4 Steps To Making Smarter Life Decisions

A healthy sense of self or a high emotional intelligence is key to reducing stress and improving our relationships.

Did you ever think back on some of the important decisions you made in your life and wonder ‘What was I thinking?’ Bad decisions and actions could be a result of a failure to use emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence  (EQ) is essentially the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and to effectively overcome various life challenges. Our emotional intelligence profoundly impacts our quality of life since it influences how we behave and the quality of our relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because self-awareness, as with EQ, enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.

Many of us move through life making important decisions based on our current circumstances, therefore limiting our options and solutions. Taking the time to reflect upon how we feel about our decisions and examining why we decide to do what we do enables us to lead lives that are determined by our conscious intentions rather than circumstances alone.

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Developing self-awareness or EQ can greatly influence success in life. Below are some ways in which you can cultivate and increase your EQ:  

1. Self-awareness. This is the ability to label, recognize, and understand your own emotions. Self-awareness requires us to tune in to our feelings and not avoid our negative emotions such as anxiety, fear and sadness. Recognizing our own emotional states and how they affect our thoughts, behaviors, and decisions is the key to cultivating self-awareness.

2. Emotional-regulation. Emotional-regulation has to do with our ability to control strong emotions by not acting on raw feelings in an impulsive or destructive manner. Developing the ability to sit with unpleasant feelings and to give our self the time and space to decide how we may alleviate or reduce negative feelings cultivates our ability to make thoughtful and intentional decisions. It also helps us develop the ability to consider various solutions to a particular situation rather than reacting solely from an emotionally charged state.

3. Empathy. When we empathize with others, we develop deeper and more intimate relationships. Empathy is the ability to recognize how and why people feel the way they do. Empathy allows us to anticipate how our actions and behaviors influence other people as well as our selves. Developing empathy skills enhances our experiences, relationships, and general understanding of our selves, other people, and the world around us.

4. Social skills. This is a very broad term. In general, having strong social skills means having the ability to communicate in a clear, concise, and courteous manner. In a nutshell, good social skills include the summation of all of the components of EQ, self-awareness, emotional-regulation, and empathy.

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What are your thoughts about EQ? Do you feel EQ is important? How do you think EQ can help improve your life and/or relationships?

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