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Can Learning About Emotional Intelligence Benefit Us?

The concept of emotional intelligence has recently surfaced in popular and social media. What are the uses of emotional intelligence and how is it applied to our everyday lives?

Emotional intelligence is simply the understanding of our emotions. This emotional understanding can also help us to better identify the emotional responses of others. Most people want to know how to use it to make changes in their lives.

First, the emotionally intelligent person can better control the body’s stress response system. As a result, we can learn to stay calm and control our emotions more effectively. We can also use this type of emotional learning to prepare ourselves for toxic interactions or people who upset us. Emotional intelligence can help us arm ourselves against all kinds of toxicity. For example, we can avoid a person who is typically negative. Knowing our vulnerabilities can assist us in navigating, recognizing or controlling our emotional responses. Learning about our emotions and feelings in general can help us to look within ourselves. For example, a person may make this type of self check on a regular routine. Thinking about how one is feeling might be a part of a routine to begin the day. How am I feeling right now? Am I calm, contented, irritable or sad? Am I vulnerable right now? If so, I should take steps for self care and resilience behaviors instead of piling on more work or taking on other people’s emotions .

The RULER model (*Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence) is a good way to organize the understanding of our emotions. The R is recognizing emotions in yourself. What emotions am I feeling right now? It might be helpful for a person to think about the emotional responses they can identify in themselves (e.g., happy, sad or angry). The U is understanding the causes and consequences of these emotions. For example, children make me happy or certain people make me angry. Next, certain consequences may result when I experience the feeling. Anger might make us vulnerable to responses, thoughts and behaviors we might regret. The L is for labeling your emotions in standard ways. Many people find that simple emotional labels are less confusing (sad, happy & angry). This labeling can assist us in our emotional inventory. The E is expressing emotions in socially acceptable ways. For example, writing in an anger journal or using a punching bag is often better than yelling at someone. It is typically helpful to identify emotional expressions that might get us in trouble. The second R is regulating our emotions with useful strategies.

Many reputable books and materials already exist for the interested person who wants to learn more about emotional intelligence. We can better understand and empathize with others if we first understand our own emotions. * The RULER model is adapted from the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence.


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