Emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence that allows you to direct your thoughts and behavior according to your own emotions. How you master your emotions and sustain a balanced mind? Is it possible to become more emotionally intelligent and thus boost your emotional IQ? Hello everyone and welcome to thebestmind.net. In this article, we're going to learn about emotional intelligence and how to master your emotions.
Reinterpret your symptoms
What happens to your body when you're nervous? Your breathing quickens, your heart pounds in your chest, your stomach ties itself in nuts. When you notice these changes in your body, how do you feel? Most people interpret stress in a negative way. They associate physical changes with emotional anxiety, but is that really what it means?
Let's say you're about to give a speech. You feel your heart rate speed up, so you assume that you're nervous. You assume you're not prepared for this challenge. You start to doubt yourself all because your body seems to be panicking, but it's not. You associate these physical symptoms with anxiety, but your body isn't nervous, it's excited.
Now, think about other times when your heart rate speeds up. It beats quickly on first dates the same way it does before a test. Your stomach turns during presentations and on roller coasters. Your breathing changes when you're watching a scary movie even if you love to be scared. So, what does this mean for your emotional intelligence? Can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Can you rethink your physical symptoms to master your emotions?
Let's go back to our example. Before giving your speech, you realize how quickly your heart's beating. Instead of assuming that you're nervous, you realize that your body is just excited. Suddenly, your mindset changes. So, instead of doubting yourself, you get excited too. You gain confidence and your motivation grows. When you recognize that your body isn't panicking, you can perform at your best.
This strategy comes from a 2010 study in the journal of experimental social psychology. Researchers wanted to see how rethinking physical symptoms affects your performance. They tested this on a group of college graduates who they split into two categories group. One took a high-stakes test without any interference from researchers. Group two, on the other hand, received a lesson on rethinking physical symptoms. They were told that physical changes show excitement instead of fear. After this lesson, they took the same test as group one.
Do you think their new mindset affected their performance? Group two experienced less stress and scored higher than group one. By rethinking their symptoms, they stayed in control of their body and their emotions. So, use this trick the next time you get nervous. Re-interpret your physical symptoms. Get excited alongside your body and by changing your thinking, you stay confident and in control.
Recognize your spectrum
If you have high emotional intelligence, you recognize a wider range of emotions than the average person. You understand how individual emotions differ from each other. You can identify for example how anger is different from jealousy. You know how joy differs from satisfaction.
Emotionally intelligent people understand a broad spectrum of emotions. Thanks to their emotional vocabulary. So, what is an emotional vocabulary? It's the language you use to describe how you feel. The vast majority of people know only two words to describe their emotions. They're either feeling good or they're feeling bad. Neither of these terms capture the many different emotions that you may be feeling. Without the right vocabulary, you don't know what to call these feelings, so you don't know how to understand them.
If you want to master your emotions, you need to expand your vocabulary. Don't describe yourself with simple umbrella terms, like good or bad. Be specific get to the heart of your problem by distinguishing each individual feeling.
Let's say you have a bad feeling. You know you're feeling negative, but why are you feeling negative? Maybe you made a mistake and that mistake made you vulnerable and weak. This emotion is called embarrassment. Let's go one step further. What if you're more than just embarrassed? You made a mistake and that was embarrassing, but then someone made fun of you. Now, you're feeling something worse than embarrassment. You're feeling attacked, vulnerable and ashamed.
Together these feelings create an emotion called, humiliation. Every emotion has these unique characteristics. There are dozens of positive and negative emotions and each one differs in small, but significant ways. So, they need to be explored individually. When you get specific with your emotions, you understand the way you think and feel. You recognize personal patterns. You discover deeper issues and you learn how to regulate your emotions.
This comes from a 2001 study in the journal cognition and emotion. Researchers explain that emotional regulation correlates with emotional distinction. In other words, people who recognize specific emotions can regulate those emotions.
What happens when you regulate your emotions? You may control the negative feelings that cause you pain. You may encourage the positive feelings that leave you inspired. So, take the time to explore your feelings and learn some new words along the way. As you expand your vocabulary, you may discover feelings you never knew existed.
Diversify your experiences
Where does emotional intelligence come from? The simple answer is experience. Your experience is widen your perspective. They teach you new things by exposing you to the unknown. You can only learn so much inside your little bubble. If you spend your life hiding in your comfort zone, you'll never know what the world has to offer.
There are millions and millions of lifestyles, opinions and perspectives out there. You'll never experience them all, but the more you understand, the wider your perspective will become. That's why many travelers have high emotional intelligence. Their experiences are like a window into the lives of others. Jumping from country to country, they accumulate perspectives that shape their emotions.
Even if you can't travel the world, you can still collect new experiences. You can read books. You can watch movies. You can learn new languages and try new foods. There are all kinds of opportunities out there, but there's one question we haven't answered. How exactly does your experience impact your emotional intelligence?
Experience creates understanding and understanding creates empathy. You learn why others think the way they do. You get a better understanding of different people and personalities. Empathy lies at the heart of emotional intelligence, but you need perspective to understand others. Without perspective, your understanding will always be limited. There's one more big advantage to broadening your horizons. Experience creates empathy, but it also defuses rumination or overthinking.
According to a 2015 study from the proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the United States Of america, experiences, especially those in nature, impact your mental state by reducing negative activity in the brain. These experiences create a positive state of mind allowing you to escape toxic patterns. So, if you want to master your emotions, have a new experience. Step outside of your comfort zone. Walk fearlessly into the unknown because there's a world out there waiting to be understood.
Reinforce your standards
Do you have high standards for yourself? Do you cut other people too much slack. This contradiction creates emotional discord for countless people. Say you expect yourself to be trustworthy. You work hard to keep every single promise you make, but what happens when someone breaks a promise they made to you? Do you express your frustration or do you just hold it in?
Most people don't want to criticize or upset other people, so they keep their emotions bottled up. If you have high standards for yourself, you should maintain those standards for the people in your life, because people with high standards make the best leaders, they have clear expectations and bring out the best in other people.
I'm not saying you should attack or criticize people when they fail. In fact, you should do just the opposite. When people fail be the first person to support and encourage them. By empowering others, you also empower yourself, you take a more confident and active role in your life, you stop bottling up your feelings and you gain control over your emotions.
Limit your reactivity
How do you respond to conflict? Do you react with the first feeling that pops into your head? Your first emotion is often unproductive and impulsive. When you react instantly, you may respond in a way that contradicts how you really feel. In the moment, your emotions burst out, your anger overflows and your emotions cloud your judgment and in the end you feel nothing, but regret.
People with high emotional intelligence control their reactivity. When they're faced with a problem, they don't respond right away. They take some extra time to think and during that time, their emotions settle down, those flaring impulsive feelings dissipate, so they can think with a cool head.
Because of this calculated pause, emotionally intelligent people develop strong conflict resolution skills. Instead of creating conflict, they neutralize conflict, they mediate reasonable compromises and help other people communicate.
So, if you want to develop emotional intelligence, control your reactivity. Pause whenever your emotions get the best of you. In the moment, you don't have to react. Excuse yourself and take a break. Give your emotions the chance to settle down and when you're calm and clear-headed, you'll give a response that you can stand behind. Not only will you avoid conflict, but you'll develop better control over your emotions. It may be difficult at first. Your emotions may get the best of you from time to time, but that's okay. Keep trying to stay in control. Keep forcing yourself to pause and think and with practice, you'll learn to master your emotions.
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