emotional intelligence

Five ways to improve your emotional intelligence

In Blog by Celine Redfield1 Comment

emotional intelligence

“There is no weakness in being able to love fully. It takes courage, tenacity, and an emotional intelligence that most people are incapable of.”
~Alafia Stewart

So you may be saying what is emotional intelligence, and how can it help me? The idea of emotional intelligence was developed by the American psychologist, Daniel Goleman. There are 5 basic principles of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-Awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

This week we will be talking about how to incorporate these 5 things into your life.

1) Take responsibility for your feelings and understand how they affect you and others.

Learning and understanding your feelings with out taking them out on others is essential to having healthy relationships in your family, work, with your partner and friends. This action attaches to the first principle of self-awareness. The hallmarks of self-awareness is having self confidence, a realistic self assessment, and having a self depreciating sense of humor.

When we do not know how to recognize, acknowledge, and manage our emotions, then we affect those around us. Have you ever been around someone that is sad, flies off the handle, or is withdrawn? Have you noticed that their emotions are catching and uncomfortable?

Take time to notice your breath and where you hold your feelings in you body today and how you may be affecting others with them.

2) Understanding how your manage your feelings.

These skills are about learning how to think before you act and how to control your disruptive impulses and moods. The hallmarks of this is: openness to change, integrity, and comfort with ambiguity.

These skills take time to learn how to practice if you you have any challenges with managing your emotions. Remember it is never too late to start practicing them; you are totally capable!  The trick is to catch yourself prior to the action. Take time to notice how your body feels prior to impulsive feelings. These are the warning signs your body is giving you.

Before you act impulsively when have a feeling of wanting to lash out, try taking three to five deep diaphragmatic breaths. During this breathing break, try to be curious about what is activating you. Ask yourself, is it worth it to say anything right now? Ask yourself if your ego was bruised?  Do I need to clarify what I just heard? The more that you practice pausing, the easier it will become and you will get at recognizing your feelings.

3) Having passion and motivation to live a good life.

Finding your life path, passion, and motivation in your life is essential to living a life that you love. The key to this is finding motivation that is not solely based on money or status. When one bases one’s life on this, it tends to make a person feel more alienated and apart from others. When monetary pursuits is a person’s sole focus, that person tends to feel more lonely and turn to addictive behaviors to self soothe. Finding a way of being of service and giving towards the greater good tends to help people feel more connected and satisfied in their lives.

When a person’s passion involves service to others, then usually there is motivation to continue projects even when they are difficult or challenging. A person is motivated to continue and does not give up because there is a commitment to helping others and a team.

How do you keep going when things become difficult or challenging? Breathe, take breaks and go for walks. When something becomes too much, instead of pushing through, it is usually better to pause and distract yourself for 10 minutes and return to your task. Being in the stress response actually makes you less effective. Try using the affirmation: “I believe in myself and my work. I accept these challenges and know that they will pass. I am grateful for this opportunity, the good and the bad.”

4) Have empathy and compassion for others.

This step has to do with learning how to step into other people’s shoes so that you can be kind and helpful to those whom are struggling. By practicing having empathy for others your relationships will improve greatly, and you will feel more connected to others. All humans have something called mirror neurons. They allow us to feel empathy. Mirror neurons help us to feel what others are experiencing: feelings, pain, and physical activity, so when we see someone crying in a film we may feel sadness or begin to cry.

In our lives today I have noticed that some people stifle these feelings because they are uncomfortable, but this is part of our genetic makeup. We tend to get into trouble when we deny other people’s experiences or our own, so that we don’t have to feel. This then makes us less compassionate and empathetic and creates more dysfunction. The more that we avoid our feelings, the larger we make the pile of things that we have to mourn the loss of. Mourning is a part of being human, eventually we all have to face our losses, feelings, and disappointments.

How do you stop avoiding feelings? Lean into them. Allow yourself to ride the wave, and then it will pass. The more we dodge hard feelings, the more for us to mourn later. Feelings are a part of being human. Embrace them!

5) Use healthy social skills.

Social skills have to do with how you interact and communicate with others. This is how you: give verbal and non verbal cues, know appropriate boundaries, know how to communicate effectively, and know how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. I could write a whole separate post on this topic alone. Having good social skills is necessary to having healthy relationships with your partner, family, friends, and co-workers. This is what helps you to: develop your support network, advance yourself in your career, improve your over all sense of well being and competency in relationships. If you have difficulty with these things, you may be interested in attending my group that is starting next month about having healthy relationships.

“Emotional self-control– delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness- underlies accomplishment of every sort” ~Daniel Goleman

I hope that this will help you with your week. Have a joyous Independence day! Please leave comments below or feel free to contact me directly to schedule a session or inquire about the healthy relationships group. celine@innergrowththerapy.com or 323.515.2278.

I wish you a beautiful, blessed week. May you be well, may you be safe and may you be free.




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