At the very least, ones with healthy emotional intelligence are able to self-reflect or evaluate their emotional responses.
How do you respond to uncomfortable situations? Are you always in control of your emotions? What are the fighting words for you that causes you to lose control of your emotions? Growing up, “yo momma” may have been a fighting word for most kids? In the African-American community, “the n-word” was usually a fighting word. As adults, we may not have “fighting words” but there are certain behaviors or words that usually cause us to want to “fight”. Perhaps the fight is not physical but verbal. Perhaps the fight is not towards another person but inward (e.g., emotional eating). In any case, we often regret the times that someone caused us to lose control of our emotions. We should look for ways to prevent this kind of uncontrollable emotional responses or increase our emotional IQ.
What is emotional IQ or emotional intelligence (EQ)? Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control emotions (i.e., anger, sadness, frustration, quietness, disengagement). Those with healthy emotional intelligence are able to perceive whether their emotional response is appropriate and change it quickly to handle challenges. An emotional response is inappropriate if it is unproductive or does not bring about a healthy result. At the very least, ones with healthy emotional intelligence are able to self-reflect or evaluate their emotional responses. In fact, the ability to evaluate your emotional responses is the first step to developing a healthy emotional intelligence. During an evaluation of your emotional responses, you can determine the triggers or what cause the emotional response and recognize them the next time and change the response.
People will throw you bait or lure you into displaying certain emotional responses. Some may call these people bullies who know how to push your hot button and seem to get pleasure in seeing you out of control. Despite these people or your hot buttons, you can learn to control your emotions.
According to Dr. Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, M.A article “Five Key Skills for Raising Emotional Intelligence” the following are the skills improve Emotional intelligence, each building on the last:
- Quickly reduce stress.
- Recognize and manage your emotions.
- Connect with others using nonverbal communication.
- Use humor and play to deal with challenges.
- Resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.
In essence, reducing stress will help us remain in tune with ourselves, environment, and emotions. As a lot of stress can cause us to be “off our game” or unable to recognize when our emotions are starting to become out of character and abnormal. At these times, we may have an inappropriate emotional response to people and behaviors that normally would not cause such a response. At that time, our nonverbal communication (i.e., eyes, sweat, heavy breathing, rolling eyes, staring, pacing, crying) may be a clue to ourselves and others that we are experiencing an emotional reaction. At this time, humor or changing the subject may help us come to the conclusion that we need to change our response or remove ourselves from the situation. We may need to walk away. During that time away, we need to evaluate the emotional response to determine if there is something else (possibly unrelated to the current situation) going on. More importantly, use that time to develop a better way to manage your emotions or resolve conflicts in a more positive manner. You will begin to notice that you can resolve conflicts better when you can manage your emotions. You will notice that you don’t have to take the bait (what used to cause an inappropriate emotional response) and it does not have to control your emotions. You will increase your emotional intelligence and begin to choose the “fights” that are worth your attention and effort.
Dr. Shambra Mulder is an academic scholar/professional life coach with over 15 years of experience advocating for those who are considered “the least of these”.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija