How are you feeling? You could give any number of responses, as our emotions run the gamut from miserable to ecstatic. With such a range of feelings and their changeability from one moment to the next, emotions can easily overwhelm us. But if we dig deep and break down what we’re feeling, we can use our knowledge of emotions to our benefit and relieve stress. Read on to learn how to apply emotional intelligence to your life:
Figure out your feelings
According to a Psychology Today article, “emotional awareness” is part of emotional intelligence. This includes recognizing emotions and determining their causes. In other words, emotional awareness requires us to do some critical thinking. Are you really feeling infuriated that a coworker didn’t return your stapler? Maybe. Or maybe you are stressed and feeling irritable because of a difficult situation at home or lack of sleep. One emotion can lead to another. It also helps to realize that you are not your emotions and they are not who you are. Try thinking, “I feel ______,” rather than “I am ______.”
Work with your emotions
The Psychology Today article goes on to say that another capability of emotional intelligence is “harness[ing] emotions and apply[ing] them to tasks like thinking and problem solving.” Often, we let our feelings distract us from our work. Or we think we need to ignore them so we can focus on what needs to get done. This is especially true of so-called negative emotions. Nonetheless even unpleasant feelings can motivate us. For example, feeling panicked at the thought of giving a presentation might help us to prepare more thoroughly for next time or to practice and develop our public speaking skills.
Act with compassion
Per the Psychology Today article, emotional intelligence also includes the ability to “manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.” If possible, changing the situation can help. If not, we can help one another through difficult experiences. Try to let go of judgment and treat yourself and others with compassion. And then there’s always humor. If you’re having an unbelievably frustrating day, take some time out to laugh, at the situation and perhaps at yourself. You might just find that not taking everything so seriously calms you down.
Join us for next month’s discussion on emotional benefits of aromatherapy!