Emotional Intelligence. noun: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) has a powerful, positive influence on mental health, relationships, professional and vocational success, and even leadership abilities.
Emotional Intelligence, then, would appear to be a highly desirable attribute.
But what, exactly, is it?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and respond appropriately to emotions in others. So in short, those who’re high in EI tend to function better within themselves, and within their relationships.
Emotional Intelligence is something we can all learn and improve. Like any other “life skill”, with practice we can get better and as we get better we can enjoy more of the many wonderful benefits associated with EI.
Here are 6 tips that can help improve EI:
- Practice being more mindful of your emotions – to manage something better we first need to know what it is we’re managing; but many of us don’t pay enough attention to your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. Mindfulness, therefore, observing our emotions without judgement, is crucial to EI and to managing our moods.
- Take responsibility for how you react to your emotions – even after a meltdown. Once you’re aware of how you’re feeling it’s then worth spending some time reflecting on how we typically react to these feelings. Repeat the same practice and reflect upon how you typically behave when you feel certain ways
- Learn to respond, consciously, rather than react automatically – too often, one reacts to emotions and to situations without really thinking; and not surprisingly, this isn’t always the best way to respond. But we can all learn to respond more mindfully and more consciously and in doing so, we can better manage ourselves as well as improve our relationships with others. So following an acknowledgement of your emotions, take time to pause, consider, and reflect upon the best way to behave, the way your best possible self would behave, in various circumstances
- Listen, Listen, Listen. Really listen to others – EI is not just managing one’s own emotions, but also responding appropriately to other people’s emotions, the ability to accurately perceive how someone else is feeling is vitally important. Don't listen only to their words but also to the tone of what the other person is saying, and to decipher the emotions within.
- Listen with your eyes – Look at how one is behaving. Keep an eye out for non-verbal, behavioral signals, that might be indicative of stress or anxiety, sadness or grief, frustration or anger.
- Eat clean. Diet is a key factor, but it's not something we readily notice. When we don't eat right our bodies, including our brains, aren't getting the ingredients they need to work best. Many people are "emotional eaters" who eat to escape from feelings. Feed your brain and body nutritious foods that paves a way to a quality of life.
Emotional intelligence is an extremely useful set of skills that can reap massive rewards for those who master it. And that’s the take home message here; EI can be mastered. Practice might not ever make us perfect but it will definitely make us better, and getting better is undoubtedly a goal worth striving for.
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