BOOK NOW

Embracing Emotional Intelligence: Using the AFRA Tool and Emotional Granularity for Decision-Making

Aug 13, 2023
 

Summary and Takeaway Points

In "Atlas of the Heart," Brené Brown explores the intricate world of human emotions and their impact on our well-being and decision-making. By recognizing and understanding emotions, even the less common ones, we can improve our mental health and deal with them constructively.

Key Takeaways:

1. Emotions Matter: Emotions are an essential part of our lives, influencing our experiences and decision-making processes. Acknowledging their significance is the first step towards emotional intelligence.

2. The Spectrum of Emotion: Beyond the familiar emotions like anger, sadness, and fear, there's a rich spectrum of feelings. Recognizing and labeling emotions like stress, excitement, vulnerability, and more allows us to navigate life more effectively.

3. The AFRA Tool: The AFRA Tool, which Robin Sharma inspired, offers a useful framework for emotional coping and capacity building. It involves awareness, feeling, releasing, and ascending.

4. Emotional Granularity: Brené Brown introduces the concept of emotional granularity, which is the ability to distinguish between different emotions, such as frustration versus anger or disappointment versus sadness.

Practical Application:

By applying the AFRA Tool and embracing emotional granularity, we can improve our decision-making process. For example, when facing a challenging situation at work, we can use this framework:

1. Awareness: Recognize the physical sensations associated with the emotional reaction. This brings the emotions from the subconscious to conscious awareness.

2. Feel: Fully experience the emotions without judgment. This includes acknowledging and accepting the emotions.

3. Release: Decide to let go of the emotional injury that the circumstance has caused. Practice self-compassion and forgiveness.

4. Ascend: Use the experience as an opportunity for growth and self-mastery. Approach future challenges with a clearer and more empowered mindset.

Introduction

In her enlightening book "Atlas of the Heart," Brené Brown dives into the intricate world of human emotions, highlighting their impact on our overall well-being. Emotions are an integral part of our lives, shaping our experiences and influencing our decision-making processes.

Recognizing and labeling our emotions, even the commonly experienced ones, can have a profound effect on our mental health. By embracing them and understanding their nuances, we can effectively deal with these emotions in a healthy and productive manner.

Emotions, like the myriad colors of a vast canvas, are rich and diverse. While we often focus on the familiar ones, such as anger, sadness, and fear, there's a whole spectrum that shapes our experiences. Here are some examples of other emotions we experience:

  • STRESSED: We feel stressed when we evaluate environmental demand as beyond our ability to cope successfully. This includes elements of unpredictability, uncontrollability, and feeling overloaded.

  • OVERWHEMED: An extreme level of stress with emotional and/or cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes overwhelm as the feeling "that our lives are somehow unfolding faster than the human nervous system and psyche are able to manage well."

  • ANXIETY: Intolerance to Uncertainty

  • EXCITEMENT: an energized state of enthusiasm during an enjoyable activity.

  • WORRY (the thinking part of anxiety): a chain of negative thoughts about bad things that might happen in the future

  • VULNERABILITY: Emotions we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a measure of courage.

  • ADMIRATION: It’s being inspired by others. It makes us want to be a better version of ourselves (not be like the other person, but get inspired by the other person).

  • ENVY: We want something other people have. Ninety percent falls into three categories: attraction (physical or social popularity), competence (intelligence and knowledge), or wealth.

  • JEALOUSY: Fear losing a relationship or a valued part of a relationship we already have. We feel jealousy in response to how we feel (fear, anger, or sadness). It involves a triad (3 people or 2 people and an activity). There can be dire consequences if combined with alcohol, and it can increase the risk of sexual coercion and physical assault.

  • Boredom is the uncomfortable state of wanting to engage in a satisfying activity but being unable to do it. When we’re bored, we experience a lack of stimulation; time seems to pass very slowly, and if we’re working on tasks, they seem to lack challenge and meaning.

  • DISAPOINTMENT: Unmet expectations; the more significant the expectation, the more significant the disappointment. There are two types of expectations: unexamined and unexpressed (we never share with anyone) and examined and expressed (we share with others).

  • Regret: Both disappointment and regret arise when an outcome is not what we wanted, counted on, or thought would happen. With disappointment, we often believe the outcome is out of our control. With regret, we believe the outcome was caused by our decisions or actions. Interestingly, research shows that in the short term, we tend to regret bad outcomes where we took action. However, when we reflect back over the long term, we more often regret the actions we didn’t take or what we didn’t do, and we think of those as missed opportunities.

  • DISCOURAGED: feeling of losing confidence and enthusiasm about any future effort or losing the motivation and confidence to persist. RESIGNED: We’ve lost confidence and enthusiasm about any future effort. Or we’ve lost the motivation and confidence to persist.

