There are many types of fitness – physical, mental and emotional. Generally, when people talk about fitness it’s body related and often times the emotional fitness of a person is neglected and overlooked.
Today we will have a quick look at what emotional fitness or emotional intelligence looks like.
What is emotional intelligence/ fitness?
Being emotionally smart involves being able to identify and name how you feel – pleasant or unpleasant, to understand the root of what is making you feel this way and acknowledge it. Emotional intelligence is the ability and skill to regulate one’s own feelings and to respond judiciously and empathetically in interpersonal relationships.
To be emotionally intelligent is to experience a healthy sense of control over what is happening inside, so the emotions are not in control of you, but you are in control of your emotions. Being in control of one’s feelings does not mean locking them away and not letting them out, thereby exerting control over them (the suppression and repression of feelings has its own ramifications). It means understanding what is happening to you and doing what is needed to regulate the feelings in a healthy way. This may involve acceptance and various self-soothing techniques.
Why is it necessary to be emotionally intelligent/ fit?
Emotional intelligence plays a huge role in our lives. It helps us understand how we feel and why we feel that. It helps us understand what another person is feeling. It helps us develop important social skills like compassion and empathy for ourselves and each other. These feelings build and nurture intimacy making us feel connected with people around us. Emotionally intelligent people can respond appropriately to a number of situations as they recognize and understand what others feel and can then navigate and maintain relationships well.
Emotionally intelligent people don’t judge people for what they feel and experience, they don’t dismiss or argue or try and fix someone else’s feelings. A person can only connect with others to the degree to which they are comfortable connecting with themselves. As a result, people that struggle with emotional intelligence also struggle with experiencing a sense of connectedness and intimacy in their closest interpersonal relationships. They are unable to identify and understand their own emotions, unable to manage feelings and generally respond inappropriately to another’s feelings.
What can one do to increase their emotional quotient?
All behavior is learned, so emotional intelligence can be learned.
- If you struggle with not knowing how you feel, a simple way to start is by trying to be more aware of the emotions you experience during a day. Notice where you feel that emotion in your body and try and name it as anxiety, anger, sadness, joy, surprise, contempt etc. Knowing how you feel helps you feel more in control of your life.
- Another way to be emotionally intelligent is to try and just listen to your spouse, friend or child without dismissing, offering advice, judgment or criticism. Really listen. This will help them feel more connected to you and builder deeper, stronger relationships.
- Sometimes people are so afraid to feel negative feelings they do everything in their power to not be still and to fix a feeling. The desire to run away from what one is feeling causes stress and anxiety inside a person. Try just sitting with an emotion, respecting it and acknowledging it’s there for a reason.
Here’s a little activity…
Check out the Feeling wheel and try and identify how you feel…
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