Emotional Intelligence – What is it & How To Develop It?

In the 21st century, our senses get bombarded with loads of different information, which may often cause us to react in certain, more emotional ways. Oftentimes, this emotional response may leave us feeling lost and hopeless about a certain thing and that state can sometimes linger on for weeks and months on end.

But what is emotional intelligence and can you actually train your brain to respond less acutely to stressful situations? In this article, you’re going to learn more about emotional intelligence, what it is and how to take control over your otherwise automatic responses. Let’s get to it now, shall we?

By Definition…

Emotional intelligence, by definition, is one’s ability to recognize, be aware and in control of their own emotional reactions and those of others. The concept of emotional intelligence was first created back in 1995, when Daniel Goleman published a book called “Emotional intelligence”.

In his book, Daniel talks about how an emotionally intelligent person is able to differentiate between his emotions and is able to use them to navigate his/hers thoughts and actions. Though this is easier said than done, there are certain guidelines to follow if you want to take control over your emotions and reactions.

The 5 Abilities To Help You Take Control

In order to take control over your emotions and reactions and keep them regulated (instead of having them control you), there are 5 main abilities to focus on and develop.

#1 Empathy

At its very core, empathy is one’s ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand their thought patterns, emotions, reactions, feelings and behaviors.

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In doing so, you will realize that there is no ultimate truth- Everyone is bound to their own belief system and their own encoded emotional responses and thought patterns.

#2 Self-Awareness

This second ability can manifest on many different levels, but when it comes to emotional intelligence, it is in fact crucial. Being able to recognize your own emotions, feelings, thoughts, behaviors and reactions is of prime importance when you are becoming more emotionally intelligent.

And though recognizing them is important, it is just half the battle- The other half is to actually make conscious choices and break those patterns.

#3 Discipline

In the modern-day world, it is believed that there is a “once and for all” solution to all your emotional problems/depression. Well, the truth is that there is no such thing as permanent happiness, because as humans, we constantly surf the entire emotional spectrum, as long as we are alive!

Staying consistent and disciplined with the physical and emotional well-being practices is important when you are building your emotional intelligence.

#4 Self-Regulation

At its very core, self-regulation is an important ability to develop, which is at the very core of emotional intelligence. This is one’s ability to control their emotions and actions leading after the emotions.

And even if you lose it and fall for the automatic reactions encoded into you, well-developed self regulation would mean that you will recover much quicker, after an emotional reaction.

#5 Social intelligence

As emotional humans, we must realize that our emotional states affect others, especially when they are in our environment. Social emotional intelligence is one’s ability to control their emotions and reactions in a social environment.


Emotional Intelligence = Happiness?

As we already mentioned, there is this global idea that there are certain actions you can take, which will result in eternal, life-long happiness, with the absence of bad emotions. However, this is simply not true!

Even more so, as social beings, we are all different and we all have a set of emotional responses and reactions. The differences between people are a premise for problems and conflicts, but if emotional intelligence is present on at least one side, there would be a certain level of understanding, which can alleviate any personal/social conflict.

On top of that, emotional intelligence allows us to be more aware of what we feel under certain circumstances. This therefore gives us a greater level of adaptability, which in turn helps us make the right choices in the more important aspects of life.

Take Home Message…

For the most part, humans have a specific set of encoded, emotional responses and reactions, which, for the most part are automatic. You didn’t really choose to be that way; those things were literally given to you when you were a child. They were given to you by your parents, siblings, other relatives, teachers, friends, etcetera.

Emotional intelligence is about recognizing those automatic responses and asking yourself “Who gave me that and do I really need it to affect me that way?”. After setting that conscious realization, your next step is to take conscious action and take control over your emotions, instead of letting them control you.

Stay woke.