What benefits can emotional intelligence provide for me?
Emotionally intelligent people are more positive, have higher self-esteem, and have more empathy, all of which contribute to better mental health. People who can identify their emotions are better content with themselves and have a greater sense of well-being in general.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and the ability to apply this awareness in managing your behaviour and relationships.”
–Travis Bradberry (Author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0)
Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize the underlying causes of your emotions, which includes perceiving your emotions and comprehending the information they contain. Armed with this knowledge, it becomes much easier to navigate your feelings, both within yourself and with others.
Before we delve into more detail, let’s consider another quote that explains why emotional intelligence is crucial and why each of us should at least explore the basics of emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman the father of this term writes in his book:
“The emotional brain reacts faster to events than the rational brain.”
–Daniel Goleman (Author of Emotional Intelligence)
This comment from Daniel Goleman, whose international bestseller on emotions about the EQ eliminated the IQ, demonstrates that emotional intelligence is just as important for our professional success as it is for our emotional well-being. His book’s theme is simple: without a healthy emotional life, even the most brilliant brain is useless, because both systems – emotional and intellectual – interact in incredibly complicated ways.
The Immediate Emotional Reaction
We need to first understand that our first emotional reaction to an event is unavoidable. But what precisely does that mean?
Let’s look at what happens when we react emotionally to something. Our emotional reactions are influenced by the events we’ve experienced throughout our lives. So, when we are exposed to a stimulus, our brain quickly analyzes all of our past interactions and retrieves the reaction that produced the best results.
The way we react to an incident is determined by a variety of circumstances and differs from person to person. We all have distinctive memories to draw from. Additionally, our current behaviour, desires, values, beliefs, and expectations all play a part.
The Emotions’ Origin
Another critical point is that our emotional reactions arise entirely from our subconscious, meaning we cannot consciously control them. The reason why our emotional brain reacts faster than our rational-thinking brain is that the emotional brain is responsible for our “fight or flight” reactions. These are the reactions that allowed us to respond rapidly to the attack of a sabre-toothed tiger in prehistoric times. Fortunately, such attacks are far less common in the 21st century, but the survival mechanism that stayed with us confuses us more in modern life than it supports us.
Becoming Aware of the Emotional Reaction
We should first become aware of the priority our emotional brain and emotional reactions have for us. Not because we want to change them, but to consider them consciously and objectively when engaging with our rational brain.
Being emotionally intelligent means being aware of our emotional reactions to the events around us and being able to perceive them. Once you have managed to consciously perceive them, a gap opens up between the stimulus that triggered the emotion and the reaction you would subconsciously execute. In this gap, you can make a decision about whether to include this emotion in your decision-making process or deliberately exclude it.
The Five Elements of Emotional Intelligence
What sets emotional intelligence apart is that it covers both self-management and self-awareness on one side, and competencies and abilities in dealing with other people on the other.
Daniel Goleman breaks down emotional intelligence into five fundamental abilities.
1. Knowing Your Own Emotions – Self-Awareness
This refers to a realistic assessment of your personality, recognizing and understanding your own feelings, needs, motives, and goals, as well as being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. It’s about knowing yourself well enough to assess how you react in certain situations, what you need, and where you still need to work on yourself.
2. Influencing Your Emotions – Self-Control
Self-control is the ability to influence and steer your feelings and moods through an inner dialogue. With this ability, we are no longer at the mercy of our emotions but can constructively influence them. For example, if something makes us angry, we can calm ourselves through inner dialogue and respond much more appropriately than if we were unable to control ourselves.
3. Putting Emotions into Action – Motivation
Being able to motivate yourself means consistently developing willingness and enthusiasm from within. This ability is particularly helpful during difficult times or when things don’t go as planned. If you can motivate yourself, you’ll find the strength to keep going and have a higher tolerance for frustration, enabling you to persevere despite obstacles.
4. Understanding How Others Feel – Empathy
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and respond to the feelings and views of others. It is about seeing and accepting others for who they are. Acceptance does not always imply approval. Accepting others involves respecting them, their actions, and their perspectives.
5. Relationship Management: Communication Skills
The art of relationships is mostly concerned with coping with other people’s emotions. It is the foundation for effective collaboration in literally all professional and private settings. Emotional intelligence requires strong communication skills. This includes two abilities: the ability to articulate oneself effectively and sensibly, thereby communicating one’s intentions clearly and transparently, and the ability to actively and attentively listen to others, understand what they say, and put into perspective what they say.
Emotional Intelligence Can Be Learned!
Yes, you read that correctly! You can improve your emotional intelligence. Of course, it is not easy, but with commitment and patience, anyone can learn to be a better listener, manage one’s feelings, and reflect more thoughtfully.
We’ll give you a few tips straight away, but if you want to learn more, Here are Best Breathwork Facilitator Training Courses & Certifications join us here. You can find informative and exciting content on emotional processing and consciousness work on various media platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Audible, websites, or your local bookstore.
Here are some questions to engage with your emotional intelligence:
- How well do I know myself? Do I understand how I react in specific situations and why?
- Can I influence my moods, or am I at the mercy of my emotions?
- How well do I handle aggression, anger, joy, affection, and other emotions—both in myself and in others?
- How are my communication skills? Can I express myself clearly and make my intentions understood? Am I capable of attentively listening to others and understanding their perspectives?
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These questions are meant to provoke introspection. The more you learn about emotional intelligence and investigate yourself, the more you’ll realize where you perform well and where you still have space for progress.
Here are a few ideas to get you started right away:
The fundamental principle of mindfulness is derived from Buddhism. Mindfulness entails focusing your attention on the present moment, putting your phone away more often, and simply being. It involves observing the environment around you in a nonjudgmental, open, and accepting manner, without getting caught up in ideas about the future or the past that you can’t change in the present moment.
Challenge 1: Go for a 20-minute walk once a day without any distractions.
Challenge 2: Practice mindfulness meditation at least twice a week.
Sort Your Thoughts
Challenge 1: Engaging in self-talk allows us to create a vent for our feelings like anger, sadness, or frustration, preventing them from festering inside us. By putting unclear thoughts and emotions into words, you can sort them out and make decision-making easier. Additionally, talking to yourself helps to reduce stress, regulate aggression, and gain an objective, more detached perspective on problems.
Challenge 2: Write down your thoughts in a notebook. Writing down your thoughts has all the positive effects mentioned above, with the added benefit of being able to revisit them later for better reflection. When experiencing negative emotions, facing a difficult decision, or anticipating an important event, writing freely can be helpful. By the time you put your thoughts into the structured form that written texts demand, you’ll have gained clarity on the matter.
Accept Your Feelings
Sometimes, we tend to ignore or suppress many of the emotions we feel in our daily lives, avoiding engaging with them as much as possible. This can lead to searching for external distractions to divert our attention from our inner feelings. Secondly Here are also Best Meditation Teacher Trainings & Certifications as well. Try asking yourself these questions:
- How much of your daily leisure time do you spend alone, free from the influence of your phone (YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, music, podcasts), TV/streaming services, and other people (family, co-workers, friends), and during that time, do you focus on how you’re feeling or do something for yourself?
- Do you sometimes feel like you need something external to make you happy? Where does that feeling come from?
- Do you sometimes judge yourself for your own feelings, emotions, and thoughts? You shouldn’t do that because you’ve just learned that these reactions are triggered by your subconscious and you can’t control them. They’re essentially hardwired into your brain.
No matter what emotion you feel, there is nothing wrong with it. Fear, anger, and sadness are just as much a part of life as joy, happiness, and love. By tuning into ourselves more often, we learn to better classify, understand, and control our feelings.
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