What is emotional intelligence: Part two- How to develop it!

What is emotional intelligence: Part two- How to develop it!

This is part two of a blog I started yesterday which explains what emotional intelligence is and why being aware of our emotional state and reactions is very beneficial to us. Go here to see part one of ‘What is emotional Intelligence?’

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I’m not willing to change. I’m happy to remain unhappy!

Not everyone wants to feel ‘better’ for whatever reason. Some people are comfortable to be in a permanent state of stress, as this is all they have ever known. Some relate the feeling of emotions with pain and fear due to past emotional experiences when others have lost control and hurt them, or they have caused harm. They see emotions as something to avoid as a way of protecting themselves and others from further pain.

As mentioned, in part one, different people resort to many different ways to avoid connecting to how they are feeling. Unfortunately, anything that diverts us from feeling is detrimental to our overall wellbeing and will result in dis-ease.

To take advantage of the benefits that clear thinking, having a calm mind and relaxed body will bring, we actually have to choose to ‘want’ to change our state of being. We alone have the power to choose this for ourselves, so there is no point waiting for someone else to do it for you!

Breathing is so important: Why are most of us not doing it properly?

As goes the breath, so goes the mind! A common indicator of when someone is not fully engaged with their feelings is a shallow or inhibited breathing pattern. By restricting the breath high in the body, in the throat and upper lung’s region, it will be short, shallow and of little energetic (oxygen) value. These conditions reflect in a tense body and busy mind that is unfocused and always jumping from one thought to another, often indicative of a person who is not present but distracted by past and future thoughts.

By contrast, a deep relaxed smooth breath down into the lower lung’s, creating movement in the stomach region aids to give vital oxygen supplies to the whole body and mind, helping to keep both at peace and in balance. This supports the body with smooth purposeful actions and supports the mind with calm, focused, relaxed and clear thoughts that help a person to remain in the present moment.

How are you feeling now?

Where is your breath now?

Can you notice a connection between the way you are currently breathing and how you are currently feeling?

Breathing properly is necessary for living a balanced life.

Breathing was the first act of our life and our breath is the main source of vital life-force energy (or Prana), which brings awareness to our life. All nature has a natural rhythm and we are part of nature. However, most people today have lost their connection to the natural cycles of body, mind, and soul. If used purposefully, it is our breath that can help us strengthen these vital links.

Research has proven how various rhythmic breathing patterns significantly affect memory recall and the emotional body, due to the electrical impulses created by our brain which link physical functions to emotional reactions. The electrical responses in our brain vary depending on if we are inhaling, exhaling, breathing through the nose or breathing through the mouth. Mouth breathing is linked to shallow breathing and physical factors such as sleep apnea. Deep breathing is done through the nose. When we are breathing through the nose, we are more easily able to process fear and more readily able to recall images.

Our breath therefore, is a key factor if we want to manage our mind and negative emotions. If we find ourselves in a fearful situation, it is to our advantage to inhale through our nose to enable us to process information more rapidly and to be able to physically respond more quickly.
Gasping breath through an open mouth and holding on to it only makes any situation worse.

What are some benefits of learning to breathe better?

We can learn to breathe effectively to assist our mind from holding onto anger, guilt, regret, anxiety, and fear. This releases tension and stress that these emotions cause and therefore helps to harmonize the body, mind, and emotions. Other benefits of natural relaxed breathing also include more joy and enthusiasm, improved productivity and efficiency, improved self-esteem, enhanced health and general well-being, and improved interpersonal skills. Breath gives us life, and when our energy levels are raised we will feel healthier, more alert and energetic and our body will work more effectively to remove stress, tension, and toxins from our system.

Becoming aware of when we are stressed is the first step in doing something positive to alleviate the problem. The more we are aware of stress and the more we practice stress-reducing techniques, the healthier we will become. The same techniques will not work for everyone as we are all unique and process information differently. However, breathing works for everyone if we take the time to stop, relax and breathe to clear our mind.

What are some techniques to help me develop emotional intelligence?

There are many additional techniques, apart from breathing, that we can incorporate into our daily lives to help us regain control over our emotional and mental state at any given time.

If we find ourselves in a situation where we are beginning to experience some of the symptoms of stress, like an elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, anxiousness, tension in the body, etc. we can first look around at others to see if they are also stressed. If they are not, it could be a sign that we may be over-reacting to the situation. Realizing that the perceived threat is not real should allow our nervous system to immediately relax.

