5 Essential Principles of Emotional Intelligence

November 10, 2016

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When most people think of intelligence, they think about IQ and mental knowledge or mastery over some field of study. They think of the ability to remember facts, understand complicated theories, or interpret the world in a way that goes far beyond our individual selves.

But there is more to intelligence than just brains and cleverness.

In the 1990’s the term, emotional intelligence, was coined and has since become a widely recognized element of both personal and professional development. It simply means having the ability to notice one’s own and other’s emotions, understand them, and be able to manage them.

In times of change and uncertainty, having the ability to tap into one’s own emotional intelligence becomes crucial. It allows us to connect and understand others on a deeper level.

Intuitively we know that our feelings are important. Emotions play a role in how we move through the world, regardless of how “smart” we are in other ways. Just as the holistic model of wellness includes health in many forms, so too should we consider just how valuable emotional intelligence is in directing our future towards greater fulfillment and happiness.

Here are 5 essential principles of emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your own emotions, especially in the moment when they arise, which is often the easiest time to get swept away by them. Being emotionally self-aware allows you to diffuse strong emotions long enough to realize why they are happening and prepare you for addressing them with thoughtfulness and balance.

Once you recognize your emotions, self-control means being able to manage them with relative calm. Whether it’s through deep breathing, communicating openly with someone, or going for a walk, if you can maintain emotional control you’re much more likely to meet challenges in a clear and relaxed way.

Life is fluid and circumstances are bound to change on a dime, leaving us feeling frustrated and unsure of how to move forward. Adaptability is akin to going with the flow, without getting too attached to any particular processes or outcomes. The more adaptable you are, the easier life will feel no matter what comes your way.

Being empathetic means having the ability to see from the perspective of others and respond naturally to their feelings, something that can help us form deep and nurturing relationships. Genuine empathy isn’t just a nice feeling, it can create opportunities that help us thrive, all because we took the time to genuinely listen to someone else.

Conflict Management
Whether at work, at home, or out in public, conflicts are inevitable, and being in their midst without getting sucked in – or better yet, being able to step in and lower tensions – is a great skill. If you can experience a conflict and walk away having reached some resolution, then that’s a sign that you have great conflict management abilities.

Health Coaches tend to have a firm footing in all of the above, that’s what makes them great leaders of wellness, able to inspire others while continuing to grow in their own ways.

You can develop your emotional intelligence just as you can develop any other skills, through learning and patience. Go through the above and see what might be a common challenge for you, then work on it, asking for help if you need it. After you try it, share your experience in the comment below!

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