Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence the Google Way

google meditation mindfulness search inside yourself chade meng tanWhen we are fully present, we are more effective and can make better decisions, which allows us to connect with others on a deeper level, writes Louise Padmore, who recently attended the Search Inside Yourself, a two-day program affiliated with Google.

Through mindfulness, we can gain a greater awareness of ourselves and others, and learn how to direct this attention to become more perceptive of feelings/emotions, and therefore handle these feelings/emotions and our interpersonal relationships with greater skill and compassion.

We learn from the past what to predict for the future and then live the future we expect, Louise notes.

Empathy is about seeing similarities and offering kindness… It is the ability to experience and understand what others feel. With this understanding, we can navigate difficult conversations more skilfully, and also connect with others more compassionately.

Louise highlighted five key skills she learned on the course:

1- Looping Back: Instead of projecting our own views on others and quickly drawing conclusions about what you’ve just heard, use the technique of looping back to repeat and clarify what they mean. When you practice this, it’s incredible how much room for misinterpretation there is, and how very often we can draw the incorrect conclusions and miss the point of what someone is trying to tell us.

2- Mindful Listening: Allowing yourself to listen fully, and not say a word. This can be pretty uncomfortable and difficult to do. It’s a natural instinct to want to relate to what the person is saying, interjecting ‘me too’. By intentionally avoiding this instinct and simply listening, it is amazing how much more we can hear.

3- “I Am Not My Emotions”: Something often forgotten and/or not fully understood. When you experience an emotion, it is simply that, an experience. Emotions do not define who we are. We feel emotions, we are not them. For example, “I *feel* sad,” not “I *am* sad.” The simple technique of reframing allows us to have increased acceptance of the feelings we feel. We don’t need to control or try to push the ‘negative’ feelings away. They are just part of the full range of human experience.

4- “Stop. Breathe. Notice. Reflect. Respond”: Pausing and breathing before responding to a situation or trigger allows you to physically feel some emotions as they rise in the body. This greater awareness gives you a head start, as you begin to associate certain physical sensations with corresponding emotions, and providing an opportunity to choose how you’d like to respond rather than the emotion completely blind-siding you.

5- “Impact Is Not Intention”: When looking solely through our own “window” of perception, sometimes we can misinterpret the intention of what someone says to us. By being aware of this, it allows us to consider other people’s perspectives.