Are you able to communicate your emotions and how you feel? Can you manage those emotions without feeling swamped or overwhelmed? Are you able to sense the emotions of others and use your social intelligence to respond effectively with empathy? If you have answered 'yes' to these questions, then you have what would be deemed to be a high level of emotional intelligence.
For many children and adults however, this is something they struggle with in terms of understanding and managing their emotions in order to self-regulate to create positive social interactions. At Grow Your Mindset we feel that when cognition and emotion meet it's the first step to realising your true potential.
What are the components to emotional intelligence?
According to Daniel Golemen, an American psychologist who has raised a platform for emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to be explored:
5. Social skills.
The more you connect with each of these areas the higher your emotional intelligence will be, so let us look at each one separately whilst also making the important link to mindset. Everything starts with your Mindset, your way of thinking and with every event you experience you will respond with an emotion and behaviour. However, the thought that pops in your head after the event (whether this be fixed or growth) will determine that emotion or behaviour. Therefore, to be aware of your mindset alongside your emotional intelligence (E.I) really does create a foundation for unlimited growth.
If you are self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. This links with the work we do around the Circle of Control and that understanding that your own thoughts, actions, behaviours, and language impact on others, so by developing your growth mindset your positive reactions and emotional responses will be that positive role model and influence of those around you.
Self regulation is about staying in control and therefore managing your impulsivity plays a part here. The more you work on your Mindset and E.I the less you respond with verbal attacks, where you focus on your emotions to make decisions rather than logical and rational thinking. Again, catching that fixed mindset thought, reflecting on it with logic shifts you away from the irrational and the high energy, unpleasant emotions (jealously, fear, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated) allowing you to focus on those low energy, pleasant emotions (focused, centred, relaxed, calm).
When we are self-motivated we develop that intrinsic motivation to succeed, with the desire to be the best version of ourselves. Again, our inner dialogue will determine the progress we make - connecting with our inner coach rather than inner critic encourages us to work towards challenges, effort, mistakes and feedback with a positive attitude, belief and focus.
The ability to place yourself in someone else's situation, understand where they are on The Mindset Continuum and think about the reason behind the behaviour and emotions being displayed without being reactionary is an inner strength whereby fairness, honesty, social intelligence and perspective definitely come to the fore.
Developing your communications skills whether speaking with clarity and precision or actively listening to others again creates the foundations for high levels of Emotional Intelligence. As with mindset awareness as you develop your growth mindset you are not deterred by failure, setbacks or mistakes as these are all deemed as opportunities to develop your abilities and skills further. Role modelling these experiences as positives and supporting others in similar situations again shows how emotions can be managed and regulated.
How do I improve emotional intelligence?
Myself and Gemma have written numerous blogs highlighting that our mindset underpins everything about us as individuals, and how when we become more mindset aware, understanding our triggers and pre-empting them allows us to change our instinctive reactions and habits. This will ultimately change our emotional responses. However, this is challenging and takes time and effort, at the end of the day you are changing the way you think. If, however you become more emotionally aware alongside mindset awareness when you do react instinctively (because it can happen without you realising) your emotional response can be your moment of pause, your reset button, to connect with those feelings and think about what has triggered them and why. So here are a couple of pointers to get you started:
Journals help you improve your self-awareness. If you spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness plus slow down when you experience anger or other strong emotions to examine why, have you jumped to a conclusion? Made something worse than it actually is? Homed in on the negatives? Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.
Take ownership of your own mistakes if you tend to blame others, change your perception of mistakes in that they don't define you or show your weaknesses but are opportunities for you to learn and grow. And the next time you are in a challenging situation and you feel frustrated be aware of that inner critic and how you respond. Think about mindfulness techniques to centralise your thoughts to become more focused and calmer.
Break down your goal or target into manageable chunks, feeling overwhelmed is when you are more likely to procrastinate, or develop a mindset which is preparing you for failure 'this is bound to go wrong, just wait, everything always does for me.' Small steps of progress allows you to feel proud creating a desire to carry on to the next step. Plus, when things do go pear shaped seek out some positives in the situation rather than keyholing the negatives so you avoid making excuses.
Take the time to view situations from another person's perspective. It is easy to support your own point of view because it's yours! Respond to how others are feeling and acknowledge their feelings, 'I can see you are feeling... / I understand why you are feeling...' dismissing someone's feelings or simply saying 'You'll be fine...' does nothing to focus on the reason behind the emotion.
Often miscommunication is a result of a lack of knowledge so spend time listening to others, without interrupting, questioning, responding negatively or critically. Maintain eye contact, show interest, and avoid passing judgment as you consider different points of view. Being aware of the language you use with others. Again, this connects with the work we do on Mindset, as our words and tone will influence the mindset of those around you.
Emotional Intelligence is something that we now entwine within our coaching programme and bespoke Mindset Motivation sessions for schools. As well as this, we will be going into more detail with topics such as this when we launch our online community, later in the year. If you'd like to be kept up to date with details of our online community or want to know more about our coaching or Mindset Motivation programmes please get in touch
If you love a good read, why don't you check out our other blogs about mindsets.
If you would like to know more about Grow Your Mindset click here.