Many blokes have a confusing relationship with emotions.
They are often unsure about identifying their feelings and what on earth to do with them!
We have emotions for a reason – They are:
- Fundamental to being human
- Central for communication and connection
- Our greatest guidance system – Letting us know when something is ok or not ok for us
- Enriching our lives with passion and sensitivity
- Capable of swamping us, overwhelming us, frighten us and make us feel out of control
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the key to enhance our wellbeing.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to:
- Identify and understand our own emotions
- Being able to communicate with others about how we feel
- Understand other people’s emotions and interact with them when they are emotional
- Regulate our own emotions including controlling, expressing and modulating emotion
- Use emotion in our life in order to achieve our goals
Why is Emotional intelligence important?
- It allows us to have awareness and control over what we do
- It results in lower levels of stress, which are associated with better health
- It enables more satisfying friendships and lasting intimate relationships
- If we can soothe ourselves we are therefore able to calmly focus, concentrate and think when faced with a challenging situation
- It makes us more resilient. This means change and stress are easier to deal with
You possess many skills in EI, using them with friends, family and in your work place.
In recent years EI has become a buzzword with research in abundance. It is known as a better predictor to life satisfaction than IQ.
Kids teach us about emotion intelligence
I recently enjoyed presenting at a parenting forum. The focus was on how parents help kids build emotional intelligence.
In the field of parent education Dr John Gottman in the US and the creators of Tuning in to Kids (link) at the University of Melbourne provide powerful research and evidence in the development of emotional intelligence.
There are specific skills that help a child’s emotional intelligence which are practical in daily life.
These skills apply to us whether we have kids or not.
Dr John Gottman is a psychologist and relationships expert with 40 plus years of breakthrough research on marriage, relationships and parenting.
He suggests that adults generally have a default style when it comes to parenting and managing emotion. Our responses to emotion determines our level of emotional intelligence.
Gottman’s research developed parenting categories that best describe an adult’s response to managing emotions. A couple of them in particular can be detrimental to the development of EI. They are:
This response views emotions as unimportant and disengages from or ignores emotions.
Disapproval of emotion includes judgement and criticism.
The problems associated with dismissing or disapproving of emotions range from poor self esteem, significant social anxiety, depression and mental illness.
The best approach
An optimal style of parenting that creates high EI in kids is called Emotion Coaching. This approach to emotion is essential not only for our kids, but for our own health and wellbeing.
This approach views emotional moments as opportunities to listen, empathise, soothe, guide, connect and problem-solve.
5 steps to Emotional Intelligence
- Being aware of emotions
- Viewing the display of emotion as a time for intimacy and connection
- Describe and communicate emotions being experienced
- Empathising and validating emotions
- Use emotion if necessary to problem solve