Often we can be alone, when anxious, so will need to find some other methods of returning to a balanced state where the body is functioning to its best ability to preserve our health and well-being.There are many options and they can be separated into groups based on the time it takes to achieve a harmonious state of being.

Aside from breathing alone, options using direct sensory input are the quickest at getting results. They involve using the sensations of touch, hearing, taste, smell, and vision. Something, like hugging your favorite stuffed toy or pet, smelling your favorite flowers or incense, listening to a favorite piece of music or the birds singing outside, eating a favorite food, or looking at a photo full of calming memories, can help to normalize the body’s systems to alleviate stress. Walking, swimming and gardening in a calm, relaxed, manner are very beneficial for some, as is a soothing movement like swinging in a hammock or stretching your body combined with slow deep relaxed breathing.

Other options can take a longer time to reduce stress but are beneficial because they can be more effective in the long term to strengthen the body and nervous system so that its ability to help itself is improved. These may include regular exercise, yoga, and meditation, engaging with nature or even having a regular catch up with friends where your problems can be shared. Solutions like these may not be possible or practical at the time of feeling stress but should be engaged in by everyone who wants to develop greater self-awareness and understanding.

Improve you emotional intelligence by practicing different techniques

Not everyone responds to all stimulus, in the same way, so try different techniques to see which method works best for you. A technique that works for you may not work for someone else. This can be seen by the different music people listen to. A favorite piece for someone may cause agitation in another person. Most people already use some stress reduction techniques and they may not even be aware that what they resort to automatically when under stress helps them cope. The key to success is finding the sensory experience or a combination of them that work best for you.

When agitated, because you are stuck in a traffic jam and late for an important meeting, it is not possible to do a yoga class to calm down, but it is possible to listen to calming music or engage in some deep relaxed breathing to help ease your mind. Viewing this time as a bonus will help you relax rather than being annoyed because you cannot be where you want to be at this moment. It is our perception of what is happening, our ‘belief’ that it is a ‘negative occurrence’ that will make it a negative experience. By practicing changing our mind, we can change what we previously saw as problems, to turn each situation, or event, into an opportunity.

Find the solutions that work best for you by practicing different techniques in different situations until you have methods of restoring your mind-body balance to a relaxed state quickly and efficiently. Our emotional state of being at any time can be like clouds in the sky. Maybe there is a full-on thunderstorm raging, or maybe the skies are filled with fluffy white clouds. Sit and watch the clouds (problems) floating past and do not get tied up in thinking about them. We can, with practice, rise above them to where the sky is clear for a better perspective on what is currently happening in our life.

Why are emotions so important? They teach us about ourselves

It is important for us to understand the significance of our emotions. They are messages that we give to ourselves- interpreting the world for us by telling us what we like and what we dislike, what we are interested in and what we fear, etc. By their very nature, emotions have been formed from our past experiences, so are more a window to what has shaped our life up to this moment rather than what is happening right at this moment.

An emotion that arises based on past fears may no longer be appropriate as it is due to old habits rather than the current experience. Allowing ourselves to experience emotions, analyze their current relevance and then responding accordingly is important if we wish to gain control over our body and mind and therefore any situation we are in. By asking ourselves, when aware of our emotional state, “what can I learn about myself in this situation?”we can use the information to make positive changes in our life.

We cannot survive without emotions. They can save our life, cause us to fall in love or inspire awesome creativity, as well as guide our everyday decision-making from moment to moment. They define us as individuals and allow us to communicate with others on a much deeper level than words alone can. When we can create connections with others without fear of judgment or punishment, our relationships will forever be strengthened.

As we become more conscious of our own emotions and learn how to work with them we will also become more aware of the nonverbal signals from others. This allows us to understand what they are experiencing emotionally, and to distinguish if what they are saying actually relates to how they are feeling. Self-awareness gives us the ability to be more truthful and to be able to discern the truth from others– therefore helping us to understand why others react to us as they do.

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“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior towards you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”

Yogi Bhajan

About Andrew

COMMENTS to Andrew

  1. This article is a good read as far as developing our emotional intelligence is concerned. And as shown, we are the ones who actually have to choose to change for ourselves.

    It is also true that the benefits of clear thinking can be achieved only by having a calm mind and relaxed body.
    In any case, if we have lost connection to the natural cycles of body, mind, and soul, it is our breath that can help us strengthen those vital links.
    So breathing takes a vital role for a proper balance of the body and mind.
    Thanks for sharing this useful information.

    All the best.

