Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS

Emotional Intelligence (EI): refers to your ability to recognize emotions, understand what they are telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others. When you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively. Therefore, if you are high in emotional intelligence, you have the ability to make your emotions work for you by using them in ways that produce the results you want. In essence, you use your emotions to facilitate your performance.


High Emotional Intelligence gives you an Edge!


Emotional Intelligence at Work 6-17-2010[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [47.7 KB]

Four quick points about emotions:

  1. Emotions are universal
  • We all have the same emotions
  • We express these emotions very differently
  1. Emotions impact your behavior and performance
  • Anger and anxiety are swing emotions
  • Anger and anxiety can derail or motivate us
  • Some emotions bring out the worst (depression, dejection and disappointment)
  • Some emotions/attributes enhance our success (competence, optimism, tenacity and enthusiasm)
  1. All emotions, including anger, are intrinsically good
  • What does the emotion tell me?
  • Once you know the message of the emotion, then you can start to respond more effectively
  1. All emotions in psychology work the same
  • Thoughts – be aware of how you talk to yourself with different emotions
  • Physical Reaction – what happens to your body, how do you know physically when you are anxious, angry, defensive or upset?  The faster you are aware and able to respond, the better
  • Behavior/Actions – Does your behavior help or hinder the situation?
  • (HINT) – Anytime you get angry with someone, immediately think of something positive about him or her as it helps prevent your thoughts from escalating in a negative way.


Five Key Factors that Make up Emotional Intelligence

  1. High Self Awareness:  the ability to tune in to information about yourself and to use it to help you navigate through life successfully
  2. Mood Management or Managing Emotions:  the ability to manage your emotions to shake off bad moods and to put yourself in a good mood
  3. Self-Motivation:  the ability to get yourself to do necessary tasks, to bounce back quickly from setbacks, to “psyche” yourself up on cue
  4. Interpersonal Expertise or Social Skill:  the ability to relate well to others, workout conflict, give and take criticism, build consensus, enhance team communication
  5. Emotional Mentoring or Empathy:  the ability to help others manage their emotions to help others learn to motivate themselves, to help others work out conflict


Applying Your Emotional Intelligence Strategies


  1. Learn to listen to how you talk to yourself
    • Are you fast or slow?  Complete sentences or short-hand statements?
    • Are you positive or negative?  Do you help or hurt the situation?
  2. Use your thoughts as instructional self-statements
  • Use your thoughts to positively manage the situation
  • Write down instructional self-statements (listen fully, take a deep breath, respond instead of reacting, consider the impact of my words before speaking, care about this person)
  • Use the statements to regulate your emotions when they arise: and
  • Remind yourself you have alternative ways to talk to yourself and manage the situation
  1. Be aware of your intentions
    • Intentions don’t always match your actions (and the impact on others)
    • Be aware of your intentions for each day
  2. Observe your actions
  • Have your actions match your intentions (and your impact) everyday
  1. Learn to relax on cue
    • Can you relax in the heat of a moment?  If not, your thinking & decision making are off
    • Create the proper atmosphere (quiet setting, physically comfortable position, key word or phrase, have a passive attitude)
    • Practice progressive relaxation every night
  2. Generate humor
    • It’s the laughter, not the humor, that’s important
    • You need 10 – 14 laughs a day or you are under-laughed individual
    • Laughter avoids chronic distress and can take the chip off your shoulder
    • You need the endorphins, hormones and enzymes in your life that laughter provides
  3. Become a good problem solver
    • How good are you at problem solving?
    • The faster you realize you are ineffective, the better you’ll be
  4. Practice the power of positive criticism
  • A most important, critical business skill
  • How can you communicate the criticism strategically so others are receptive?
  • Make your criticism worthy, to serve them, so others can grow
  1. Listen to the messages of emotions
  • Determine to what degree you are mad, sad, glad or afraid; or what combination you’re feeling
  1. Make tasks underwhelming
  • Chunk big tasks into smaller, more manageable bites
  • Then do the small tasks!
EI Questionnaire.docx
Microsoft Word document [28.0 KB]

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Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


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The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. 

While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

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