Welcome to my site! I hope you will enjoy reading the personal articles as I journey and navigate this life. I welcome suggestions for topics that you think are important, relevant, and valuable.

Please feel free to leave your comments by clicking the "Comments" section, located below each article. You can also email any article to your relatives and friends by clicking the "Email This" button, also located at the end of each article.

I am inviting my readers to share their stories of courage, success or resiliency to inspire other readers. You can submit your stories, 2-3 paragraphs in length, via the Comments section, located at the end of every article page. Your stories will be added to the "Readers' Contributions" page.

A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

I first read about emotional intelligence (EI) around the late 1990s, when Daniel Goleman, in his first book Emotional Intelligence, introduced the concept of how the brain can regulate our emotions in order to deal with people effectively. Since then, I have come across books linking the significance of emotional intelligence in the workplace and in our relationships with others.
How important is emotional intelligence? Numerous research indicate that it is a strong predictor of success particularly in the workplace. For instance, as of September 2008, at least there were 57 consulting firms that used EI as their model, 90 organizations specialized in EI training or assessment, 30 offered certification programs, and 5 "universities" offered EI courses (see
You are emotionally intelligent if you have the following characteristics, based from the Four-Branch Model of IE (see Mayer, et al.):

Accuracy in emotional perception. People with emotional intelligence have the ability to perceive emotion in children and adult faces, voices, and postures. Hence, people with EI can correctly identify emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear in others just by observation. They can also identify fake emotions.
Use of emotion to facilitate thought. Individuals with emotional intelligence use their emotions to come up with good decisions. They also know what emotion is appropriate at a given time. For example, a parent who is confronted with a child having a temper tantrum knows how to respond emotionally, compared to a parent who is frustrated and may use destructive strategies to manage a child in this state. In short, emotionally intelligent people use emotion to "think through" solutions.
Understanding emotion. This refers to the awareness of one's own and other's feelings and being able to react or respond appropriately. This ability links emotion perception and emotion regulation. For instance, in a business situation where negotiation and solving problems can create a stressful situation, an emotionally intelligent person understands the real emotion behind the actions of others and therefore is able to offer solutions proactively.
Managing emotion. People with emotional intelligence are able to regulate and manage their emotions. As such, they reframe their perceptions of situations. Hence, when a conflict arises in the workplace, emotionally intelligent individuals are able to exert considerable emotional self-control. This is sometimes referred to as "grace under pressure".
If you want to find out your EQ (emotional quotient or intelligence), click here.
Should you have questions or comments, write them down in the section "Comments" below this article.

Joseph, D. L., & Newman, D. A. (2010). Emotional intelligence: An integrative meta-analysis and cascading model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(1), 54-78.

Mayer, J.D., Roberts, R. D., & Barsade, H. G. (2008). Human abilities: Emotional intelligence. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 507-536.

Suggested Readings:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being Happy

If you are one of those individuals who are prone to depression, perhaps it is time to reflect why. Is it because you are homesick, frustrated, anxious, and worried about many things going on in your life? If so, you are not alone. The US National Institute of Mental Health revealed that major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million Americans each year. And specialists predict that depression would become the 2nd most common health problems in the world. 

However, you can change your mental outlook from being depressed to being happy. Being happy means having a sense of purpose, meaning, and being positive. It means flourishing despite difficult circumstances.

Here are some ways whereby you can happy:

Reframing. Reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones. Don't bury your head under the sand and wait for happiness to come because it won't. You have to learn to see the bright side of things if you want to nudge your self to be happy.

I remember a short anecdote by one of my Jesuit professors, Fr. Agathonico Montero, about two prisoners who were inside their cramped prison cell. One was a pessimist, the other an optimist. The pessimist went to the window and looked out. He grumbled about how muddy and dirty the ground was. The optimist went to the window, looked up, and exclaimed, "Wow, look at the blue sky and the sun shining brightly!" Same prison cell, same window, same reality but different outlook. Seeing the positive goes a long way into making you happy.

Being Kind. Commit to doing acts of kindness everyday. Studies suggest that acts of altruism lowers stress and could enhance mental health. Helping somebody in need can give you instantaneous joy. I have experienced this recently while shopping at London Drugs.  I saw an old man struggling to place 25 cents into a tiny hole in a long bar where pushcarts are attached. I immediately came to his aid and carefully tucked the 25 cents into the hole, releasing a pushcart. His smile while thanking me lit the entire store for me that day.

Remembering good times. Instead of recalling your painful past, focus on happy times. Recalling moments of laughter and fun with family and friends enables you to realize that there is so much good in your life, that the world is a good place to live in. Look at photos, read emails or letters, and appreciate the corners of delight in your life as you recall the good times.

Using signature strength. Signature strength is a strength of character deeply embedded in who we are. Philosophers call them virtues. Each time you use your signature strength you will experience a burst of positivity. This is because these strengths define who are at your best. 

If one of your signature strengths is honesty, then you will feel good when you practice it at every level of your life, not just at yourself. If your signature strength is creativity, then you will feel marvelous each time you create something original. If your signature strength is love, then you will feel wonderful giving love to family and friends.

Psychologists have recently identified 24 cross-cultural strengths that best contribute to human flourishing. Find out where your strengths are, utilize them in various situations, and you will feel your personal awesomeness.

Being grateful. No matter where you are now in life there is always something to be grateful for-- your health, your eyes, your hair, your feet, the unexpected gift, the smile of a child. 

Be grateful for the "givens" in your life. You need not have been here so be grateful for being here. You need not have been a parent so be grateful for the opportunity to love your child in a way that only you can. 

Be grateful too, for defeats, failures and pains. They are your best teachers in garnering success and achievements.


Note to my readers: It will be great if you could send me your comments and suggestions for improving my website. 

I also welcome contributions of any story you wish to share, related to this article. Your contribution should be between 300-400 words long.

Suggested Readings: