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MENTAL WELLNESS

Emotional IQ and Wellness

 

Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness is linked to our emotional intelligence. This term in itself can sometimes trigger a defensive response. It is often interpreted as “maturity”; and in many ways it is. Our maturity is based upon our learning and experience. If we are confronted with a situation outside of the range of previous emotional experiences; or if we have never been taught how to manage new emotional experiences, then of course, we will not have the emotional maturity to deal with it. Too often, we expect both ourselves and others to have emotional maturity, purely based on age. This is nonsense!

If we have not previously dealt with aggression, grief, failure, success or any other emotion, we will not have learnt the tools required to manage the process surrounding these ‘normal’ life experiences. If you have never before encountered a manipulative person, you may easily be seen by others as ‘stupid’. In reality, you were naïve, but only because you had yet to experience this type of personality or relationship. Active participation in life experiences requires a co-ordination of thoughts, feelings and actions. Understanding how these three elements work together provides a stable platform upon which to build our coping mechanisms.

Emotional intelligence is about understanding that yourself and that you will continue to develop your emotional management capability throughout life.

 


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence has been defined as:

“It is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. - Daniel Goleman, 1998

Emotional intelligence is consciously choosing your thoughts, feelings and actions to get the most possible out of your relationship with yourself and others. Emotional Intelligence integrates the three elements:

  1. Feelings - emotional development
  2. Thoughts - cognitive development
  3. Actions - behavioral development


It is not always so that we are equally capable in each of these three areas. We know that our feelings are largely controlled by our thoughts, but sometimes we have difficulty in managing our actions. The feelings and thoughts may just be too passionate at the time that controlled action is beyond our current capability. This requires a realistic self awareness of how we are currently interacting with our world and continually striving to improve our capability.

From this basis we can recognise our strengths and weaknesses and use tools to help us grow.

 

How To Improve Emotional Intelligence

Our emotional intelligence grows as we learn how these three elements work together and knowing how to apply them to your own life. To improve our emotional intelligence in these three important areas we need to:

  1. increase our self-awareness – knowing how you typically react in certain situations, knowing your hot buttons and your typical response behaviours is the key to emotional intelligence.
  2. develop self-management skills – using the power of controlled thoughts, feelings and actions.
  3. develop self-direction – self confidence develops through empathy and good decisions. Learning to trust your instincts so that you may give of yourself freely, with confidence that you will stay in control of your own destiny.

To Increase Self-Awareness

  • Recognize how your own feelings and actions affect others.
  • Understand and accept your strengths, weaknesses, feelings and personal power.
  • Value your Independence – your choice of thoughts, feelings and actions.

To increase self-management

  • Learn how to ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ - not being paralyzed by depression, stress or anger.
  • Balance long term success with short term gratification – make choices based on what is "best" not what provides instant satisfaction.
  • Develop Priorities – make decisions based on what is most important at any given time or circumstance. Not giving in to impulses that don’t contrite directly to the pursuit of your goals.
  • Be Optimistic – make a personal choice to be positive rather than negative. Use effective self talk on a daily basis. Remove negative influences from your life.
  • Be Persistent - in the face of setbacks. Action removes all doubt
  • Be Accountable – take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • Develop Relationship & Social Skills – learn good interpersonal skills to successfully interact and communicate with others. Be able to understand and articulate the unspoken feelings of a group.

Developing Self Management Skills

  • Values – understanding your personal value system is one of the most important things you can do. Your values control your feelings and thoughts, which in turn impact your decisions and actions.
  • Goals – having a strong awareness of your own goals, so that you may continue to progress in your life, whilst helping others achieve their goals. Many times your goals conflict with those you share you life with and careful consideration of the costs and benefits for those involved is required to make sound decisions.
  • Learning to Let Go - by letting go of your own baggage, you improve your ability to relate to others.
  • Continual Personal Growth – accepting that we are in a process of lifelong learning and growth. You won’t always have all the answers, or make the right choices, but you do always have the opportunity to grow and prevent making the same mistakes again. Personal growth is about learning how to let go or eliminate painful, limiting emotions that cause stress and prevent you from performing at your best; and incorporating positive, motivating skills that propel you towards reaching your goals.
  • Interdependence – understand how your emotional intelligence impacts those your interact with, and how best you can contribute to their emotional growth.
  • Empathy – show compassion, understanding and forgiveness to others. reading other people's emotions without their having to tell you what they are feeling. Understand that they may not share the same values, goals or emotional intelligence as you. They have the right to feel or act in ways that are right for them.

 

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

According to studies, Emotional Intelligence of each generation is falling. A survey of American employers reveals that:

  • More than 50% of employees lack the motivation to keep learning and improving in the job.
  • 40% are incapable of working cooperatively with fellow employees.
  • Over 80% of entry level applicants lacked self-discipline in their work habits.
  • 70% of all change initiatives are failing to deliver the desired results due to people issues.

The competitive edge of todays corporations largely depends on the relationships of its people. Emotional intelligence has a ripple effect in organisations. Leaders possessing emotional intelligence will create an effective work climate that will further develop emotional intelligence at the subordinate levels.

An organisational leader needs emotional intelligence to:

  • Make a commitment to the organisations strategy
  • Build open and trusting relationships with stakeholders and venture partners
  • Not buy in to negative corporate politics – know how to shut down disruptive influences
  • Collaborate, support and share resources
  • Encourage personal development, and organisational continuous improvement
  • Holistic approach to the workplace – combining human and financial goals

The impact of EI depends largely upon the complexity of the job. The more complex the role, the more emotional intelligence will support the person to achieve success through goal planning, commitment, persistence, searching quality and motivating teams.

Emotional intelligence has been shown to contribute 85% of what defines star performers from the average.

 

Resources

Free Emotional Intelligence Test [Provided by Hay Group]

 

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