Do you ever feel like you can’t control your emotions?
Do you feel like emotional intelligence is a natural ability that some people have, and others don’t?
If you answered yes, to either of the questions above, you’re not alone.
Before I read Dr. David Walton’s book “Emotional Intelligence,“ increasing my emotional intelligence seemed to be impossible. But the ideas that he presented have simplified emotional intelligence for me and shown me how to improve it.
As Dr. Walton states, emotional intelligence can be learned and put into practice. What’s important is that we are open to new ways of thinking and behaviors.
As with most journeys of self-improvement, emotional intelligence starts within ourselves.
How Well Do You Know Yourself?
The journey to building emotional intelligence starts with knowing yourself reasonably well.
The first thing to realize is that our emotions are hardwired into our brains, and most of them are there with the intention of protecting us.
From there, we can come to understand ourselves and why certain things push our buttons.
Dr. Walton states that our past and self-image determine how we act in social situations. Even how we interpret others’ behavior comes from our past experiences.
Some of the experiences that shape our behaviors include:
- The lessons we have learned about what is acceptable from childhood, as well as adults.
- Our need for affection and how those needs are met.
- Our sense of purpose and the goals we set for ourselves.
To take it a step further, the way we react to others and our personal inner drive has been influenced heavily by our past experiences.
So, what can we do if we want to change?
Being mindful of and understanding our emotions are two building blocks of increasing emotional intelligence. Simply becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings can help us create more freedom and choice in how we act and respond to others. The important thing here is to pay attention to how you’re feeling as it happens.
The old saying is that old habits die hard. But becoming aware of those habits can give us a chance to choose differently.
A great example of being able to choose a different reaction is when we realize our feelings about a situation stem from our past rather than what’s going on in the moment.
How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Health
Once we become aware of our emotions, we can start managing them.
Some ways to manage emotions include:
- Think about the situation and if a different person were involved. Would you still feel the same way?
- Consider if this situation would be as important a week from now. How about a month from now?
- Minimize automatically thinking about the negative aspects.
- Breathing exercises work wonders for reducing the effects of stress.
One of the ways that I have tried to manage my emotions is to model the behavior of someone I admire. How would that person react in my situation?
Our emotions create biochemical responses in our bodies and can trigger immune responses. Therefore, staying healthy is related to how we manage our emotions.
A few key points of emotional intelligence that could influence susceptibility to health problems:
- A tendency to experience negative emotions, like anger, hostility, anxiety, and depression.
- Being prone to believe that our ability to control events is minimal and that things are mostly predetermined.
- A lack of self-awareness, emotional self-control, and a tendency towards skewed thinking.
At the end of the day, overall happiness and mental health are influenced by emotional intelligence and psychological well-being.
There is so much to consider when thinking about “Emotional Intelligence.” Dr. Walton has provided a wealth of information to help improve our ability to interact with others better. High “Emotional Intelligence“ is not just about our emotions; it’s about being able to examine those emotions and make better choices logically.
I enjoyed taking some of the quizzes in the book to get a general idea of where I’m at on the emotional intelligence scale.
Let me know if you’ve read the book, and leave a comment below! And as always, thanks for reading!
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