Are you feeling overwhelmed with your duties at work? Are you feeling frustrated with your duties at home? Do you ever feel like there’s never enough time? Do you struggle to be at ease with yourself?
If this sounds like you, then you fall within 55% of the American population who face stress everyday. Being stressed is common and completely normal; however, being unable to cope with stress can prevent one from achieving a better quality of life.
There are various coping mechanisms used to deal with stress, but there is one method that can both decrease an individual’s stress levels while helping them build their unique personality.
That method is emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) is one’s ability to recognize and manage their own emotions and recognize the emotions of others.
There are 5 generally accepted categories of emotional intelligence:
How Can You Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?
In order to improve your EQ, you need to develop your skills in the 5 categories of Emotional Intelligence by using this strategy:
Dealing with stress in an emotionally intelligent way
Everyone likes to push their tasks back a few more days, waiting for inspiration to strike. However, a lot of times it never will, and then you’re left stressed out and forcing all the work into one sleepless night. You’re not procrastinating because you’re lazy, it’s because you want to avoid the inevitable stress and discomfort of doing the work until you absolutely have to face it. The key to solving this is to be realistic with yourself. Make a plan in advance; you’ll benefit from setting time limits in which you can actually finish the task with short breaks in between (Don't cheat! Take the break!). You might find it helpful to make a checklist for the smallest aspect of the task so you have a visual representation of your progress.
This is part of the process
A trait of emotionally intelligent people is accepting their emotions in their true form and embracing them. Practicing this gets you out of the «fight or flight» mode of stress and allows you to navigate with clarity. An important first step is being able to name the feeling. The way you word this is also important, instead of «I feel ____» opt for « A part of me feels ____». This helps your mind view the emotion as manageable and contained rather than overwhelming. Always remember that you are not alone in any feeling, and regardless of how unpleasant it is, it will always pass.
How you talk to yourself matters
Research shows that even plants grow better from positive affirmations. Why do you deserve anything less? Positive thinking boosts your self-esteem which leads not only to internal peace, but also self-confidence which your friends and colleagues will definitely notice. Next time you think about trash-talking yourself for missing that deadline, ask yourself this, “Would I talk to someone else like this?”
Gratitude is a practice raved about by many who specialize in emotional intelligence. Gratitude brings nothing but benefits. It encourages a practice of positivity, self-reflection, and clarity in your values. This is crucial in stressful times since they require us to remember the good parts of life and that the current storm is truly nothing more than a cloud in the grand scheme of things.
Doing tasks that you enjoy is the secret sauce for preventing burn out. If you’re tackling crisis after crisis without taking time for yourself, burn out is inevitable. So get out there, spend time with your family, cook, dance, and do whatever keeps your boat afloat. Don’t forget to separate your professional life from your personal life as much as possible. One of the places to start is in your bed. Keep that space for sleep and relaxation. Once you mix relaxation and work together, your mind will have a harder time separating the two, resulting in a worse night's sleep, which leads to, you guessed it, more stress.
Improving your EQ helps develop your communication skills, reduce your stress, conquer conflicts, and effectively overcome life’s challenges. Through this process, an individual is able to build a unique personality by growing both professionally and personally.
Written by the Chatterboss interns: