Healthy Byte: Emotional Intelligence

Originally Posted HERE

Experts say the ability to read, understand and respond to emotions in ourselves and others is crucial in predicting our health, happiness and success.

Story highlights

  • Emotional intelligence is not only the ability to read our emotions and those of others
  • It’s also the ability understand and label those emotions, to express and regulate them
It’s our emotional intelligence that gives us the ability to read our instinctive feelings and those of others. It also allows us to understand and label emotions as well as express and regulate them, according to Yale University’s Marc Brackett.
Most of us would probably like to think that we can do all of the above. We spot and understand emotions in ourselves and others and label them accurately in order to guide our thoughts and actions.
But many of us tend to overestimate our own emotional intelligence, according to Brackett, a professor in the Child Study Center at Yale and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
That’s important because experts say the ability to read, understand and respond to emotions in ourselves and other people is a crucial factor in predicting our health, happiness and personal and professional success.
So maybe we all need to take a breath and invest a little more time in schooling ourselves on what it means to be emotionally intelligent.

Understanding emotional intelligence

The theory of emotional intelligence — and the term itself — originated at Yale and the University of New Hampshire. Peter Salovey, the 23rd president of Yale University, and John “Jack” Mayer, professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, wrote up the theory in 1990, Brackett said.
Their work demonstrated how emotions had a marked impact on an individual’s thinking and behavior, said Robin Stern, associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and an educator, author and licensed psychoanalyst.
Experts have continued to build on that framework to refine definitions of what exactly is at the core of of emotional intelligence. “Emotional intelligence is being smart about your feelings. It’s how to use your emotions to inform your thinking and use your thinking to inform your emotions,” she said.
It’s having an awareness of how your emotions drive your decisions and behaviors so you can effectively engage with and influence others, said Sara Canaday, a leadership speaker and author. Individuals who are emotionally intelligent tend to be empathetic, can look at situations from an alternative point of view, are considered open-minded, bounce back from challenges and pursue their goals despite any obstacles they might face, according to Canaday.
“Some people think of emotional intelligence as a soft skill or the ability or the tendency to be nice. It’s really about understanding what is going on for you in the moment so that you can make conscious choices about how you want to use your emotions and how you want to manage yourself and how you want to be seen in the world,” Stern said.
“People with more emotional intelligence are healthier, happier and more effective,” Brackett said.

Why it matters

Canaday further suggests that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of career success than an impressive résumé or a high IQ score.
Wait, really?
Well … just reflect on your own work experiences, Canaday suggests.
Has anyone you worked with ever been let go or asked to leave, even when they had the competency or technical skills for the job?
“We might be hired for technical talents, but we are often fired because we lack emotional intelligence,” Canaday said.
Individuals with a low level of emotional intelligence can be successful, she said, but she argues that those individuals could be even more successful if they had a higher level of emotional intelligence.
“It is how well you can collaborate, how well you engage with others and influence. It’s the stories you can tell, the way you can bring data to life in a way that connects with others. Those are the things that are going to set you apart.”

Testing emotional intelligence

Behavioral scientists have created a number of emotional intelligence self-assessments, usually broken down into “your ability to manage yourself, your ability to manage relationships, your self-awareness and your social awareness,” according to Canaday.
Your results will be measured along with others who have taken the assessment to give some indication of where you fall on the spectrum from low to high emotional intelligence.
But Brackett warns that “measurement is a tricky subject.”
In his early research, he found that people tend to overestimate their emotional intelligence, which is why he believes you must measure it through performance assessments. In a performance assessment, people are required to problem-solve; they must decode facial expressions or strategize in an emotionally tense situation. That way, their knowledge and skills can be tested as opposed to their beliefs about them.
Another form of an emotional intelligence test is a “360 assessment.”
In the workplace setting, a 360 assessment is a process involving feedback from colleagues and supervisors evaluating a person emotional intelligence. Canaday believes that we often “see ourselves differently than others do.”
When a coworker takes the 360 assessment of you it provides an opportunity to compare it to your self-assessment. Another way to take a 360 assessment without undergoing a formal test is to ask a trusted adviser, perhaps a current or former boss, to evaluate your emotional intelligence, she said.
But, Canaday cautions, If you ask for someone’s feedback, be prepared to accept what they share. “This stuff can feel very personal. On one han,d we say we want to learn and grow, but on the other hand, we want to be accepted just the way we are, and those two human traits run counter.”

Can I improve my emotional intelligence?

