How To Become More Emotionally Intelligent (And Why It'll Help You In Your Life & Relationships)

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how to become more emotionally intelligent

In order to be emotionally intelligent, you must first have emotional awareness. Becoming emotionally aware requires you to be present in your body. And a big challenge of being present in your body is that uncomfortable feelings can surface.

How can you be present with your body if you are stuck in a story in your head about life, love or any situation?

When something challenging comes up in your life, it is easy to start over-analyzing. But doing this puts your body in a tense state. This leaves no room for "expansive thinking" and you start "spinning out" in your head.

Life brings many challenges, but spinning out in your head and playing the same thoughts in your mind repeatedly only creates more stress and drama. 

When faced with life challenges, stop or slow down and be present with your feelings.

Many of us run from our feelings. Our emotional intelligence is not fully developed. For most of us, it's scary to feel our uncomfortable feelings, so we stay stuck in our heads, convincing ourselves how horrible a certain situation is, even making it worse than it is.

We become over emotional. If you want to experience your body as your temple, you need to embrace your full potential as a woman and lead your life from a place of love and empowerment, then catching yourself and recognizing when you're spinning out in your head.

Become aware of when you are shutting yourself off from feeling emotions that aren't necessarily fun to feel. Don’t run from them. You can run, but you can’t hide from your emotions. They don’t go away.

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It's also critical that you understand the differences between emotions and feelings.

Despite the fact that most of us use the words "feelings" and "emotions" interchangeably, these two are actually different from one another.

Feelings are a result of your emotions. Emotions are a construct of the mind. They come from how you perceive things. Emotions are triggered by our thought processes and belief systems.

Your emotions, in response to life and the world around you, form feelings. Feelings are not as long-lasting. They come and go.

Emotions involve changing your beliefs, perceptions, and how you think about things. Therefore emotions can last longer and in a sense become chronic if you're not willing to look at your beliefs and change your perceptions, especially if these beliefs are limiting your full potential.

Feelings and emotions — whether they are good or bad — have a tremendous amount of life force and energy in them. Your feelings and emotions can create both good and bad things in your life depending upon how you navigate them, consciously or unconsciously. That's why becoming emotionally aware is so important.

To become emotionally aware and it's important to understand the different types of emotions and feelings you can experience.

There is a vast range of emotions and feelings: 

  • Sad
  • Mad
  • Glad
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Numb

If you become familiar with these six words, you'll be able to better identify and master your emotions. This is the first step in becoming emotionally aware... be familiar with the types.

In moments when you feel uncomfortable, notice that discomfort and attempt to recognize what feeling or feelings are causing it.

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You can make it simple by narrowing those feelings down to one or more of these six primary types of feelings. Getting in touch with these core feelings, acknowledging them and experiencing the feeling in your body is important.

The next step is dealing with your emotions constructively, so they support your empowerment.

Here are 6 ways to become more emotionally aware that will help you in your life and relationships:

1. Feel past the numbness.

Numb isn't actually a feeling, but it's how we cope with stressful situations. When you are numb, you don’t feel anything. You are walled off from your body, power, and aliveness. Though it is, in a sense, void of feeling, I include it as a feeling in the list.

As a culture, we have become fine artisans of avoiding our uncomfortable feelings. Our society is set up to support not feeling our feelings. In life, uncomfortable feelings arise. It is normal. It is natural. However, starting when we were children, most of us weren't allowed to nor did we learn how to feel our feelings in a productive way.

That is why people turn to things like overeating, over-drinking, overworking, over-shopping, over-sexting, over-cleaning, over-gambling, and more. We all have these traits. They are our mechanisms to quell or sooth those uncomfortable feelings.

2. Don't stay shut off from your feelings.

You can stay up in your head all your life and not know it. You can let your thoughts and emotions control you instead of you controlling them. If you want to empower yourself and lead your life from a place of love, then you need tools to manage uncomfortable feelings. You need to become emotionally

Otherwise, you'll continue to stay shut off from your body through avoiding your feelings, building armor or creating a fortress to keep you from the joy and juiciness everyday life has to offer. Your relationships will suffer and you'll feel a lack of connection with others. You'll miss out on experiencing the full depth of sensual pleasure you are capable of as a woman.

