" The future will generate even more ambiguity and chaos than we face today. Learning how to raise our individual and collective resilience is not just a good idea - it is imperative."
The Five Components of Emotional Intelligence
Raise Your EQ
Step One: Gain Insight into Your Feelings.
Question your beliefs: do you think ignoring your emotions will make them go away? While this may be true for minor issues, strong feelings will manifest themselves in other ways (health problems, bitterness, etc.).
Pay attention to your body when you're upset, sad or angry - what are the signs?
Be honest with yourself; everyone feels things, and it's nothing to hide or be nervous about. Emotions are important signals that we need to listen to.
If you're prone to losing control of your emotions, try taking a step back from heated situations. Give yourself some time to gain control rather than reacting immediately.
Practice keeping your feelings under control (without suppressing them) and it will become more natural.
Make a list of your strengths and limitations. The more in touch you are with who you are, the better you will be able to understand and handle your emotions.
Step Two: Improve Your Goal Orientation and Motivation.
Give yourself a taste of success to gain motivation and belief in the worthiness of your goals. For example, if you would like to start a career helping people in some way, volunteer somewhere to gain some experience. If you want to write a novel, begin with a short story. Once you experience a "slice" of your goal, you will be more driven to pursue it outright.
Get a mentor. Do you know someone who is inspiring to you? Learn what you can from their experience.
Consider that poorly chosen goals may be decreasing your motivation. Ponder questions such as; Are your goals realistic? Are they really what you care about, or do they represent other people's ambitions for you? Assess to find a goal that motivates you and you're on the right track.
Are other things going on in your life that could be de-motivating you? If you are stressed about other things, or dealing with issues, it may be hard to even think about goals. Deal with these issues and your drive should improve.
Apply self-control and self-discipline. Practice delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness.
Take small steps if the big ones overwhelm you. If your goal, for example, is to "sell" a new idea at work, take care of all the details first. Gather information, do all the beginning steps and things will take on a life of their own. Reward yourself when you complete different steps.
Make contracts with yourself; write down the reasons why you want to pursue the goal and refer to it later on when you feel discouraged.
Learn to be your own coach; practice positive self-talk, give yourself a pat on the back.
Post your goals somewhere prominent so that you can see them everyday.
Step Three: Improve Your Ability to Express Emotions
Begin with genuine compliments, and then take it further to an expression of appreciation. When you need to communicate a negative feeling, try writing it if you feel too intimidated to say it. Like learning any new skill, it will get easier with practice.
Learn to communicate effectively. An important factor in the effectiveness of expressing our emotions is HOW we do it. Blowing up at someone, for example, is not usually the best way to communicate a feeling. Good communication skills are the key. And, being skills, they can be learnt.
Build self-confidence and self-esteem. The more assertive you become, the easier it should be to express your feelings.
Build meaningful, trusting relationships. Most of us need someone we can talk to, someone we know we can express our feelings to with no fear of rejection or ridicule.
Consider the implications of not releasing your feelings: lack of intimacy with others, pent up feelings, health problems, etc.
Remember that communication involves a lot more than what is just said. Our gestures, expressions and tone of voice send just as strong (or even stronger signals) than the words we choose.
Practice distinguishing between what you are thinking and what you are feeling. They are not always one and the same, and we need to recognize this in order to clearly express where we are coming from.
Step Four: Increase Your Social Insight and Empathy
Pay attention to how others are reacting, and what they are communicating to you. Putting in the extra effort to really listen and observe can teach you a lot about human interaction and emotions.
While you certainly can't fake empathy, you can increase your connection to other people by truly listening and trying to put yourself in their shoes.
Build meaningful relationships that teach you about human nature.
If you're not sure how someone is feeling, ask for clarification (if it's appropriate); a simple "How are you feeling?" or "Could you explain your perspective to me?" might do the trick.
Put aside your own preoccupations to consider what might be going through other people's minds in different situations. Ask yourself how you would feel in a similar situation. In every situation, there are several perspectives. Try to identify at least 2 or 3 different ways to look at it.
Put empathy in action. Get involved in helping people in some way (i.e. volunteering); the closer you get to a situation, the more you should realize the difficulties others might be facing.
© 2006 Adventure Associates, Inc.