Emotional Intelligence is a fairly recent development in the realm of research done on the human psyche, with the phrase being coined in 1990, and the concept being to find the connection between our emotions and cognitive processing.
Over the past 25 years, studies have been developed to help us humans understand the positive relationship between emotion and thought; steering away from the previous negative associations between the two. In 1990, two academics – Salovey and Mayer – wrote an article in an academic journalthat outlined the importance of emotional intelligence:
‘[The] ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth.’
Thanks Salovey and Mayer.
With the work place constantly evolving and progressing forward, it’s important that you’re at the front line for innovative ideas. Once you learn how to hack your emotional intelligence, you can utilize it to give you some lifelong skills and develop your interpersonal abilities so that you can communicate better with your colleagues, and show your office rival who’s REALLY boss.
Rule # 1: Listen to your feelings
The first rule to being more emotionally intelligent and using this to improve your life is: Listen to your feelings. Respect the feels. You see if you can connect situations where you’ve been feeling similar then you’re more likely to understand what it is that triggers these emotions in you. Once you understand your own feelings then you can relate that towards others; which means you’ll be a better manager or a more vital team player. You could have a job that relies solely on returning clients (look, I’m not judging) so you need to know how to communicate efficiently and effectively. It goes without saying that this can also be applied to relationships.
Also equally important is to listen to your body. If you’re going to work and your hearts beating really fast, you feel sick and your hands are sweaty; it probably means you’re not enjoying your job- or you’re driving like a lunatic.
Rule # 2: Analyse your dreams
I love this one: analyse your dreams. My ex-boyfriend would absolutely hate whoever suggested this as a necessity; as for much of our relationship he resented having to be a part of my daily dream discussions.
According to Norman E Rosenthal, and his book ‘The Emotional Revolution: Harnessing the Power of your Emotions for a more Positive Life’ – catchy – by tuning in to your unconscious, either after waking up from a dream, or when in a relaxed state, you have a stronger ability to ‘look within’ to source and resolve internal troubles.
In light of this, I was telling a group of my colleagues the other day about my dream where the devil was my lecturer and we were to get punished for each of our sins by our ten biggest phobias. The rest of the dream was a blur, but did involve an HIV-riddled needle chasing me around.
Other than the concerned stares I received, I was not responded to with the funky dreams I had envisioned- but rather confessions of dreams that usually involved going to the shop and struggling to choose the flavour of crisps they wanted. Using Norman E Rosenthal’s advice, and through careful reflection, I would say that I have issues, and that these girls are hungry.
Rule # 3: Know when enough is enough
The third rule of fight club is… sorry, I’m getting carried away. The third rule of emotional intelligence is to know when enough is enough. Emotion is like a wave; you have to ride it all the way through; from the rise, to the peak, to the trough- ensuring that you’ve completely processed your emotions. Equally as important is to learn that there ‘comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when it’s time to shift your focus outward’. I always thought my over-analyzing made me really emotionally intelligent, but actually this is called ‘dwelling on the negative’- and being a Sensitive Sally doesn’t count as being a boss of your emotions.
On the topic of Sensitive Sally, here’s a quick test I made so you can see your progress. You can do Salovey and Mayer’s official emotional intelligence test here, but I really advise you do mine instead. 😉
Sally has two chocolate bars, but you only have one. You politely ask Sally if she can share one of her chocolate bars so that you can have equal amounts. Sally says no, and to your utter horror she takes your one chocolate bar and then proceeds to eat all three of them in front of you. You are paralysed by disbelief.
- Save the vacuuming for whenever Sally is watching her favorite TV program.
- Threaten Sally with bloody vengeance.
- Allow yourself to understand that you’re upset, and find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. You’re a rational human being, so you’re really good at defusing confrontations, and you know how this will allow you to communicate better with Sally. This way you can continue to be friends.