Let’s talk about Emotional Intelligence
“Hi-guys-welcome-back-to-my-channel”… (lol I hope you get the reference, if not don’t mind me please).
I will try to keep this short because I wouldn’t want to bore you into closing it halfway. So, let’s get to it.
I recently took an online course on Emotional Intelligence 60% because I was interested in the topic, 40% because it was free and now that I’m done, I would like to share some of the things I have learned.
Well first of all, what does Emotional Intelligence (EI) even mean?
EI is simply known as the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others. It also can be explained as the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and judiciously. You get now? I hope so.
But beyond this surface explanation though, scientists have discovered that the size of the brain can change to improve one’s EI, this phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity (brain plasticity). Neuroplasticity (NP) is the ability of the brain to change/adapt/adjust both physically, functionally and chemically by stimulation from our environment, behavior, thinking, habits and other physical elements. Simply put, you have the ability to rewire your brain, we are not talking about thoughts, we are talking about changing the actual chemistry and physical state of the brain. The cool thing about this is that it doesn’t matter how old one is, you can increase your NP i.e. this growth is not restricted to children alone although they are more at an advantage (part of the reason why it’s easier for kids to learn a new language with good practice)
Why do you need NP and EI anyway?
To mention a few;
• NP enables people recover from many illnesses like stroke, depression, addiction, OCD, mental illness (except if genetic) and so on.
• EI can help improve one’s social skills i.e. how you interact with other people in gatherings, create & maintain good relationships… you know, stuff like that.
• EI can help improve one’s concentration and focus.
• EI improves mental wellness and most importantly boosts NP.
What can you do to help yourself?
while we practice one activity on a consistent basis, neuronal circuits are being formed, leading to better ability to perform the practiced task with less waste of energy. Once we stop practicing a certain activity, the brain will redirect these neuronal circuits by a much known ‘use it or lose it’ principle.- Louay El Charif
There are habits one can engage in to improve one’s EI, they include:
• Exercise: (hold up lol don’t roll your eyes) I’ll just give it to you straight, it is said that when you exercise, you release chemicals; endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine, these chemicals plays important roles in regulating the mood. The body and mind are inter-connected and so when there’s physical well-being, mental well-being will follow, it’s more likely.
• Meditation: this habit prevents brain cells from dying, it boosts one’s brain size in several crucial regions and makes one more intelligent. Let me just let you know right now that this is not an easy exercise, staying in a spot and being almost if not completely thoughtless, in this Nigeria? when there are a million things to worry and think about, hmmm… but then maybe it’s just me and this is a very important reason why one should meditate, to make sure that one stays sane and not overthink because there are just so many things. I’ll keep trying and practicing though, I’ll get it right, you should give it a shot too. PS: if you don’t know where or how to start, you can check out the channel ‘Jbittersweet’ on YouTube, might help.
• Affirmations: just like we build habits by repeating an action until it becomes ‘automatic’, we can use strong, assertive languages over time to create a lasting change in our lives. I mean, what good ever comes out of talking or thinking hurtful and negative thoughts anyway.
• Introspection: this means being aware of one’s emotions, problems, feelings at a particular period of time. What exactly made you upset? Who ignored your message? What made your day? Analyze the situation, self-talk and breathe your way out of it, this will not let you make decisions based on how you are currently feeling, rather it enables logical decision making. It’s not easy though but it’s worth a shot. Pause, breathe, think, act.
• Gratitude: although this is a sub-set of meditation, it is equally important to be grateful for the little things you have at the moment. Good health, your bed, food, your friends and family, etc. more will come but if you don’t appreciate the ones you have now… you know the rest. Just take a moment to say thank you.
Things to avoid while trying to improve your EI
• Dedication to useless tasks
• Materialistic joy (well I beg to differ if the material here is money, the joy that comes with credit alert…)
• Avoid too much artificial sugar, eat more fruits, drink more water.
I’ll stop here for now, there are many other habits one can practice to improve one’s EI but then I’m not trying to write a textbook so- but I can recommend a few.
Some books by real professionals on the subject matter that you can check out:
• Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Coleman)
• Go Suck A Lemon (Michael Cornwall)
• The Emotional Intelligence Quick book (Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves)
• The Language of Emotional Intelligence (Jeanne Segal)
EI is a broooaadd subject and this write up does not even cover half of it, a girl can only try to summarize what she knows. So, that’s that.
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If you are one of the special people who just scrolled down to see where it ends or to check out what book I’ve been reading, well here we go;
1. On Black Sisters Street (Chika Unigwe):
Follows the stories of 5 women and the unfortunate circumstances they each encountered which led them out of Nigeria through crooked means, how they landed in Zwartezusterstraat, Belgium and have to ‘work’ to pay off their debt to regain their freedom. The death of Sisi and how this was an eye-opener for the rest of ladies in the business, they only had each other. The ending of this story weirded me out though, it felt incomplete, kind of like that feeling Chimamanda N. Adichie left us with when she wouldn’t tell us what happened to Kainene at the end of ‘half of a yellow sun’. Got to know it was a true life story at the end, which makes it even sadder because there are a lot of girls living this reality, girls who think all is lost till they meet the ‘big madam’ or the ‘sure uncle’ who would give them a way out and then they would naively agree because they feel there’s no better option in view.
2. Unfu*k Yourself (Gary John Bishop):
Get out of your head and into your life. Non-fiction, coincidentally similar to the EI course I was taking at the time, like a shorter written version of it and I didn’t even know this before I opened it, so imagine my surprise when I saw something about ‘neuroplasticity’ while reading through. So yep, you can pretty much decipher what the book’s about; self-personal development, importance of affirmations and how it aids NP, etc.
And so that brings me to the end of this chapter, if you made it, thank you.. gracias.. avo.. etc. Stay safe and wash your hands.