Allow your emotions to work for, not against, you

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a Psychology Advisor. | Supplied

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a Psychology Advisor. | Supplied

Published May 21, 2024



Humans have always felt the need to understand the complexities of the mind. Human evolution requires emotional intelligence (EI) as it closely relates to our survival, growth and social development.

From our primal origins to its acknowledgement in modern culture. EI is the ability to accurately understand your own emotions and recognise the emotions of others.

This article aims to explore strategies that heighten your EI. Insights embrace the lessons from our vibrant past using modern knowledge to promote EI as a driving force for personal and collective well-being.

Self-awareness is arguably the largest aspect of EI. It is the lighthouse that allows us to view the bigger picture in even the most challenging situations. Understanding yourself allows you to self-correct.

You uncover a path to fulfilling relationships, inspired to advance your career as you are wired to make smarter decision-making essential for success. Each day, prioritise knowing which emotions are energy-boosting and which are draining. Look beyond the surface to discover new perspectives by being open-minded.

In an ever-shifting world, our emotions tend to lead us astray. Without your consent, no one can demean you. The world is a great school where people are given opportunities to shift their emotions into better beings. As emotions play a critical role in our daily lives, EI has become a highly sought-after skill in both personal and professional realms.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by emotions? Understand the “why” behind your emotions and what triggers them. EI is the art of managing emotions to work for you instead of against you. If you experience emotional difficulties, you should first look for the cause.

Ignoring the cause is the source of the problem. If the cause is addressed, future difficulties will be less accidental. You do control the thoughts that follow an emotion and you have a great deal of say in how you react to it. By being aware of it, you become adept at self-questioning which allows you to better navigate your emotional landscape.

To overcome daily challenges, practise mindfulness and focus on the present. Increase your awareness of your thoughts, feelings and sensations when they happen. Your thoughts and actions are influenced by observing emotions. During this “pause”, you have the ability to choose your responses and navigate the complexities of human emotions while being mindful.

Active listening is key to empathy which goes beyond understanding others’ feelings to see the world from their perspective. Keep your moral compass intact even when you disagree with others’ perspective. To effectively navigate social situations, use compassion instead of confrontation.

Develop the habit of having the “power of pause” before reacting. A conscious response can be achieved by taking a moment of stillness and reflecting on the situation instead of reacting on impulse.

Ask yourself: is my immediate response bringing me closer to that outcome? Or is it better to pause and rethink for an empathic response? While external circumstances are uncontrollable, we can control how we choose to respond to them.

Effective communication conveys messages that are clear, assertive and empathetic which prevents misunderstandings. Express your feelings with mutual respect and steer clear of aggression. Observe your tone to find balance between being truthful about your own needs and being mindful of how your words may affect others.

Be proactive in managing stress, recognise and address stress signs before it causes emotional harm and ensure they don’t control you. Acquire knowledge of the causes of stress to establish strategies for managing it, safeguarding your emotional well-being.

Learning from emotional experiences whether they enslave or empower you requires reflection. Through reflective practice, like journalling, writing down your thoughts and feelings or the emotions they invoke from significant events provides clarity from each experience.

Apply this knowledge in future challenges to gain emotional wisdom. Questions: What emotions did you feel, why did you feel them, how did you react, and how did those reactions affect the outcome?

You uncover insights hidden in your experiences. Consider them as opportunities to progress. They contain valuable lessons that aid in personal growth and emotional maturity. Focus on curiosity over judgment.

By acknowledging curiosity and our interactions with ourselves and others, we acquire an openness to understanding and learning. Judgment often closes our eyes to see beyond our preconceptions.

The historical context and evolution of EI reflect a growing acknowledgement of the importance of emotions in human behaviour, relationships and success.

In our newfangled world, human emotion closely relates to “attachment” or “connection” to others, yet life is a series of personal relapses and recoveries. To achieve personal and professional success, should we look to others or develop ourselves to become the hero in our own life story?

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a Psychology Advisor.

Daily News

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mental health