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What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.  There are three parts of emotional intelligence which include: emotional awareness; the ability to manage and regulate emotions (in yourself and others); and the ability to connect and apply emotion to thinking and problem solving situations.  Let’s look at each component a bit closer.

Emotional Awareness

Emotional awareness is the ability to learn from feelings.  Reflection is a crucial part of emotional awareness. When we reflect on our feelings, we are acknowledging and making sure we understand them correctly.  Having a higher degree of emotional awareness allows us to communicate our emotional state more clearly to others, move through problems quicker using feelings as a routing tool, set personal boundaries that work, better understand others and be more cooperative, and help with overall decision making.

Managing and Regulating Emotions

Emotional regulation means to have the capacity to effectively manage and respond to emotional experiences.  Many of us have a variety of emotional regulation strategies that are healthy and effective, and some that are not.  Healthy emotional regulation strategies allow us to disperse tough emotions, often allowing us to pinpoint what caused the emotion, offering greater understanding.  Examples of healthy emotional regulation strategies are exercising, writing in a journal, talking to a friend, going to therapy, paying attentions to automatic negative thoughts, getting enough sleep, and taking medication if needed.  Example of unhealthy management of emotions includes verbal or physical aggression, abuse of alcohol or other substances, avoiding or withdrawing from others, over eating, and self-injury.

Connecting and Applying Emotion to Problem Solving

The third element of emotional intelligence is applying and connecting knowledge of emotions to problem solving.  When thinking about a problem, sometimes it is best to try and view it from an outsider’s perspective. This will allow us to see the problem from a more unbiased view.  When doing this, we allow our brains to utilize learned information in order to successfully navigate through a problem or harsh situation. Another tip is learning to separate thought from feeling.  If we can isolate a certain feeling or thought, we are more able to work through the situation more easily, and with more control.

For any other information on emotional intelligence, or anything regarding mental health, we are here for you!  Please call Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832.421.8714.

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