In his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence’ Daniel Goldman discusses the benefits of learning to manage our emotions more effectively.
It’s especially important for us to not only learn to recognize what is happening inside of us, but to deal with it in a healthy manner. This is called ‘emotional regulation’ and is an essential skill for anyone who wants to learn how to live a more relaxed and balanced life.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
The term emotional intelligence, also known as EI or EQ, was created by two psychologists Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. The term was later popularized and brought into the mainstream by Daniel Goldman in 1995.
The definition of emotional intelligence, EI or EQ varies depending on who you ask, but here is how we view it:
- The ability to identify, understand and manage your own emotions.
- The ability to identify, understand and influence the emotions of other individuals.
So how does this EQ play out in real life?
It could very well mean that being more aware of your emotions you can affect the state of your own emotions. In other words, you could overcome seemingly difficult emotional states more effectively, ranging from challenging relationships to the passing of loved ones.
Here below we’ve decided to list three exercises which may prove to be useful in diffusing distressing situations through increasing your emotional intelligence.
1. Traffic Light System Exercise
One exercise which can be particularly useful, especially when dealing with negative of ‘difficult’ emotions, such as anger or jealousy, is the ‘Traffic Light System’. This is a technique sometimes taught to children when learning how to regulate their emotions, but if you think it cannot help you – think again!
Many of us were never taught how to formally regulate our emotions using a technique. Still others of us have forgotten that we might need to step back and learn some basics about regulating our emotions.
Use this simple technique when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with emotion.
Identify the situations and that you are going to react negatively.
Then work through these steps from Red to Green, until you’re able to react differently.
- 1. Red – Stop. Wait. Pause. Do not act until you have changed your internal setting.
- 2. Amber – Name the problem. Say how you feel. Try to feel the emotion and where it sits in your body. Once you have done this think if you need to respond, and if so how? Take a few moments to consider which responses might be best for the situation.
- 3. Green – Once you feel calm and have an option which will lead to a better reaction then take that action.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
We’re no strangers to mindfulness meditation here at TrueRelaxations. When it comes to the neutral observing of thoughts and emotions, mindfulness meditation is a very effective tool of increasing overall self-awareness and thus inducing relaxation.
In practice, mindfulness exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. It is essentially the conscious observing of the present moment as it unfolds naturally by itself. One of the main challenges in mindfulness is to refrain from identifying with the mental and emotional processess that incessantly are taking place.
Mindful appreciation exercise
This exercise is one of many variants of mindfulness, namely the mindfulness directed towards appreciation and thankfulness. This exercise is directed towards giving conscious appreciation and thanks to things, people or phenomena in your life that go unnoticed. By shedding light on what are often considered insignificant or redundant in your day-to-day life you can start increasing the horizons of your emotional intelligence.
Find five things, anything really, which are responsible for you simply being able to live a relatively comfortable and good life. It could be something as simple as the oxygen in the air, the electricity in your home, the pumping of your heart, the seeing of your eyes or the cozy warmth of your body.
Find these five things and then go about pondering about how they go about doing those marvellous things and from there start trying to consciously appreciating them more and more.
It is truly remarkable how many seemingly “insignificant” things you could go around being appreciative towards.
3. Social Awareness Exercise
In contrast to increased self-awareness, social awareness is about registering, identifying and understanding emotions in others and in doing so increasing our own capacity to understand our own range of emotions and how to handle them more effectively.
You could do this exercise at home or ideally when outside in the midst of people going about their daily lives. When looking at people, either on the screen, or at people sitting outside or passing by, try to figure out which emotion(s) they might be experiencing internally in that given moment.
It could be any of these listed below, or more subtle ones that we haven’t listed:
The goal of this exercise isn’t really to find one single emotion to match that persons apparent state, its more about becoming aware of the many different emotional states that people could be feeling in any given moment. The more you become aware and attentive to the emotional states of the people around you, the more you can respond appropriately and cultivate good relationships with the people in your life.
Emotional intelligence is growing as a term and as a concept in todays highly dynamic society. Most people have been conditioned into thinking that the deductive mind is the only or main type of intelligence which we humans possess, but this isn’t really true. There are many layers of intelligences, ranging from spatial to emotional, intuitive to intellectual.
Hopefully this article illumined this sentiment. If you wish to learn more about emotional Intelligence, feel free to have a look at the official website of Daniel Goleman.