    1. Hi Phomrong. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that our breath is the link to finding balance in our body and mind. It’s incredible that more people are not aware of this, and even fewer people take full advantage of the benefits that learning to breathe properly can bring. Cheers,
      Andrew

  2. Great article. Thanks. It’s obvious that you are a passionate blogger not another money grabbing soul less affiliate linker.
    All the best.
    Claire

    1. Hi Claire. Many thanks for taking the time to read my article. I’m happy that you can see I am passionate about what I write. It does take a lot of time and effort to keep it up, so an income of some sort would also be great 🙂 Then I could spend more time writing more awesome content!
      Kind regards,Andrew

    1. Hi Greg. Thanks for taking the time to read my article. Breathing correctly is the most important act we can undertake to significantly improve our lives. Keep it up. Kind regards,
      Andrew

  3. Hi Andrew,

    I have social anxiety. Years ago I would have classified it as major, but now it’s more of a nuisance. I am actually agoraphobic and have been working on myself since I was 17 to change all of that. It has been a long, slow path, but helped a lot when I met my husband. He was so out-going and friendly it helped to ease me.

    A few years ago my son met his soon to be wife. He asked me how my husband did it…actually got someone like me to open up. His fiance also has social anxiety among other things. Your post is very informational for those who have not yet figured out how to deal with these types of issues on their own. For me it was do or die. I just didn’t want to let my fears overcome me.

    I just started by getting up, getting dressed and going to school. Over time I didn’t have to tell myself to do it, it just happened. With time I actually noticed that it wasn’t as much of a struggle. Breathing properly does really help with relaxation. When I do start going into a panic attack I hold my chest and it helps to smooth out my breathing and relaxes me.

    1. Many thanks for sharing your story, Chas. It is good to know that you have found some methods of reducing/relieving your anxiety. I am no expert but believe anxiety happens when we are focusing on things that ‘may’ happen in the future. A sure way around this is to use your breath, as you have discovered, to bring your attention back into the present moment. It is easier to deal with what is actually happening right now, as opposed to what we think is going to happen at a future time, as most of the fears we have regarding the future do not actually eventuate. I hope this helps. Kind regards,
      Andrew

  4. Thanks for this post. Your emotions are very important. Seeing as though I suffer depression, I know that keeping your emotions clear is very important. I still have to learn to take care of myself and have balance.

    Thanks for this.

    1. Hi Lane. I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from depression. You, more so than others would understand the power that emotions have is controlling our lives. If we are able to rise above those emotions that limit us or depress us, we will be able to live a more rewarding life on many levels. I hope you can use some of the information on my website to help you on your journey. Kind regards,
      Andrew

  5. Hello Andrew,
    As usual very informative article.
    I believe that breathing is a good solution for stress.
    Thank you for sharing
    Have a great time

    1. Hi Tahani. Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you found the article informative. I believe breathing is a good solution for everything in life. Cheers,
      Andrew

  6. Great article, really enjoyed it
    Very well written with plenty of information
    Thanks for sharing
    Cheers

  7. Another well written article, Andrew. I find this topic captivating.
    I’m not generally someone who suffers from anxiety, although I empathize with those who do. In my adult life I’ve become naturally more inclined to repel drama, I refuse to “Make up stories” and instead just ask the individual in question, “Hey — something seems off. What’s up?” I also don’t bog down my thoughts and feelings with, “what if’s” or bother having an opinion about things that don’t pertain to me. On paper this all seems well and good… but for some reason a few months back, I was feeling stressed for what was then an unknown reason. And typically I would be alone. I’ve never had trouble sleeping but this would happen at night when I laid down at night. Your statement, “Often we can be alone, when anxious, so will need to find some other methods of returning to a balanced state ..” made me think of those weeks. I went online and found peaceful scenic Images with quotes and I made a file on my phone. When I would start to feel this way I would open up the file and read through them.
    “Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it faith. Feed it truth. Feed it with love.”
    “Conquer from within”
    “Choose Joy”
    “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
    I would breathe deeply and it always seemed to help. Thanks so much for sharing this information, I also read Part One and encourage anyone who finds themselves on this page to do so as well.
    Keep up the good work!
    Courtney

    1. Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. You are walking the path to self-awareness. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that your problems will automatically disappear. However, it does mean that you are learning how to deal with your ‘perceived’ problems in more positive ways. I congratulate you for being brave enough to face yourself. As you travel further down the road, you will come to the understanding that: ‘you are not your problems,’ and then further along again you will realize that: ‘there are no problems.’ I hope this inspires you to keep searching. You already have all of the answers within yourself, but maybe you just need to do a little more digging 🙂
      With much love and respect,
      Andrew

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