Emotional Intelligence Training

The Neuroscience of Emotions and How We Can Retrain Our Brains

At Questline, we help executives become effective leaders through emotional intelligence training. Higher emotional intelligence leads to better relationships with your staff but also with yourself. Social skills are key to success in the workplace. Indeed, the World Economic Forum puts people management; coordinating with others; and emotional intelligence in their top 10 list of skills integral to thriving in the fourth industrial revolution.

In our INSIGHT emotional intelligence programme, we use GENOS emotional intelligence assessments to help you better understand and manage your emotions. Once you can, you’re able to cultivate better working relationships and collaborate more effectively. 

Emotional Intelligence Training

Marcus Aurelius said: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” 

He was referring to the fact that our experience of emotions, and how we subsequently deal with them, is down to our brain circuitry. The ‘power to revoke’ is what we now know as neuroplasticity: our ability to change our brain’s emotional responses for the better.

A brief lesson in neuroscience: where do emotions come from?

Emotions are generated and experienced in our limbic system. This is a network of brain nodes (that include the amygdala, the hippocampus and the hypothalamus – to name those best known) that work together to provide emotions. 

The limbic system is closely linked to our prefrontal cortex which is the section of the brain that allows us to assess, modify and regulate our emotions. While humans and some animals share similar limbic systems, this prefrontal cortex is much more developed in humans. This means that humans have the ability to shift interpretations and find strategies for emotional responses, whereas animals don’t. 

There are different stages of emotion regulation

These are:

  • Pre-conscious
  • Attentional control
  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Response modulation

If our brain circuitry is working correctly, we move through each of these stages and end up with an appropriate emotional response. 

The amygdala is responsible for emotional reactivity. If we experience threat, for example – real or imagined – we feel fear or anxiety and this takes place in the amygdala. That then sends a signal to other parts of the brain responsible for emotion regulation. These networks then process and analyse the threat and decide what to do about it. 

All being well, the networks send a signal back to the amygdala to modulate the intensity of the emotion. Brain circuitry that doesn’t do this correctly means we might experience intense or prolonged negative emotions (i.e. anxiety or anger) and it also negatively affects our attention and memory. Why might some brain circuitry not regulate emotions correctly? It’s all to do with our view of ourselves and our self-talk. 

And this is where neuroplasticity comes in.

What is neuroplasticity?

Up until fairly recently, the common belief was that the brain could not be changed. Then, the belief evolved to suggest that it could be, but only in infancy: past the age of 3 and your brain structure was fixed. Now, scientists have discovered the property of neuroplasticity: our ability to literally reshape our brain and change its programming (no matter our age). 

Through purposeful thoughts and actions, we can dismantle and then reconstruct the way our brains shape our emotions. This enables us to establish more positive and helpful patterns of behaviour. In fact, not only can we do this, but we should be doing this – improved emotional responses and behaviour changes are integral to our growth as a species. 

. . .

Our executive emotional intelligence training makes the most of neuroplasticity. Our programmes help you rewire the way you think and behave to transform you into the leader – and the person – you want to be. 

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch and book a free consultation with us. We look forward to leading you to success!


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