Along with analytical and problem-solving skills, emotional intelligence is key to productivity. MIT recently conducted a study on brain activity surveying Buddhist monks, who for years have practiced meditation. They discovered that the frontal cortex of the brain, where emotions are regulated, is actually more developed in these Eastern meditators than most people’s, resulting in increased emotional and physical well-being.

For those of us strapped for time, a collection of studies titled “Destructive Emotions: How Can We Overcome Them?” by co-authors Daniel Goleman of Yale and the Dalai Lama suggests the following practices to develop emotional intelligence:

  1. Introspection – the monitoring of one’s own mental states.
  2. Meditation – taking time to notice and respond to a full range of emotions from the negative to the positive.
  3. Seeing things from another person’s point of view – shows you how your own ego can be overly selfish or arrogant and opens up new solutions.
  4. Practicing compassion - opening the heart.

As workers and citizens, perhaps we can use some of these proven techniques from the East to bring more meaning and contentment to our Western world.

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