6 Steps To Improve Your Emotional IntelligenceThese days, many of us don’t pay as much attention to our emotional health as we should, whether it is because we undervalue it, focus on other things, or figure that if it was bad enough to worry about we would notice it.
The problem with this is that emotional health problems don’t always come on all of a sudden. While a sudden trauma might upset your mental health in a hurry, problems are more often caused by gradual changes.
When change happens gradually, we are more likely to assume that things have always been that way, who can lead to potential problems going unaddressed.
That’s why it’s important to practice emotional awareness all the time, not just when we already think that something is already wrong.
1. Ask Yourself How You Are Feeling
Being aware of our own emotions can be very similar to being aware of other people’s emotions. In addition to making us more able to avoid stress by making us more aware of emotional repercussions to various circumstances, we can check our own emotional wellness in much the same way that we the check emotional wellness of others: by asking.
When other people ask you how you are doing, it can be most efficient and polite to just say “okay” or “fine” but if you literally ask yourself you may reply with something a little more informative.
You don’t have to carry on a whole conversation with yourself, but if you ask yourself “How are you doing?” and you respond with “Well, I’ve been better,” it might be something to spend more time thinking about.
2. Be More Comfortable Talking About Your Own Feelings
Etiquette may have gotten in the way of our emotional awareness in another way: it keeps us from talking about ourselves, which may keep us from thinking about ourselves.
Consider stating how you feel with statements like “I’m glad to hear that,” or “that makes me frustrated.” This kind of talking about your own feelings helps you focus and think more about how you feel and how you react to things, but it also will help other people to understand how you are feeling.
It’s important to keep focused on the topic, however, as it can be carried away. When your “I’s” get too close together it can become rude, but it may also distort your outlook and lead you to think about yourself too much.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Another great way to stay aware of your emotional wellness is through mindfulness.
This practice encourages you to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, as well as how they make you feel physically, particularly through tense muscles and changed breathing. Many of these practices also include exercises that teach you to control your breathing and relax your muscles to decrease your level of stress and increase your emotional health.
Fortunately, mindfulness is increasing in popularity these days, so the internet is full of quality resources and mobile apps full of information and tools.
If you are concerned about trusting these resources, or just want to be sure that you are finding the best available resources, consider talking to your primary care provider about your interest in learning more about mindfulness. While not all doctors are likely to be experts in the field, most will be able to give you helpful advice in furthering your own research.
Many people are reluctant to get into meditation because it often has religious connotations. While the oldest forms of meditation are explicitly religious, more modern forms of meditation focus exclusively on the secular benefits of meditation.
Related to but slightly different from mindfulness, mediation involves taking a part of the day, as little as a few minutes, to clear your mind.
Clearing your mind can bring its own benefits, although it is very difficult. Recognizing what thoughts or feelings make it difficult to clear your mind can help you to recognize which things in your life are giving you the most trouble.
As was the case with mindfulness, there are a lot of great resources online regarding meditation, but the best place to start may be a friendly conversation with your primary care provider.
Many people who write fiction find that they include aspects of their own lives in their stories and characters. Writing yourself, especially in fiction, can help you to express your feelings in a safe and healthy way, but re-reading your own work can also help you to see your own experiences from a new perspective. This can help you to understand your feelings and can allow you to identify creative solutions to your problems.
6. Use Essential Oils
The sense of smell is an intricate part of our human functioning that has been shown to affect appetite and food preferences, assist with survival through the detection of danger, influence social relationships, and exhibit powerful effects on our feelings, memory, and physiological responses.With one whiff, mood, discomfort, and nerves can all be affected simultaneously. Olfaction has a direct emotional link to the brain via the amygdala, a group of nuclei associated with the processing of pain and modulating the stress response. Many have experienced how a pleasant smell could help mitigate tension and have beneficial effects on the body.
Intriguingly, an individual’s association with certain scents are connected to specific remembrances and can create changes in biological responses, including altering breathing patterns and heart rate. Furthermore, the secondary metabolites and odorant molecules themselves have been shown to produce physiological changes in the body, independent of smell. This is due to the fact that odor receptors are located throughout our whole body!
Students have used this sense to “hack” their preparation for the exams. During their studies, they diffused essential oil. And on the day of the test, they brought it to inhale prior to and during bathroom breaks. The association of the smell was linked to a calm environment and memories of what they had learned. The essential oils’ secondary metabolites acted as beneficial compounds in the cellular receptors and assisted their wellbeing in a variety of ways. The end result was an enhancement of memory and recall, calming jitters, and better than a passing score.
Doctors have used essential oils to assist people in processing their emotions that were causing a negative cycling of unwanted behavior. Due to their ability to change our mood and regulate our physiology, they are an underutilized clinical tool to help patients connect to others and support them with effective processing of feelings.
One of the most used essential oils is lavender. This is due to its ability to affect cognition, mood, and protect the brain.
There is a long list of essential oils that can be used to promote Emotional Intelligence. To see the list click here.Disclaimer:
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
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