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Are You Smart About Your Feelings?

Play the "silent movie" game.

Whether you're at lunch or the airport, watch people and see if you can guess what they're feeling, suggests Freedman. Are their expressions glowering or glowing? Are they leaning in or back? Practicing being observant will make you naturally more so — and will increase your understanding of others' feelings.

Practice the what-if scenario.

Think of a frustrating event from your day and imagine two possible outcomes, says Freedman. For example, suppose your guy forgot to put his coffee cup in the dishwasher — a habit that grates on your last nerve. In the first scenario, you berate him for being a slob. In the second, you suggest that you'd appreciate it if he picked up after himself. Which is more likely to get a positive response? "Considering how consequences play out will help you make smarter emotional choices," says Freedman, "choices that facilitate outcomes you'll be happy with later."

 

Originally published on January 10, 2008

 

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