To engage your EQ, you must utilize your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behavior.
Think about a time when stress overwhelmed you. How easy was it to make a rational decision or think clearly? Probably not. When you become stressed for longer periods, your ability to think clearly and accurately assess your own and other people’s emotions becomes compromised.
Emotions are essential information telling you about yourself and others. Stress takes us out of our comfort zone, and we can lose ourselves and become overwhelmed. With the ability to manage stress and stay emotionally present, upsetting information can’t override your thoughts and self-control. You can make choices allowing you to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take the initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Identifying specific emotions is the first step to building emotional intelligence. Managing stress is another step to building emotional intelligence. The science of attachment indicates your current emotional experience reflects your early life experience. The ability to manage your core emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy often depends on the consistency and quality of your early life emotional experiences. If your primary caretaker valued and understood emotions as an infant, it’s more likely that your emotions have become valuable assets in adult life. However, if your emotional experiences were as an infant were confusing, threatening, or painful, you’ve likely tried to distance yourself from your emotions.
Connecting to your emotions—having a moment-to-moment connection with your changing emotional experience—is the key to understanding how emotion influences your thoughts and actions.
Do you experience emotions that flow, encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment?
Do physical sensations accompany the emotions that you experience in places like your stomach, throat, or chest?
Do you experience personal emotions and feelings, such as fear, anger, sadness, and happiness, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions?
Can you experience and express feelings that are strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?
Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they factor into your decision-making?
If any of these experiences are unfamiliar to you, you may have “turned off” or “turned down” your emotions. To become emotionally healthy–and build EQ—you must reconnect with yourself. You must accept your core emotions and become comfortable feeling them. With practice and mindfulness, you can achieve this.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully and intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment—and without judgment. Cultivation of mindfulness can be cultivated in meditation techniques. Mindfulness helps shift your perception of thought towards gratitude and appreciation. With thoughts aligned with an appreciation of the moment, your physical and emotional sensations bring a larger perspective on life. Mindfulness helps you focus on feeling calm and focused, helping you become more self-aware in the process.
Social awareness enables you to recognize and interpret the nonverbal cues of others. These cuses let you know how others are feeling, how their emotional state changes from moment to moment, and what’s truly important to them. By observing social nonverbal cues, you can read and understand the power dynamics in groups of people.
Mindfulness is necessary with emotional and social awareness
To build social awareness, it is important to be aware and learn mindfulness in the social process. Without mindfulness and awareness, it is difficult to pick up on subtle nonverbal cues when you’re in your head, thinking about other things, or simply zoning out on your phone. Social awareness requires your presence at that moment. You may pride yourselves in the ability to multitask. However, you will miss the subtle emotional shifts happening in others that will keep you from fully understanding them.
- You are more likely to further your social goals by setting other thoughts aside and focusing on the interaction itself.
- Pay attention to the changes in your own emotional experience so you can Follow the flow of another person’s emotional responses. It is a give-and-take process that requires you to pay attention to your emotional experience changes.
- Paying attention to others doesn’t diminish your self-awareness. By investing the time and effort to pay attention to others, you’ll gain insight into your emotional state. For example, if you feel uncomfortable hearing others express particular feelings and views, you will learn something about yourself.
Working well with others is a process that begins with you. Your ability to recognize and understand your emotional state and the ability to recognize and understand what other people are experiencing will impact your relationships. With emotional awareness is in play, you can effectively develop additional social/emotional skills to make your relationships more effective and fulfilling.