Interview with Sue Langley by Robin Hills.
Sue Langley spoke to Robin Hills about the Langley Group’s work in organisations, with practitioners and in schools. In particular she talks about the link between positive psychology, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, and why she feels these three fields are so intertwined and critical.
When you think about positive psychology and emotional intelligence I think it’s very hard to pull the two apart. Positive psychology really looks at what it right with people. So whether it is somebody who is the happiest, someone with the highest sense of meaning or wellbeing, someone with the best relationships… those people who are flourishing in life for various reasons; what is it they do and how might we be able to learn from that?
Positive psychology doesn’t ignore the negative emotions; that sometimes gets portrayed in the media. It focuses on how do we leverage and increase the intensity of our ups, our positive emotions, and how do we bounce back a little bit quicker from the negatives.
So if you think about how that links with emotional intelligence… emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions, so its very hard to pull the two apart. Because if we are intelligently using our emotions we know that positive emotions lead to improved relationships, cognitive functioning, better engagement with society or teams, etc,, then it is very hard to separate them. So for me when I talk about EI, I do it from a strengths-based, positive approach. When I talk about positive psychology I still introduce the elements of the intelligent use of emotions.
And…if I add a layer on top of that as well, I don’t think you can separate out the neuroscience piece. Because if you understand the brain better …we know that our brain is wired to be social and emotional creatures if you like, then that bit underpins the whole of EI and positive psychology.