The Smartest Way To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

EI, now, don’t confuse this with AI (Artificial Intelligence). OK Google, you can stop reading this and storing my useless-data in a cloud somewhere. Although, if you are looking at my web-browser history, I apologise for asking if Africa was a country *insert blonde emoji*.

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EI stands for Emotional Intelligence. The dictionary defines EI as,

“The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong. In a world full of, “You should feel free to express your emotions” paired with, “Well you don’t want to express them too much”. And, “Try to be more empathetic” but “Also be assertive, so you get what you want”.

It’s a confusing time we live in, and it’s no wonder you struggle to understand how you should react emotionally in situations, because the advice we are given is conflicting.

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However, one thing is sure– as long as you’re are aware of how you emotionally respond to environmental triggers, this will help you in the workplace and life in general.

For example, the other day I ordered sweet potato fries with *extra* aioli to takeaway. I got home, and the aioli was nowhere to be seen. I threw myself on to the floor, kicking and screaming like a four-year-old who doesn’t want to eat their broccoli (I don’t blame you, kid).

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I picked up the phone, about to dial 000 to report this crime to the police, when my mum interrupted and suggested that I may have been slightly overreacting.

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I had been craving aioli all day, even opting for extra so I could basque in all its fattening-calorific glory.

Because this thought consumed me, I couldn’t see past the mistake. I wasn’t able to think straight– well, obviously as I wanted to report missing aioli to the police. I was irrational, and my anguish led to heightened emotions.

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Now, I’m sure you’re like, why is this chick telling me an irrelevant story about aioli and first of all, stories about aioli are never IRRELEVANT!

It’s because this serves as an analogy for how our EI can be compromised when faced with stressful situations (e.g. forgotten aioli). Sometimes we are unable to process our emotions, which can lead to reacting illogically.

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This is especially important in workplace contexts. If you’ve ever experienced a highly stressful situation at work, and you’re unable to control your emotions– you’re not alone. How we respond to these circumstances is telling of our emotional intelligence.

Have you ever seen someone deal with a stressful situation with ease? Side-note: You’re putting the rest of us not-cool-calm-and-collected people to shame. Please stop.

Sincerely– anxiety-ridden people everywhere.

However, the reason they can navigate confrontation, conflict or difficult situations is that they are emotionally intelligent.

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The best part about this, though, is that we can improve our emotional intelligence. Front and Centre’s Director, Cameron Read, explains how:

“Firstly it’s about self-awareness. This is the ability to understand how you think and feel in any given situation. People with good EI, understand how those thoughts and feelings result or react in the way you respond to that situation. Therefore, understanding the impact on their environment and others around them.” 

“And secondly, self-regulation. This is how someone regulates their response to a situation. Thus, choosing the way, one appropriately responds to environmental triggers. How can we do this? Remove reactive or impulsive responses.” 

Now, go forth and conquer your EI! And if there’s anything you’ve learned from this article let to be this– if you don’t receive aioli don’t call 000. Oh, and Africa is a continent. 

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