We've probably all taken an IQ test, but would you know where to place yourself on the emotional intelligence (EQ) spectrum?
Emotional intelligence is said to be more important than IQ for a satisfying and successful life, and I'd agree.
Because our emotions largely determine the quality of our experience of life. They're like the spice, the colours or the music in our life's story...which can be a lovely harmonic composition, or a dreadful noise.
The more emotionally intelligent we are, the more we can co-create the piece that we're hearing... And the more enjoyable our experience of life becomes.
With emotional intelligence we get to know ourselves a lot better, so our self-mastery, effectiveness, as well as our relationships improve.
But do you know how to be more emotionally intelligent? And as a result, positively steer your experience of life?
Emotional intelligence simply defined is a person's ability to be aware of and manage emotions, our own and those of others. I think it's wise to always start with ourselves, and that will naturally help us be more aware of what's going on for others too.
Try this 3-step approach that will help you raise your EQ:
This means catching yourself, realising that you are in an emotional state. Noticing it consciously, rather than being 100% absorbed by the experience without any self-awareness in the moment. It requires developing a so-called 'observer position'. Practising mindful presence, as well as meditation, both help with developing the 'observer' within ourselves.
This is your ability to recognise the emotion (or multiple emotions), be able to label them accurately. Anger, fear, hurt, or a mix of these? Love, care, compassion? It helps you in understanding how you feel, and then what you may want to do about it. It also means you recognise what's on the surface and differentiate it from what emotion is underneath it.
This is about taking conscious control of your emotion(s) and using any number of strategies to affect your emotional state. Even if the strategy you use doesn't directly work with the emotion, it can still alter how you feel. Reframing, perhaps? Challenging your thoughts? Any of the emotional processing techniques? Shifting your focus to pleasant memories and feeling gratitude? Or a physical intervention, maybe a walk? To name just a few examples.
That's the end of the simple 3-step list.
Try it the next time you find yourself in an emotional state that could be more constructive for the occasion. If you can, start with a simple, not too charged emotion and apply the 3 steps.
And for extra reflection:
How effective are you with these steps already?
When you find yourself in an unconstructive emotional state, how do you deal with it?
Can you identify a pattern of how you approach emotions? (e.g. do you always tend to "fight" as in trying to change your emotions by whatever means necessary? Or perhaps you tend to "flee" from them, trying to distract yourself and avoid them in some way)
There's a multitude of strategies to deal with emotional states.
By recognising what you already do that is working, you can apply that in more contexts. And if you notice that you're dealing with emotional states in an unconstructive way, there's value in that too. You can only change and improve what you're aware of, so you're on the right path now.
Emotions powerfully affect how we show up in the world, and how we experience life. So I hope this article helps you to boost your EQ and sweeten your experience of life.
Wishing you (emotional) wellness,
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