Emotional IQ is a hot topic and big buzzword, for good reason. Feelings matter! Lets get really honest, how well do you identify feelings? Can you notice them well in your partner or friends and colleagues? Do you have the ability to perceive feelings in yourself? How do you respond to others feelings and to your own? Meaning do you push them down or maybe you are on the opposite side if this spectrum and instead of holding them in, perhaps you overshare and let them out everywhere? Therapists and Counselors are usually rather masterful at honing in on others feelings, we often assess a persons primary emotions, which are fear, anger, sadness, and happiness. Then examine the deeper layer of secondary emotions, which means, what emotions are exhibited for having the primary emotions? For instance if you notice you are angry, do you then lapse into guilt for that? That would then form a feeling constellation which can be a web to disentangle and sometimes a source of anxiety and depression. It is said that for some women especially, depression is anger turned inward, it is especially taboo for women to express anger, culturally we make some space for men to express this emotion.
Furthermore, when learning about feelings counselors can also analyze meta- emotion, which means how does a given person feel about feelings in general. Tongue twister right? For instance, how much does a person exhibit comfort in having an emotionally fueled dialogue? Do you generally believe emotions have little significance and should be pushed away or do you appreciate your emotional state and tend to make decisions based on them? We also know that the more we seek to repress emotions, the more we end up injuring ourselves, according to good old, Sigmund Freud, the more we repress a thought or feeling, the more it will come out in even bigger ways. Which emotions when exhibited are triggering to you? All of these answers are vital to forming an understanding of yourself and the world of others around, they will be important to recognize if you’re going to have success in any relationship.
Some recommended exercises to enhance emotional awareness or emotional IQ are to check in with yourself a few times a day, possibly by setting an alarm on your phone. At 5 different intervals through the day, note which emotions are coming up for you, for some it will be best to focus first on identifying the primary emotions? Also, where do you notice those sensations in your body, for example, anger is sometimes felt in the head, sadness in the chest, and grief in the stomach. These can be very variable depending on the person. Start to notice what you feel, being mindful and suspending judgement of your emotional state. The first step is always to recognize. Identification is enough but later, you may also start to pay attention to any emotions that come up as a result of the initial feeling, the emotional constellation, for instance when feeling anger, do you then observe guilt for feeling angry, and then even deeper shame. Usually, in our happiness obsessed culture, we don’t attach as much guilt or fear with joy, but some people do feel guilt for experiencing happiness. Think about it, think about you, in all of your feeling states.
Take Away Learning Points
- To further enhance your emotional IQ, it is also good practice to start to think about what each of the above emotions feels like, where do you notices its sensation in your physical body and what feelings accompany it.
- The primary emotions are anger, sadness, happiness, and fear.
- Primary emotions can trigger secondary emotions and create feeling constellations.
- Emotions are important and the more we repress them the more they emerge in less healthy ways.
If you want to work on emotional IQ, Counseling can help!