Emotional Intelligence is a phrase that is being utilized by business executives, college instructors, and early childhood educators alike. It’s becoming a buzzword because it often is used and not explained. This blog post is the first in a series of two that will focus on the topic of emotional intelligence. The first post will discuss what emotional intelligence is, why it is important, and how to increase it in yourself. The second post will deal with how as early childhood educators we can teach emotional intelligence to the children we teach.
Psychology Today, a magazine published every two months focused on aspects pertaining to psychology and behavior, defines “emotional intelligence” as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” It sounds pretty simple to be in-tune with your emotions and the emotions of others, doesn’t it? Not so fast. Psychology Today argues the following pertaining to “emotional intelligence” as well: “It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like critical thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”
Emotional Intelligence is at the very core of how we approach every situation we experience. We are constantly seeking to understand our emotions, and predict or read the emotions of others. When someone appears to be sad at work, we may complement them. When you sense you are feeling bored, you may seek to correct this by partaking in an activity you enjoy. Understanding our own emotions. Our perceptions of our own emotions should dictate how we act.
It is widely agreed there are four aspects to emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Individuals that display high levels of emotional intelligence are highly self-aware, are able to regulate their own actions and emotions, are socially aware, and effectively manage relationships.
Increasing emotional intelligence is very difficult to do but it can be done. Our brains practice emotional intelligence when the emotional part of our brain (Limbic System) communicates with the rational part of the brain. Our brains can adapt and change, and therefore new connections between the emotional and rational parts of the brain can be made as we obtain new skills and abilities.
To increase your emotional intelligence, you must increase your ability to: be aware of your own emotions, self regulate, be socially aware, and manage relationships, Below are ways you can increase your emotional intelligence.
Increase Ability to be Aware of One’s Own Emotions:
- Journal daily
- Name your emotions
- Practice mindfulness
- Practice self-examination
- Reflect on how you feel in different situations
- Each day write three things you are grateful for
- Practice positive thinking
- Breathing exercises to help manage stress
- Make time for yourself, and be okay with being alone
- Stick to a daily routine
- Get the recommended number of hours of sleep per night.
Increase Social Awareness:
- Attend more social functions
- Reflect in a journal on social interactions, and how you perceive others emotions, and how that prompted you to act
- Practice your listening skills
- Think before you speak, how it may affect others
Increase Relationship Management:
- Make time for your friends, colleagues, and family
- Use conflict management strategies when conflict arises
- Practice working with diverse groups
- Ask others for advice
The video is an animated summary of Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence. Goleman is the individual who pioneered the phrase “emotional intelligence.” The video was published by One Percent Better.