In a world where certain political figures are throwing their nukes out of the pram, it’s important to promote a higher state of being amongst we progressive humans. If you want to truly increase your wellbeing, getting your mind right is the best place to start.
So, what is emotional intelligence? By understanding your emotions and how to manage them, you’re better able to express how you feel, what you want and don’t want while at the same time acknowledging and understanding how others are feeling and behaving.
Emotional intelligence advice
HFM spoke to expert Gill Hasson who gave us some great advice to help us be more emotionally intelligent men.
Dial down heightened emotions
We all have emotional triggers; specific situations that provoke a strong emotional reaction. If you’re unaware of your emotional triggers, your responses can seem automatic and out of your control. Emergencies aside, rather than react, you need to be able to stop and think; access the rational part of your brain so that you can respond in a conscious, purposeful way; a way that doesn’t make things worse.
- Identify your triggers. Make yourself more aware of the situations, people and places, that set you off.
- Help your brain to engage; write a note that says ‘STOP! THINK!’ and place it on your computer or someplace you’re likely to see it when you want to avoid saying, or doing, something you’ll regret later.
Manage the physical feelings and adrenaline produced by strong emotions.
- Take some deep breaths. Slow, focused breathing helps bring your heart rate down. Count to three on the in breath and to five on each out breath. Do this for a couple of minutes. It won’t completely dispel the emotion, but just having to think about counting as you breathe will help re-engage your logical thinking brain.
- Manage the physical feelings: get moving. A brisk walk, running, cycling or climbing a few flights of stairs can use up adrenalin produced by strong emotions.
- Once you can think straight, think about what you do and don’t want to happen next.
Meeting Emotional Needs
We all have physical and emotional needs. Emotional needs are such things as the need to be accepted, appreciated and believed. To be liked and loved, respected and reassured. To be able to trust and feel trusted. To understand and be understood. Just as when you’re hungry you take responsibility for feeding yourself, the same is true with your emotional needs. It’s not realistic to rely too much on other people to meet our emotional needs and ‘make’ us feel good or feel better.
- Once you have identified a need, do something about it. If, for example, you want more respect, learn how to be more assertive. If you’re bored, try to create your own interests. If you are lonely, find ways to connect with other people.
Tuning into your Intuition
If you’ve ever experienced the feeling that something in a situation wasn’t right – that things didn’t seem to add up – then you’ve experienced intuition. And if you’ve ever experienced situations where everything did add up and everything did seem to come together, that’s also your intuition. It’s an immediate knowing. You don’t know why, you can’t explain it, you just feel it and you just know it.
- Focus and pay attention! So often, intuitive messages are drowned out by all the other noise and activity that’s going on in and around you. When you feel your intuition is speaking to you, ignore distractions and interruptions so that you can tune in to the true feelings.
Empathy isn’t necessarily knowing exactly what someone is going through or how someone feels, it’s getting that you might not get it. You might not agree with how they’re feeling, but accepting how the other person feels goes a long way to validating their emotions.
- Just listen. Don’t interrupt, don’t try to fix it, pacify them, offer solutions or stop their experience or expression of what they are feeling.
- When you do say something, don’t say “I know how you feel.” Do say something like “I’m sorry that happened…. it must be confusing / annoying / upsetting for you.” In this way, you’re validating that whatever it is, you understand that for them, it is difficult, upsetting or confusing.
Gill Hasson is the author of Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook: Little Exercises for an Intuitive Life (Capstone, £8.99)