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Hackernoon logoLearn How to Crack the Code of Emotional Intelligence by@margarita-sayed

Learn How to Crack the Code of Emotional Intelligence

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@margarita-sayedMargarita Sayed

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.

The definition of Emotional Intelligence states that it is: ”the ability to perceive, understand and influence our own and others’ emotions, across a range of contexts, to guide our current thinking and actions, to help us to achieve our goals”.

Whilst Harvard Business Review calls it “the key to professional success”, the globe started adapting it in every aspect of everyday life.

What makes emotional intelligence so appealing to individuals? How can it help to improve our life in this difficult time?

According to the theory of the Nobel Prize winner, the economist Daniel Kahneman’s “Hedonic Psychology” and the “Hedonic Treadmill” generally demonstrates that people can quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

Given that this theory can be applied to our current circumstances, it turns out that having more wealth does not increase happiness but learning to self-manage emotions — does. Perhaps, the blend of emotional intelligence and mindfulness, adding spice to moments of every day and being thoughtful and involved in everything what is happening around us could play the role in coping with difficult feelings during the pandemic.

What are the models of Emotional Intelligence? Can we learn to self-manage emotions?

The subject of emotional intelligence has many arguments. However, there are many models of “EI”. Whilst there are three main models: the ability model (Mayer, Salovey and Caruso), the trait model developed by Petrides Furnham, the mixed model which combines several components of emotional intelligence, Goleman’s model is probably the most widely known.

Goleman has popularised the idea of emotional intelligence in his book “Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, 1995.

Goleman suggested that the development of “EI” early in our lives is linked to the amygdala, the section of the brain responsible for ‘fight or flight’ — our instinctive emotional responses to threat and challenge. As we grow we develop and control our responses to all sorts of threats, real and imagined. For example, as a child, if we know we are going to be told off by our parents we may try to run away (flight) or argue/have a tantrum/ oppose it (fight). As we develop, so do our emotional strategies. We may accept punishment is deserved for our wrongdoing (rather than trying to run or fight).

Goleman developed a five aspect mixed model that mirrors this development and draws on both ability and trait emotional intelligence in the following ways:

Self-Awareness — we start to identify and understand our own emotions, becoming more open to them and aware of them. It is the main element of emotional intelligence, since regulating ourselves, having empathy for others and so on all rely on understanding emotions in ourselves.

Self-Regulation — we develop the ability to appropriately express, regulate and manage our emotions. Acting rashly or without caution can lead to mistakes being made and can often damage relationships with clients or colleagues.

Social-Skills — we develop the ability to build good interpersonal relationships and navigate social situations. Everyone is treated politely and with respect, yet healthy relationships are then also used for personal benefit.

Empathy — we develop the ability to assess and influence others’ emotions. For instance, to show empathy towards them. Empathy can be defined as the ability to understand how other people might be feeling and recognise how you would feel if you were in their position. It does not mean you have to sympathise them, validate or accept their behaviour, just that you can see things from their perspective and feel what they feel.

Internal-Motivation — Emotional Intelligence, it is theorised that a person with a high EQ will be able to successfully motivate themselves to achieve their goals. Essentially, this accounts not only for goals with pragmatic results, (such as a job promotion), but also achievement for the sake of achievement.

In essence, Goleman believes that we are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines the extent to which we can develop any competences. However, according to other theories, emotional intelligence abilities can be learned.

Why is it important to know about emotional intelligence and develop its skills?

Emotionally Intelligent person can feel more confident in connecting with others, perform better at work and have better communication skills. Having a high EQ can make a person more successful in every aspect of life.

Emotional Intelligence can transform performance at school and work, physical and mental health, and relationships.

Understanding emotions is vital for understanding what will lead a person to flourish and become more highly-functioning.

How applying emotional intelligence can help to cope with negative emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic?

When thinking about our current situation it is helpful to:

  • Accept and acknowledge that this is how things are at the moment (the new “normal”) and you cannot change them or make them disappear.
  • Find a way to allow yourself to feel all the things that this new normal brings up: it’s OK to feel anxious, sad or angry. However, these emotions should not interfere with self-perception and opinion about yourself.
  • Find ways to do your best within the situation. Are there any positives? Are you getting to do anything which you wouldn’t normally be able to do? — For example, spending more time with your family? Concentrate on these positive things and commit to the moment. Stay focused in the moment and do not worry about the future or the past.
  • Focus on things you are grateful for, no matter how small they are. This can have very quick positive effect on your mood. It can help to understand what is important for you.
  • Practice resilience.

Resilience can mean different things to different people. However, according to the American Psychological Association’s Psychology Help Centre,

“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity or significant sources of stress”

This means that it is the ability to cope with challenging situations. It also refers to the ability to notice when you are not okay, allow yourself to feel emotions rather than suppressing them, and then seek the right support to help you deal with difficult situations and your reactions to them.

It is also about understanding the difference between things that you can and cannot control and accepting the fact that you cannot control something.

This approach is helpful as a life-affirming and inspirational perspective of self-determination.

Hakuna Matata!



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