Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence

Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence

Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence

Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence

Synopsis

most people believe their emotions are automatic reactions to events. Few realize that their emotions are determined by what they think, by how they interpret events, and not by the events themselves. This book provides a theory of automatic processing and its implications for controlling emotions. Epstein was motivated to write the book by the success of a course he taught based on his theory. Students reported obtaining an understanding and control of their emotions that they never thought possible and that they said changed the course of their lives. The book can be used as a primary or supplementary text in courses on coping with stress or on improving emotional intelligence as well as for individual reading.

Excerpt

For several years I have taught a college course called Coping with Stress." I originally decided to offer the course because I wanted to apply a new theory of personality I had developed that I thought could make a practical contribution to improving people's lives. It took some adjusting to finally get the course to operate as I wished, but when it did, it began to produce impressive results. Students told me that it gave them an entirely new outlook on how to deal with stress and cope with their emotions. They said that they used to think there was nothing they could do about having distressing emotions but learn to live with them and control their expression. They learned in the course that they could gain active mastery of their emotions. They noted not only that gaining such control made them feel better but that acquaintances and their parents commented on how much they had changed for the better. I was particularly impressed when students began to photocopy their class notes and give copies to their friends and parents. It was then that I decided to put the material into a book to make it more widely available.

Most people believe their emotions are automatic reactions to events. Events happen and trigger emotions, and that is all there is to it. They are aware, of course, that they can control how they express their emotions but they believe they cannot prevent the emotions from happening in the first place. For example, they think that if someone treats them unfairly, it automatically makes them angry. They can decide whether or not to express the anger and, if so, how, but not whether they will initially feel anger. Few realize that their emotions are determined by how they interpret events, not by the events themselves. As will be repeatedly emphasized in this book, this insight provides a powerful tool for controlling emotions . . .

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