Many people find themselves with sweaty palms and crawling skin when they are about to give a status update or give a presentation in a conference call.  Even more common are the rattled nerves before a presentation.  

Being overly nervous can hinder your performance and leave you with a feeling that you did poorly, even your presentation went reasonably well.  If you have to white-knuckle through the experience, then your are setting yourself up for unpleasantness the next time you have to give a presentation.

One solution involves a two step process.  First, you practice specific relaxation skills over time so that you don't have to learn them on the day of the call or the meeting. Second, you have some simple notes in front of you that are your cheat sheet for how to calm yourself.  This results in increased emotional intelligence so that you can outsmart your rattled nerves and be at your best.  In this episode, Dr. Greg Hamlin presents a quick-and-dirty audio cheat sheet for how to calm your nerves before a meeting.

Mar 4, 2017

Learn four steps for dealing with burnout in your life after weeks and months of prolonged stress.  In the previous episode, Dr. Greg Hamlin outlined the key characteristics of burnout and it's causes.  In this episode, the focus is on what to do about it.  Using emotional intelligence to recover from burnout means (1) recognizing it; (2) facing it; (3) taming it; and (4) growing beyond it.  It also means learning to use one or two simple tools to get started in taking your life back from burnout.

Feb 24, 2017

People who experience burnout don't necessarily work harder than those who avoid it.  But people who have the emotional intelligence to recognize burnout in it's early stages are able to pace themselves more effectively.  Most importantly, people who understand burnout are in a position to be significantly happier, despite being in a demanding job. In this episode, Dr. Hamlin explains how to be savvy about your well-being by avoiding the quicksand of emotional burnout.

Feb 9, 2017

One of the big reasons why people choke in a job interview is due to nerves.  People get so worked up with anxiety and worry while preparing that they end up not being at their best.  One of the fastest ways to calm yourself is to simplify the task of preparing for an interview.  In this episode, Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly explains how to use emotional intelligence to prepare for a job interview. By following this simple approach you can talk about yourself calmly and naturally.  Most importantly, your words will stick in the minds of those interviewing you.

Jan 23, 2017

What are obsessions and how are they different from compulsions?  Can obsessions and compulsions ever be good?  What is OCD? What are the various forms of OCD?Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly explains an easy way to get a handle on these questions. The key is to have a clear understanding of what an obsession is and how compulsions appear to relieve the tension that's stirred up by obsessive thoughts.  Once you understand the dance of one obsession and one compulsion, you can see how they work together to create an anxiety mechanism that can be quite strong inside the brain.  This understanding allows us to see why runaway obsessions and compulsions can impair our emotional intelligence and hints at how to fight them.

Jan 13, 2017

Good communication skills don't come naturally. But they can be learned. Sadly, whatever communication skills we've learned often get tossed out the window at the very moment when we are needing a clear head. But conflict resolution does not need to create distance between two people who love each other. Anger management skills can be practiced together using these 12 tips.

Knowing how to disagree productively means having the emotional intelligence skills to argue without breaking the bank of connection and closeness. Dr. Greg Hamlin draws on the research of John Gottman and his own experience with couples to outline 12 ways to disagree productively and still remain close.

Jan 5, 2017

Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly explains the two major characteristics of the narcissistic personality type.  He then offers some tips for how to communicate more effectively with individuals with narcissistic traits or full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

This is an audio-only replay of a video that Dr. Hamlin posted on his Steps for Change You Tube channel in 2014.  The video had over 175,000 views by the end of 2016.

Dec 22, 2016

In this episode, Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly explains what assertiveness is and what it is not.  There really is a way to be assertive and still be a decent human being.  He also explains why assertiveness is good for us to practice.  Knowing your needs and how to communicate your needs effectively is a key aspect of emotional intelligence.

Dec 15, 2016

Parenting with emotional intelligence involves being mindful of the stage that your child is in.  Dr. Greg Hamlin briefly discusses three illustrations of how parents can pay attention to the needs of each stage of a child's life.  Parenting with with developmental needs in mind makes for decisions that you can live with while helping your child grow and mature.

Dec 6, 2016

Dr. Greg Hamlin explains a quick-and-easy way to understand Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and offers tips for parenting a child who is easily distracted. By understanding ADD, both parent and child increase self-awareness, an important aspect of emotional intelligence.