Do we have a choice when it comes to emotions? Do we have an option to not feel them? Whether we choose to express or repress, the fact remains unchanged that humans are persistently and incessantly feeling emotions, and sometimes more than one emotion at a time. Then how do we manage emotions to the point where they remain healthy?
The simple answer is ’emotional intelligence’. It helps us better manage our emotions. To put it simply, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as that of others.
Let’s take a quick look at the different techniques that you can adopt to manage your emotions intelligently.
- Practice self-awareness: It gives a lot of clarity when we resort to solitude at times, talk to ourselves with no interference from the outside world or technology. Self-awareness comes by asking certain important questions to ourselves like ‘what emotions am I feeling?’, ‘why am I feeling these emotions?’, ‘how is it going to affect me?’, ‘how is it going to affect others?’ and ‘how can I modify it?’ or ‘what can I do to feel better’?
- Accept your emotions unconditionally: Manage your emotions by being aware of them in the first place. Know they exist and know there is a reason for their existence. Do not under any circumstance deny or ignore your emotions. Acceptance of emotion as they are is an essential step towards its management.
- Channel your emotions well: Give your emotions an outlet. Talk to someone, write them down, consult a professional or simply go shopping or exercise and vent them out. It is not advisable to bottle up emotions.
- Understand other’s emotions: Emotional Intelligence is also about understanding other’s emotions appropriately and knowing where they are coming from. It is about knowing their value systems, experiences, fears and their capacity to handle their own emotions. The keys are to praise often, empathize, learning to apologize, learning to forgive and forget and offering help.
- Think before responding: Take a pause every time before you feel a compulsive need to respond. This pause will help you assess the consequences of your response and hence put them forward constructively later.
- Understand when your emotions are hijacked: Sometimes emotions can get overwhelming and take over your ability to reason and capacity to think clearly. It is at those times that your emotions hijack you and stop you from seeing past manipulations or clouded judgment. Manage your emotions by identifying your emotional triggers and know when they hijack your brain.
- Give constructive feedback: Emotional Intelligence is not about criticizing but giving constructive feedback to benefit the other person.
- Accept criticism constructively: Accepting criticism and failure, not as something humiliating rather as feedback helps. It gives you the scope of improving yourself and gets you a step ahead of yourself every time you are criticized.
- Invest emotions in what you value: Emotions are investments of time, effort and energy. Make sure you are parsimonious enough to have the discretion of where, when and whom to invest emotions on. Invest them only on things and people who you value and who value you as well.
- Engage in problem-solving: If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Know that problems are incessant, and you can never have full control over them. Hence a solution-focused approach helps in the face of problems.
Do not let emotions conquer you, rather work on conquering your emotions. Remember, there are no such things as good or bad emotions, there are only good or bad reactions to emotions. Keep in mind that, flexibility and adaptability to change are the best ways to manage your emotions.