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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > August 2019 > Bad mood cure

Bad mood cure

Heidi Scrimgeour explores simple steps to becoming more self-aware and increasing our emotional intelligence

The default setting for my mood seems to be stuck on ‘irritable’. This tendency towards grumpiness is what I most dislike about myself and has landed me in hot water behind the wheel, tarnished a few romantic moments and cost me at least one friendship. But, recently, when I recognised myself in a deeply unlikeable character in Horrid Henry, which my daughter loves, I knew it was time to change gears emotionally. ‘Moody Margaret’ is not a moniker I want my children, or anyone, to associate with me.

EVERY EMOTION HAS A POSITIVE INTENT

The key to making the change from being a perpetually cantankerous person to someone whose mood is more measured is emotional intelligence; a concept originally explained by researchers Peter Salovey and John Mayer, but made famous by Daniel Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Bloomsbury, £10.99). At its most basic, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise what we’re really feeling, and why. Being aware of our emotions in this way is the irst step to regulating our mood.

‘Emotional intelligence is simply understanding your emotions and applying that insight in practical ways, so that you’re better equipped to use, manage, control and cope with your own emotions, as well as those of people around you,’ says Gill Hasson, career coach and author of Emotional Intelligence:

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