So maybe you need to improve your emotional intelligence. How do you do that?
From the earliest ages, children should be taught how to recognize their emotions, understand what those emotions mean and label them accurately in order to to express and manage themselves, Stern stern.
For adults who did not receive a solid education on emotional intelligence, improving will require some hard work. Canaday suggests creating an action plan including specific goals. “Pick one or two areas where you want to grow, and get some advice on how to best start to embody whatever factor of emotional intelligence you are trying to develop.”
If you are trying to gain better control of your anger, for example, you might find a healthy outlet for it — whether it be yoga, meditation or boxing.
Canaday also suggests seeking out perspectives from those who may not agree with you. “Be intentional about that. Take active steps to do that. If you constantly surround yourself with people who believe just like you do, then you are hearing the same conversations, and you are not growing, and you are not learning to be open to perspectives.”
Brackett advises seeking out strategies that are effective for managing emotions. Practice them and then evaluate how those strategies are working for you. It’s important to “spend time reflecting on and thinking about your influence and how people respond to your emotions, be more self- and socially aware about your presence.”
Stern suggests prolonging the time between when you are triggered by something and when you respond. Pause, slow down and take a deep breath. Imagine what your best self looks like. Taking the time to pause and think about what your best self would do in each situation may help you avoid letting your emotions control you. You are allowing yourself time to manage your emotions.

How we talk to ourselves can also have a huge impact on our emotions and our health if that self-talk is not positive, Stern says. She suggests that we would never talk to another individual the way we often talk to ourselves.

“There is no question in my mind that if people were to really appreciate how important emotions are, allowed themselves to have emotions, made space for other people to have their emotions and handled those emotions skillfully in the service of making a better world, we would in fact have a better world.”

HB Sig

Advertisements

Healthy Byte: Healthy Mind Healthy Body

2016 1-8 M

Emotional intelligence is probably the most powerful yet undervalued trait in our society.

We believe in rooting our everyday functions in logic and reason, yet we come to the same conclusions after long periods of contemplation as we do in the blink of an eye. Our leaders sorely overlook the human element of our socio-political issues and I need not cite the divorce rate for you to believe that we’re not choosing the right partners (nor do we have the capacity to sustain intimate relationships for long periods of time).

It seems people believe the most intelligent thing to do is not have emotions at all. To be effective is to be a machine, a product of the age. A well-oiled, consumerist-serving, digitally attuned, highly unaware but overtly operational robot. And so we suffer.

Here are the habits of the people who have the capacity to be aware of what they feel. Who know how to express, process, dismantle and adjust their experience as they are their own locus of control. They are the true leaders, they are living the most whole and genuine lives, and it is from them we should be taking a cue. These are the things that emotionally intelligent people do not do.

1. They don’t assume that the way they think and feel about a situation is the way it is in reality, nor how it will turn out in the end.

They recognize their emotions as responses, not accurate gauges, of what’s going on. They accept that those responses may have to do with their own issues, rather than the objective situation at hand.

2. Their emotional base points are not external.

Their emotions aren’t “somebody else’s doing,” and therefore “somebody else’s problem to resolve.” Understanding that they are the ultimate cause of what they experience keeps them out of falling into the trap of indignant passivity: Where one believes that as the universe has done wrong, the universe will ultimately have to correct it.

3. They don’t assume to know what it is that will make them truly happy.

Being that our only frame of reference at any given time is what’s happened in the past, we actually have no means to determine what would make us truly happy, as opposed to just feeling “saved” from whatever we disliked about our past experiences. In understanding this, they open themselves up to any experience that their life evolves toward, knowing there are equal parts good and bad in anything.

4. They don’t think that being fearful is a sign they are on the wrong path.

The presence of indifference is a sign you’re on the wrong path. Fear means you’re trying to move toward something you love, but your old beliefs, or unhealed experiences, are getting in the way. (Or, rather, are being called up to be healed.)

5. They know that happiness is a choice, but they don’t feel the need to make it all the time.

They are not stuck in the illusion that “happiness” is a sustained state of joy. They allow themselves time to process everything they are experiencing. They allow themselves to exist in their natural state. In that non-resistance, they find contentment.

6. They don’t allow their thoughts to be chosen for them.

They recognize that through social conditioning and the eternal human monkey-mind, they can often be swayed by thoughts, beliefs and mindsets that were never theirs in the first place. To combat this, they take inventory of their beliefs, reflect on their origins, and decide whether or not that frame of reference truly serves them.

7. They recognize that infallible composure is not emotional intelligence.

They don’t withhold their feelings, or try to temper them so much as to render them almost gone. They do, however, have the capacity to withhold their emotional response until they are in an environment wherein it would be appropriate to express how they are feeling. They don’t suppress it, they manage it effectively.

8. They know that a feeling will not kill them.

They’ve developed enough stamina and awareness to know that all things, even the worst, are transitory.

9. They don’t just become close friends with anyone.

They recognize true trust and intimacy as something you build, and something you want to be discerning with whom you share. But they’re not guarded or closed as they are simply mindful and aware of who they allow into their lives and hearts. They are kind to all, but truly open to few.

10. They don’t confuse a bad feeling for a bad life.

They are aware of, and avoid, extrapolation, which is essentially projecting the present moment into the foreseeable future — believing that the moment at hand constitutes what your entire life amounted to, rather than just being another passing, transitory experience in the whole. Emotionally intelligent people allow themselves their “bad” days. They let themselves be fully human. It’s in this non-resistance that they find the most peace of all.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig