Have you ever heard the saying, “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react”? The only things we can control in this life are our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Our emotions play a vital part in our everyday lives. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Whoa..that’s a mouthful, y’all; but it’s essential to understand the definition of EQ if you choose to continue reading this month’s blog. Our brains work on two systems. We’ve got an autopilot system and an intentional system. This is pretty self-explanatory. Autopilot is our initial knee jerk reaction with our emotions. It requires no effort. It’s fast, intuitive, and automatic. Our intentional system requires actual conscious effort and reasoning. It’s mindful and logical. Our emotional intelligence is key to achieving our goals and achieving success in life. Simply put, mentally strong people can manage their emotions. They use the intentional system on the regular. Here are 5 tips to help you improve your emotional intelligence:
- Be proactive, not reactive—Whether it be at home or at work, we all have those super special humans we have to encounter each day that truly test our EQ. When we know we will have to deal with a challenging situation we’ve got to turn on the intentional system in our brains. Be proactive. Take deep breaths and count to ten before responding, or try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Set some boundaries with yourself to improve the way you interact with difficult people. Do whatever it takes, y’all. This is the first step to improving your emotional intelligence.
- Express yourself—We’ve got to be able to speak openly about things that are important to us. Take a clear position on where you stand on emotional issues. Be assertive so people know where you stand. Exercise your right to disagree, but do it with empathy. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you or your feelings. The best way to go about this is by using the XYZ method. I feel X when you do Y in situation Z. Don’t let your autopilot system win by saying you you you. You did this or you did that. Your feelings yours, and your emotions are about you. Own them.
- Bounce back—Life isn’t always a piece of cake. That’s no secret. We will fail over and over again, but that is essentially what will make us succeed in the end. How we choose to act, think, or feel when faced with life’s challenges will directly affect how we bounce back. There’s a lesson in every failure. Look at Michael Jordan..he missed over 9000 shots in his career, lost over 300 games. No one can tell me he wasn’t super successful. Abe Lincoln lost 8 elections, failed in numerous business venture, suffered from nervous breakdowns and still went on to become President of the United States. Think about all of that for a second. Bounce back, folks!
- Stay cool—Everybody experiences some form of stress. It’s just a part of life. It’s up to you which system of the brain you let handle the stress. Turn off the autopilot and be intentional when dealing with stressful situations. Be cool. If you’re feeling scared or discouraged – go work out. If you’re feeling anxious -put down the caffeine and splash some cold water on your face. The way you treat your body will directly affect your emotions. Do what you have to do to keep your cool.
- Let it goooo, let it goooo—Let go of your negative emotions. I’d venture to say there is no greater aspect of EQ than your ability to let go of negative emotions. Manage those destructive feelings so they don’t cloud your judgment. If you want to change the way you feel about a situation you’ve got to change the way you think about it.
Alright, y’all. Let’s take these 5 tips to the next level and incorporate them into our daily lives starting now. Let’s start training our brains and managing our emotions. Focus on the intentional system from here on out. Let’s change our feeling and behavioral patterns so we can gain all of the success we’ve ever dreamed of. I hope this information can fill us all with hope and optimism so we can be better humans.
Looking for a team environment that will help you grow your EQ as part of your professional development? Therapy center has great opportunities available. Apply today or contact us at 337-824-8287!
Article written by Kayla Stansbury, Recruiter