Do you have anyone in your life who displays any of the following behaviours (on a regular basis)?
- Gets all defensive and angry when they are given any form of feedback?
- Flies of the handle at the slightest thing?
- Gets really upset and displays behaviours such as crying and tantrums when things aren’t going their way?
- Ignores how the rest of the room is feeling and is unable to pick up the emotions of others?
- Is like a Boeing 747, they land on others feelings: they don’t hear what they say or just ignore it?
- Are they unable to step into another person’s shoes?
- Is completely unaware of how they behave, react to others and the damage their behaviour has?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) was a phrase originally coined in 1990 by psychologist John Mayer and Peter Salovey.
They developed the thinking and theory, however very quickly it was adopted by hundreds of other writers, psychologists, educators and the most popular book around EI was by Daniel Goleman who wrote ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Working With Emotional Intelligence’.
Emotional Intelligence is (as its name suggests) how you use your emotions intelligently and appropriately: according to Mayer and Salovey emotionally intelligent people:
Know their own emotions what they are feeling and why they are feeling it
Express the right emotions at the right time
Can control their emotions
In short, emotionally intelligent people are able to guide their own emotions as opposed to their emotions guide them.
Why Even Bother To Practice Emotional Intelligence?
- You reduce stress, not having control over our emotions is stressful and the effects can be long lasting. How long does it take you to ‘come down’ from an argument for instance?
- You’re able to deal with challenging and difficult situations more effectively.
- You’re health and mental well-being improves.
- You develop higher confidence and self-esteem.
- You’ll know your triggers (emotional triggers) and be able to stop them being released as others push on them.
- You’ll be able to recognise what your feeling and why you’re feeling it, giving the opportunity to change it.
- You’ll be able to stop downward spirals of negative emotions.
- You’ll be in control, this is key to building confidence and self-esteem, nothing is no longer ‘done to you’.
- No more ‘You made me feel’ comments directed at others, you take full accountability and ownership.
- You’ll know how to change a situation where emotions are involved: you’ll say the right things at the right time.
Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence has various ‘threads’ running through it three of the main ones are:
Recognise and know what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. The simplest questions to ask yourself is ‘what am I feeling right now’?
Stepping into another’s shoes, seeing the world from their viewpoint, with no judgement. Another question to ask yourself is ‘what experiences has this person had that is making them behave this way?’
Management of Your Emotions
You always have full control over your emotions. You have more than enough intelligence to decide what you want to feel, how to change what you’re feeling and completely reverse feelings. The question to ask yourself ‘what is the emotion doing for me right now?’
- Deliberately hang out with people who you feel have nothing in common with you! Seek and search for ways of ‘how you are alike’.
- Display non-aggressive behaviour. We all know when we are ‘rising’ to our emotions because there is a physical change in the body. Stop it. Walk away or change the emotion.
- Meet, talk and interact with people with the intention of building your emotional intelligence. Be present and aware. As soon as you find yourself losing attention, bring it back. Connect with others on an emotional level.
- Refuse to use the words ‘You/They made me feel (fill in the blank)’: no one (as the saying goes) can make you feel anything, you feel what you want to feel at any moment.