Emotions are very important. It gives us insight into our needs and limits, but it also gives us insight to the needs and limits of others. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to understand, manage and effectively express your own feelings, but also the ability to deal with someone else’s feelings. A reduced EQ is associated with interpersonal problems and difficulty coping with stress. It is also related to various mental problems such as depression, addiction and borderline. On the other hand, an improved EQ is associated with getting better grades at school, strong relationships with others and more satisfaction in life. You can subdivide EQ into five components:
- Self-awareness: knowing what we feel and why we feel that way.
- Self-regulation: being able to express our feelings in the correct way.
- Motivation: the internal endeavour to change how we feel and express ourselves.
- Empathy: being able to empathise with someone else’s emotions and seeing the world from their perspective.
- Social skills: being able to communicate effectively and build a good relationship with others.
Train your emotional intelligence
Intelligence is partly genetically determined, but it is not all about genetics! Just like your IQ, you can also train your emotional intelligence. You can do this in different ways.
Awareness and recognition of emotions
During the day, keep track of which positive and negative emotions you have felt, how strong you felt them and why you felt them. Also notice when someone else has certain emotions and whether you can recognize them. You can even give this feedback to someone else. It can be very nice to acknowledge someone’s feelings. Saying “I see you are feeling sad …” or “I notice that you are angry.” can mean a lot to someone!
Listen, acknowledge and act on emotions
Emotions are a signal. For example, there may be a need for change because you are not comfortable with something. Many people find it difficult to express frustrations, for example. If you do not do this, it often means that borders are being crossed. Getting angry and expressing it is a way to respond to the situation, but in this way you are crossing the boundaries of someone else. Try to practice dealing with a situation assertively! This gives a lot of satisfaction.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
We often think and act from our own perspective, because that is what we know. But can you also view situations from the perspective of someone else? Would someone else have different needs and interests in a certain situation? And have different feelings than you? Every now and then take the time to think about what it would be like if you were in someone else’s shoes. Maybe you have a friend who needs help, but is not asking for help which makes you angry. Your friend on the other hand might feel terribly burdened to ask you for help. This means that in a situation people can have different emotions and thoughts!
Good luck with training your emotional intelligence! In the NiceDay app, keep track of your emotions during the day and describe why you felt them. Plan an assertiveness exercise and reflect on this or think about someone else’s experience and describe this in a diary registration!