Finding the joy and sensual juiciness of everyday life and in intimate relationships is where the gold is! This armor also hinders overall good health, both physically and emotionally. Becoming emotionally aware is critically important.

3. Know that having bad feelings is okay and normal.

When we were children and got upset, many of us were told, "Don’t feel bad." Have you ever noticed a parent saying that to a child? Or have you said that to your own child, a friend, or your partner? It is from a place of compassion that we don’t want our loved ones to feel bad.

However, allowing them to feel their feelings is a better way to support them. Helping them feel their uncomfortable feelings and not making them wrong is a transformational experience that can help others and yourself.

Early in life, we learn to stuff or shut off our bad feelings. We received messages that bad feelings were just that, bad. In truth, bad feelings are guideposts to help us understand ourselves, and a way for us to open to love. In life, uncomfortable feelings will arise.

It is normal. It is natural. It's taken me many years to not buy into my programming and to manage these feelings in a positive way. I experienced them so intensely; I had a bit of a drama queen in me. Instead of feeling the feeling, I would overreact, making a mountain out of a molehill.

4. Realize that uncomfortable feelings are natural. 

Whether you are a drama queen or not, uncomfortable feelings are natural. It's important to know how to manage them in a productive way. Otherwise, you become lifeless, resentful, depressed or shutdown. You develop chronic illnesses or gain weight. Maybe you start feeling stuck in your life. And then you become disconnected from your inner guidance.

You don’t have to live that way. There is a better way. Understanding, honoring and productively dealing with your uncomfortable feelings is the better way.

Learning how to emotionally take care of yourself is a must. If you don’t, these feelings become fodder for making you feel lifeless. Having tools to navigate your uncomfortable feelings is necessary if you want to feel love in your heart and joy in your life.

5. Give yourself permission to feel.

The first tool is to allow the feelings. Don’t make them wrong. Fear of "feeling the feeling" or being judgmental about the feeling will magnify it and make it worse. Do you deny your uncomfortable feeling by saying to yourself, "I shouldn't feel this way"?

We haven’t learned how to honor our feelings. That's why we often keep these feelings bottled up inside. Think of a time when you’ve felt bad and someone asked you, "What’s wrong?" Was your response, "I’m fine"? You were stuffing the feeling. The statement “I’m fine” is usually a sign that you are walking down the road towards lifelessness in your body.

It is better out than in with these uncomfortable feelings. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to hold your feelings inside, and over time, they will rob you of your aliveness.

The trick is to let your feelings out in a way that will enhance your life and not sabotage it. This will create deeper connections with others. It will open your heart instead of putting it on a chopping block.

Understand that your uncomfortable feelings don’t go away by avoiding them or keeping them under control. Instead, they'll come out sideways in what I call the "Three D’s": disease, drama, and depression. You could even add disaster.

6. Transform your feelings by truly feeling them. 

If you are willing to become emotionally aware of feeling your feelings and being present with them, you can transform them. Under an uncomfortable feeling is valuable information for you, information that will empower you. When you bring more consciousness to your feelings, they can guide you in a positive way to create positive outcomes in your life.

If you avoid your feelings, they'll run your life in unconscious ways, create disharmony, and sabotage your relationships, happiness, and general well-being.

Feelings arise for valid reasons. It is important to acknowledge them and know how to take care of yourself when they arise. They're a powerful force and source of energy in your body that, when managed in a productive way, can immediately bring more vitality into your body.

Imagine all the feelings you have pushed down, bottled up or put a lid on. Imagine how much energy your body wastes to keep them inside.

Repressed feelings kill us over time. They rob us of our life force. They disempower us. Imagine letting them rise to the surface instead of pushing them down. Give them your undivided attention, presence, and compassion. Give them a heart-centered voice. I can show you how.

RELATED: 5 Practical Ways To Majorly Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Anna-Thea is an intimacy coach. She teaches women how to navigate their emotions in a positive way, giving them tools for greater body awareness and good communication. If this article resonated with you and you would like to learn about becoming more emotionally aware and emotionally empowered check out her online courses.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.