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Emotional Intelligence Will Make You Happier - Here’s How To Get Some

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How To Improve Emotional Intelligence By Controlling Thoughts & Negative Emotions
Self, Health And Wellness

Emotional intelligence will set you free.

Want to feel more in control in your life? Learn why you do what you do? Why you act the way you act? It’s all rooted in your level of emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

According to Oxford Dictionary, the emotional intelligence definition is: “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Taking control of your own emotions, and learning how to improve your emotional intelligence, can lead you to a lifetime of happiness. But how do you do it?

RELATED: What Is Emotional Intelligence? Why Knowing Your EQ Is So Important For Love & Relationships

Here’s how to improve your emotional intelligence so that you can find more happiness in your life:

1. Learn how to control your thoughts

Our thoughts play a huge role in our level of emotional intelligence and empowerment, which is known as the ‘thought model.’

The thought model does a magnificent job of clearly laying out, in black and white, how the thoughts we’re focusing on impact every aspect of our lives. This a crucial piece of emotional intelligence: understanding that we feel what we feel because of the thoughts we’re focusing on.

2. Let yourself feel all of your emotions

The other crucial piece of emotional intelligence is allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions that life sends our way. Not just the happy, “easy-to-feel-emotions,” but also the more difficult emotions of disappointment, sadness, regret, or fear.

The point in life is actually not to feel happy all the time. In fact, “feeling happy” or the quest to be happy shouldn’t be your biggest goal.  Why? If you are only looking to feel happy, then you may not push yourself to do more in life.

Some of my scariest and most uncomfortable experiences in life, like starting a business, having kids, and finding love, have given me the most happiness in the end.

3. Embrace your emotions

People are meant to be emotional beings, and should embrace all of their emotions in order to live a fully-expressed life. In the same way that we can not paint a picture only using one or two colors, we can not live a fully experienced life when we’re only appreciating or giving value to the happy, feel good emotions.

I like how Dr. Todd Kashdan puts it: “Live your life in a way that you try to be present in the moment with a mindset of curiosity pursuing life, pursuing what matters most to you, and on the way of doing that sometimes you’ll be happy, sometimes you won’t.”

4. Understand that you won’t always feel happy

We’re not always going to feel happy; and that’s okay! Imagine a waiter at a party walking around with a tray of emotions instead of hors d’oeuvres. Our instinct is to only pick the good and juicy ones.

Yet, realize how there are many times in life when happy is not the emotion you would choose. If you were always happy, it would be strange during sad moments or painful experiences, right? If someone dies or if your friend is struggling, happy is not the emotion that you would choose.

Once we realize that we don’t want to feel happy all the time, we can also see how a good portion of life is not spent in happy, blissful feeling states. In fact, we spend a significant portion of our lives experiencing negative or difficult emotions. This is normal and this is part of human life.

RELATED: How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? Let This Personality Test Figure It Out!

5. Stop resisting your negative emotions

It is not the feeling of difficult emotions that causes us problems, it’s the resistance to feeling them. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t be scared/angry/sad/disappointed over a situation. Sometimes, we get so scared that we can’t handle a certain emotion that, instead of feeling it, we push it away and resist it.

How do we resist it? Over-shopping, over-eating, over-drinking, over-complaining, over-working, and blaming others for our emotions. You can notice if you’re resisting emotions by your actions. If you are reacting to a situation by yelling, eating, shopping, procrastinating, or over-sleeping, you may be resisting feeling your emotions.

So, how can you learn how to accept your emotions instead of avoiding them?

How to accept your emotions:

1. Understand that you can’t always be happy

Our feelings come from our thoughts. When we first realize the power our thoughts have, we often jump right to the “let’s have happy thoughts” place in our life. If we only think happy thoughts, then we’ll only feel happy. We don’t live in a bubble.

2. View your emotions as gifts

When I view my emotions as gifts showing me what I can work on or where I get to grow, I accept my feelings as helpers on this path of life. In fact, when I look at the awesome things in my life now, they all began with a difficult or negative emotion.

