Emotional Intelligence (EQ/ EI) is the ability to perceive, understand and express our feelings accurately and to manage our emotions so that they work for us and not against us. This ability is cognitive, meaning that it can be learned and improved upon. EQ is all about the knowledge about how you and others feel and what to do about it. Knowledge about what feels good and what feels bad and how to transform bad to good. Emotional Intelligence is also about processing emotional awareness, sensitivity and the skills that will help us stay positive and maximise our long-term happiness and well-being.
Why should we care about developing our Emotional Intelligence?
I believe that learning and understanding the emotional side of humans’ behaviour is very important. Emotions are the things which drive us and create thoughts. Thoughts lead to actions, and actions lead to lifestyle. It is all connected but sadly this topic is not taught in schools at all, therefore I want to share some knowledge on this topic so you could get a brief understanding of the Emotional Intelligence.
I want to talk about EQ as a five-step model:
Step 1: Self-awareness
I have talked about self-awareness before and as you can see it is a part of this model too. In my opinion, it is the key element of being emotionally intelligent. Briefly, what is self-awareness? It is the ability to see ourselves with our own eyes and be aware of ourselves. This includes awareness of our goals, beliefs, values, drivers, rules and the ways in which these things contribute to the creation of our worldview. You can read more on this topic in my previous blog post here.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Step 2: Emotion management
To manage your emotions effectively you must become mindful. Especially of the behaviours that don’t really get you anywhere. You might feel great at releasing your anger and shouting at your family member, but that is only a temporary win. You might hurt them, and destroy the relationship just because you did not know how to control yourself. The key in emotion management is the awareness and mindfulness. Once you start to know what emotions you are having it will be easier for you to manage them.
There are a few techniques to track your emotions such as emotions journal or just a simple check-in with yourself throughout the day. I prefer the latter, so what I do is I simply ask myself and then answer these questions a couple of times a day:
- How am I feeling right now?
- Why am I feeling like this?
If I find myself having bad emotions I continue asking myself:
- How long have I been in this state?/What was the trigger for this emotion?
- Should I really feel this way or is it natural/temporary situation?
- How can I change this emotion into something better?
- What can I learn from this experience?
As you can see being aware and tracking your emotions can help you to manage them. I always try to manage my low moments and convert them into something useful, such as new learning experience.
Step 3: Self-motivation
Word motivation comes from the Latin to move. Human species are very goal-oriented and so self-motivation means pursuing our goals with commitment, energy, passion and persistence. To reach high levels of motivation, overcome setbacks and be the best we can be, we need to learn how to manage our internal states, harness our emotions and transmute them into the direction that enables us to achieve positive outcomes for our happiness and well-being.
To become more self-motivated and more emotionally intelligent you should incorporate the steps mentioned before as well as use other techniques such as self–talk, having a mentor or a team and surround yourself with the right environment.
Positive self-talk: This technique might sound silly to some, but I use it a lot. It helps me to motivate myself to get up and do the things I need to do. All you have to do is simply talk to yourself in a positive manner. The most common affirmation I use every morning: “Good morning, I’m ready for another great day”. I just say it in my mind and this set’s me up for a positive day ahead.
Mentor or a team: At the beginning, it might be very hard to become self-motivated, therefore a mentor or a small team could help you. Tell them what you want to achieve and you will have to become accountable, because now if you don’t do the thing, you won’t just let yourself down, but you will also let your team down.
Right environment: The environment around you should be healthy, calm and well lit. Try to keep yourself organised and clear your surroundings. Clean desk, clean mind, more room for new ideas and motivations.
Step 4: Relationship management
Relationships with other people are vital for personal growth and well-being. In the current times when we are the most technologically connected than ever, relationships become strained and dysfunctional. Do we have any real relationships? Do we have any painful relationships? Yet again, relationships mostly rely on emotional intelligence and how we or the other participant perceive the world around. Good relationships can cause a lot of lovely emotions, however, bad ones can cause a lot of bad feelings. Therefore it is important to know how to build healthy relationships.
Types of relationships:
- Personal partnerships
- Intimate relationships
- Relationships with colleagues
Few tips on building effective relationships:
- Know the boundaries of the relationship.
- Check your perceptions. (Remember that people see and understand things differently than you do so do not expect them to behave in the same way you do).
- Engage in exchange (Support and help another person in the relationship).
- Do not become or let the other person become dependent on you.
- Actively listen when they’re talking.
Some of those tips might sound very obvious but a lot of people forget these things and that might turn a great relationship into a painful experience.
“The ways that people treat us are the reflections of the ways we treat ourselves.” Linda Field, The Self-Esteem Workbook
“The ways that people treat us are the reflections of the ways we treat ourselves.”
Linda Field, The Self-Esteem Workbook
Step 5: Emotional training
The last step of the EQ system is training. As it is a cognitive ability you can learn, improve and become better at controlling your emotions. By reading this article you have already done the very first training session and now you know more about this topic. If you would like to become better at it and control your emotions, try applying the tips listed in this article more often in your daily lives.
The more you learn the more you earn. So I hope that today’s article was valuable to you and you learned something. The more knowledge you have about yourself, the better person you can become and “earn” more in life. Thanks for reading and until next time!