  • FRUSTRATED: Something that feels out of our control is preventing us from achieving a desired outcome. Feeling discouraged and resigned is about effort rather than outcome. With discouragement, we’re losing the motivation and confidence to continue with our efforts. With our resignation, we’ve lost the motivation to keep trying. Frustration sometimes overlaps with anger.

     

 

Applying the AFRA Tool and Emotional Granularity for Empowered Decision-Making

Learning to identify our emotions is essential, especially if we've been conditioned to suppress them. The AFRA Tool encourages us to be aware, feel, release, and ascend. Brown adds a layer of emotional granularity—the ability to distinguish between different emotions such as frustration versus anger or disappointment versus sadness. This powerful combination empowers us to make wiser decisions.

By taking the time to pause, reflect on our feelings, and identify the physical sensations associated with our emotions, we cultivate emotional granularity. We become skilled at differentiating frustration from anger, disappointment from sadness, and other nuanced emotions. This deeper understanding enables us to deal with emotions more effectively and communicate them to others.

The AFRA Tool, which Robin Sharma inspired, is a framework to increase your emotional coping and capacity. Let’s learn how to use it.

Step #1: Awareness

When you feel a strong emotional reaction, pause and locate the feeling in your body. This sensation indicates an underlying emotional wound that needs attention. Allow yourself to be present with the feeling and understand its texture and color. By acknowledging it, you bring it from your subconscious to your conscious awareness.

Step #2: Feel

Embrace the fact that feeling various emotions is part of being human. Don't judge or escape from the emotion; instead, accept it and stay with the sensation. By fully experiencing the emotion, you release it from the field of hurt and prevent it from sabotaging your growth and happiness.

Step 3: Release

Set the intention to let go of the old emotional wound. As you feel the buried emotion fully, it will start to dislodge from your system. Trust the process and be patient, as this healing may take time. With each release, you'll feel lighter, more confident, and closer to your authentic self.

Step #4: Ascend

Consistently practice this process. Embrace life's challenges as opportunities for growth and self-mastery. As you release emotional impurities and cultivate higher-order emotions like hope, gratitude, and empathy, you'll reconnect with your essential nature and reach new heights of success and fulfillment.

Conclusion: Embracing the Richness of Emotion

Incorporating the AFRA Tool's framework and emotional granularity into our lives opens the door to emotional intelligence. It's a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and empowerment. By acknowledging our emotions, processing them, and developing emotional granularity, we improve our decision-making and build a life rich in the diversity of human experience. It's time to embrace this profound wisdom and embark on a transformational journey, one emotion at a time.


A Practical Example of How to Use the AFRA Framework in Your Life:

Learning to identify our emotions is essential, especially if we've been conditioned to suppress them. The AFRA Tool encourages us to be aware, feel, release, and ascend. Brown adds a layer of emotional granularity—the ability to distinguish between different emotions such as frustration versus anger or disappointment versus sadness. This powerful combination empowers us to make wiser decisions.

Let's take a practical example to illustrate how the AFRA Tool and emotional granularity can be used:

Imagine you're facing a challenging situation at work where a colleague consistently takes credit for your ideas. This situation triggers a strong emotional response, and you find yourself feeling a mix of anger, disappointment, and frustration.

Step #1: Awareness

When you feel a strong emotional reaction, pause and locate the feeling in your body. Notice the tension in your shoulders and the tightness in your chest. By becoming aware of these physical sensations, you bring your emotional experience into conscious awareness.

Step #2: Feel

Embrace the fact that feeling various emotions is part of being human. In this case, acknowledge the anger, disappointment, and frustration you're experiencing. Allow yourself to fully experience these emotions without judgment or suppression.

Step 3: Release

Set your mind to letting go of the emotional scar that the circumstances have left behind. As you acknowledge and feel the emotions, they begin to loosen their grip on you. Practice self-compassion and forgiveness, both towards yourself and towards the colleague who took credit for your ideas.

Step #4: Ascend

Consistently practice the AFRA Tool in similar situations. Use this experience as an opportunity for growth and self-mastery. As you release the emotions tied to this specific situation, you'll be able to approach future challenges with a clearer and more empowered mindset.

By applying the AFRA Tool and developing emotional granularity, you can navigate more effectively and make decisions that align with your values and goals.

Download the Guide: Improve physician Productivity with AI and learn how to leverage and integrate AI into your personal and professional life.

Take our happiness and well-being survey for physicians to start a meaningful path. 

Through your experiences, you influence significantly to the future advancement of discussions and resources dedicated to enhancing physician overall well-being.

Click here to participate and make a difference today!

Join engaging and uplifting events

Participate in medical conferences, workshops, or local meetups. These gatherings are not just opportunities for learning but also for connecting with like-minded professionals.

Check Out My Upcoming Events

Explore Resources for Growth

Dive deeper into your areas of interest with our curated selection of newsletters, webinars, and our coaching/mentoring program for physicians

Ready for Change? Schedule Your Discovery Call Today!