Daniel Goleman is recognized as being one of the foremost thought leaders on brain health and function. His biggest area of research has been in an area known as Emotional Intelligence.
Most of us realize that our emotions have a great deal of influence over us.
From the standpoint of marketing, we know that emotions sell. That’s why, in order to sell you a car, advertisers show you a beautiful woman wanting to ride with you. Or a healthy happy family you are going to keep safe. They may spend a little bit of time showing the engine, but not much time. Expert marketers know that the emotional image you see will sell you.
The image makes you feel good, and you buy. It’s as simple as that.
But beyond the surface of marketing through your emotions, I want to take this deeper. When Goleman uses the term: Emotional Intelligence, he identifies it as another aspect of your brain’s dynamic. Like your IQ. It’s another indicator of brain health.
According to Dr. Goleman, your emotions can sometimes be a more important indicator of your success in life than your IQ. Also, when you go through stressful situations – such as what the entire world has gone through recently – your degree of emotional intelligence can determine how well you cope with the crisis.
You can have an extremely high IQ and very low emotional intelligence. And vice versa.
Okay. So what is it exactly?
Continuing with Goleman’s research, there are five basic areas of our Emotional Intelligence. We’ll look quickly at these five.
This means you are aware of your emotions as they happen. Sometimes we can
just feel bad” or sad without knowing why. If we are aware, we will start analyzing so that we can do something about it.
Emotional awareness and self-confidence are essential to being able to understand and control these emotions.
This is a big one. Self regulation means that we are able to control strong emotions such as anger or anxiety.
When these strong emotions are trying to take over, it’s good to pray. Or take long walks. Or write in a journal, allowing those emotions to be expressed in a healthy way. Not with rages or excesses.
For self-regulation, one must be conscientious, trustworthy, innovative, and adaptable. All of these important elements can see you through tough times.
When someone is highly motivated, they can more likely overcome difficulties.
We all know people who are usually positive and those who are usually negative. Given the same set of circumstances, some people always see gloom – or not.
Through self-discipline, we can train ourselves to overcome those negative thoughts which bombard us. We can replace them with positive thoughts.
To have and keep motivation flowing in our lives we need commitment, the drive to achieve, initiative, and a positive mindset.
So far we have been thinking inwardly. Now this one – empathy – looks outward.
Instead of self-awareness, empathy is other-awareness.
You’ve heard the phrase, Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. That’s what empathy is all about. Understanding others. Their emotions. Their hurts. Their motivations.
This ability to understand and empathize with others is essential to a healthy emotional life.
Empathy helps you to be aware of how your words and actions are affecting others. When you see that you are negatively impacting others, you can change that behavior.
The fifth area of emotional intelligence is how well you work and relate to others.
You can build good quality relationships. You can even help others to grow in their emotional health.
For good social skills you will need to be able to communicate well, work as a team, build rapport, initiate change, and hep resolve conflict.
A good leader has to have good social skills.
So now that we have looked at an overview of what Emotional Intelligence is, let’s see how we can rate ourselves.
There are signs that someone suffers with low emotional intelligence.
- They frequently complain
- They show lots of fear and anxiety
- When they are offended, they aren’t open with the offender, but they gossip and complain secretly.
- They sulk.
- They show mood swings.
- Often they have fits of rage.
Emotionally healthy people act differently.
- They are positive most of the time.
- They look for ways to overcome problems.
- They are open and honest with people.
- If negative issues arise, they talk to the person – rather than gossip about them.
- They are kind and understanding in their dealings.
- They inspire others for greater goals.
Well. I’m sure that most of us can recognize some areas where we excel – and others where we need to grow.
So how do we grow?
- We Practice Awareness. We become more aware of our own emotions. We also make an attempt to understand others better. What are their emotional needs? How can we help them?
- When we have negative emotions, we don’t just brush them aside. We deal with them. We spend some time thinking about why we feel this way, and how we can overcome it. (Hiding our emotions will lead to anger and anxiety).
- We feed our spirits with good words. As a Christian, I recommend reading the Bible on a daily basis. If you haven’t been doing this, start with Psalms and Proverbs. You will find lots of motivational material there.
- We take care of our physical health. Our bodies affect our emotions and our positivity. When we eat well, exercise, and get proper rest, it will pay off with our attitude.
- We should surround ourselves with positive, like-minded people. Other people can pull us up or down. When we choose positive, growing people to surround us, our energy grows. So does our attitude.
On going through these items, I have realized that every area of someone’s life could be impacted by their emotional strength. Their career, their family, their social life, and their own quality of life all hinge on their ability to effectively handle their emotions and relate to others.
It will be worth the time and energy it takes to do a self-evaluation. Then to honestly look at themselves and make the changes needed to grow.
I’m doing this for sure!