My decision to leave my marriage, my decision to start my business, my decision to begin dating again, and my decision to re-define my relationship with my biological family. I felt difficult emotions at first and then, boom! Growth and bliss!

3. Allow more emotions into your life

So many amazing things come from allowing ourselves to feel the more difficult, negative emotions, so I encourage you to allow more into your life. Not only will you rid yourself of the damaging language “I shouldn’t be feeling this way,” but you continue to evolve into that next best version of yourself. “Discomfort is the currency of our dreams”.

RELATED: 10 Irresistible Traits Emotionally Intelligent People Have

How to process your emotions:

1. Resist resisting your emotions

Once we accept that we are going to experience many difficult emotions during our time on earth, we can move past resisting them and into the “how to process emotions” stage. This is crucial work because depression is caused by suppressing your emotions. When you resist feeling emotions, you create so much drama in your life.

When you allow yourself to feel, physically feel, your feeling, the feeling will pass. Emotions are energy in motion. Simply put, there is an energy in your body that needs to be processed. We can see little kids processing their emotions every day.

They might cry, rage, or get really quiet. At some point they were taught to keep that inside, which can be the beginning of other damaging behaviors like over-drinking, blaming others, and over-shopping.

2. Embrace the discomfort of feeling your emotions

Yes, you might feel uncomfortable as you process the emotion but I assure you that you are physically able to process any emotion. And, that it will pass. It is only when we suppress our emotions that we run into trouble.

We end up feeling a piece of our emotions over and over without moving through it; which isn’t helpful. When we allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, we enter a new calming and peaceful way of being.

3. Use tools to help you process your emotions

How do we process our emotions? There are many tools like journaling, meditating, and working with a coach. These tools all allow you to follow this same path:

1) Name it

Name your feeling. Name your emotion. A feeling is one word. When we put a word to what we’re feeling we begin to process the energy of the emotion through us. Examples include: “I feel disappointed”, “I feel threatened”, “I feel lonely.”

2) Describe it

What does your feeling feel like in your body? Feelings are energy in motion and are physical sensations in your body. Where do you feel it in your body? Does it feel hot or cold? Sharp or soft? Do you feel short of breath? Nauseous? The more specific, the better.

3) Allow it

Keep your mind on the physical feeling. Breathe. The feeling will pass, usually within 90 seconds. Stronger emotions are less comfortable to feel but don’t jump off the wave mid-stream. You can handle any emotion or feeling that comes your way.

Each of these steps is equally important and I urge you move through all three steps. As a whole, we spend an awful lot of time and energy avoiding our feelings. I assure you it’s actually easier to feel the darn things than to spend all this time avoiding them. To illustrate this point, imagine your emotions as a beach ball.

Close your eyes and imagine how easy it is to hold the beach ball above the water. This is what it feels like when you’ve developed your emotional intelligence and are able to process your emotions. Now imagine holding that beach ball under the water.

This is what we’re doing when we avoid feeling our emotions. Think of the energy you use as you push against the ball. When you finally allow the ball to surface, it comes up forcefully and with a bigger splash the longer you hold it under.

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The same is true when you allow yourself to be sad or angry or disappointed. If you resist those emotions for a long time, they will come out of you explosively and without much control. When you begin to practice releasing your emotions you will feel a deep sense of release and calm.

Start your  week with an open mind to feel what you’re going to feel.

Notice when you do things to avoid feeling what you’re feeling (shopping, eating, blaming others, etc.)

Be kind to yourself as you observe what you’re feeling and how you manage your feelings. Depending on your age, you’ve had a lot of years to program yourself on how to process or not process your emotions.

This week, put on your detective cap and look at your tendencies. So much of life is learning and looking. I like to remind myself that my feelings are here to teach me something and that “nothing has gone wrong here”. It is normal for us to feel a wide range of emotions.

We create drama in our lives when we resist feeling our feelings. Treat yourself kindly and with compassion.

RELATED: If You Do These 9 Things, You're In Complete Control Of Your Emotions

Susie Barolo is a mindfulness-based cognitive coach who aims to help women in their lives and relationships. Find more of her inspirational content and life coaching by visiting her on Twitter

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

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