Outstanding performance is a winning cocktail mixed with 25% of purely technical or hard skills, 25% of cognitive skills and 50% of all those competencies demonstrating emotional intelligence. In this winning equation and according to Daniel Goldman’s work, EQ is proved to be twice as important as all the other elements.
This so-called social-emotional realm includes the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to recognize and control emotions and behaviors; establish and maintain positive relationships; make responsible decisions, and solve challenging situations. Ultimately, being able to set and achieve positive goals.
Preferably educated and strengthen since early childhood, these are the 8 simple steps to be fostered and managed to acquire high-achieving commands of emotional skills.
1. Identifying and labeling feelings
Emotions can be described as a feeling and its distinctive thoughts, psychological and biological states, and the range of propensity to act. While there exist more types of emotions than words to describe them, there is a general agreement on some of them considered as primary, from which all other variations, grades, and nuances come from. Anger, sadness, fear, enjoyment, love, surprise, disgust, and shame appear to be the mother source for the whole universe of human feelings.
The first step to master social skills is to become always aware of the experienced emotions by identifying and labeling both, the concrete experienced feeling as well as the mother source from which this concrete feeling is deriving.
2. Expressing feelings
Emotions are spontaneous, and automatic responses that need to be felt and expressed. Avoiding and repressing emotions can have negative psychological consequences. But the same way, incorrectly showing them can have devastating consequences for ourselves and others.
When learning how to express our feelings in a positive and timely manner, it is helpful to remember that emotions are best mastered and controlled if understood as a multifaceted phenomenon consisting of the following components: behavioural reactions (e.g., approaching), expressive reactions (e.g., smiling), physiological reactions (e.g. heart pounding), and subjective feelings (e.g. feeling amused). When becoming aware of the whole emotional expression process, it becomes easier to understand how this process is manifesting on us and how to better conduct it.
3. Assessing the intensity of feelings
Every emotion has a core emotional nucleus. On its softer manifestation, the emotion perpetuates as a “mood,” which is a muted version of the core emotion and it last longer than the feeling itself. Above, in the scale of emotional intensity, we can find “temperaments” or the readiness to evoke a given emotion or mood that makes people melancholy or cheery. And still, beyond, we arrive at the realm of “disorders of emotions” that makes people feel perpetually trapped in a toxic emotional state, requiring clinical diagnosis and treatment.
4. Managing feelings
Being able to identify, express, and assess the intensity of emotions is vital to successfully manage them. Managing emotions in a positive manner imply that our feelings are correctly identified and communicated in a way that helps to positively release the emotion; positively being understood by others around and positively set us up closer to the realization of our goals. Anger can lead to a brutal confrontation between two people as well as to a firm determination to peacefully get away from a toxic person. Sexual attirement can lead to the reinforcement and enrichment of a personal relationship as well as to the vilest unfaithfulness.
5. Understanding the difference between feelings and actions.
Understanding the difference between feelings and actions in this process of managing emotions is crucial. While emotions are natural and automatic responses of the organism to a specific stimulus, actions are deliberate decisions that we owned and perform through a better or worst used of intelligence and willpower. There is nothing wrong with feeling something even when this feeling creates significant discomfort. At least, there is nothing that can be done about feeling this or another way. Whatever the feeling is, the focus should always be in the process of positively identifying, assessing, and managing this feeling. So when the feeling is expressed, and action is taken, this action is deliberated and intelligent enough as to get us closer to our desired positive goals. The is no responsibility for feelings but for actions.
6. Delaying gratification
Willpower is being scientifically proven to be one of the keystone habits for personal emotional management and success. Like a muscle, such as the muscles in your arms or legs, it gets stronger through exercise. The better it is trained, the bigger the chances it gets to achieve higher goals. And consciously delaying gratification, in a world of constant, imminent and easily achievable pleasure is a great way to exercise this muscle. So when managing emotions and taking appropriate action requires to go against strong feelings, willpower is adequately trained and ready.
7. Controlling impulses
To appropriately express emotions and transform them into desire positive actions, managing the first and basic impulses to act in a simple instinctively way, learning to control and process impulses is a must. As the strengthened willpower, the art of controlling impulses also requires training. Two are the basic stages that can help in this process. Setting up conditions to delay the ability to perform the action immediately is the first part of improving impulse control. This process can be quickly helped by strategically removing the source that brings the impulse (e.g., getting rid off all chocolate bars in the house). Maintaining impulse control is the second part. It involves not giving in to the desire after the impulse is interrupted. Despite even harder than stage number one, there are a large number of techniques that can be used to smooth the procedure (e.g., substituting chocolate bars by any other likable but healthy backup, among many other tailored-case tactics).
8. Reducing and managing stress
In all this whole process, lessening stress and anxiety is an essential element. Improving emotions management, impulse control, and appropriate decision-making requires the strengthening of willpower. As a muscle, the more it is exercised, the more it can handle. But if overused, it also loose capacity and efficiency. When the brain is too overtaxed, it is not strong enough as to always react victoriously against first impulses. For optimal emotional management, the brain needs to be free to do the job effectively.
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