Emotional intelligence: feel with your head
One learns to be empathic; one is not born with that quality, but one is educated for it. There are several ways to achieve it and they are simpler than we might think. It is not difficult to get them started and the benefits we get are great. Are you ready to arouse your emotional intelligence?
The power of active listening
According to the Cognitive and Affective Social Neuroscience Laboratory at Harvard University, in 60% of our conversations we talk only about ourselves, and when others speak to us, our minds are busy thinking about what to answer. However, practising listening is one of the qualities that people who work their emotional intelligence have, because it has to be worked on, it is not a gift, we can all do it and there are methods for it. For instance, thinking of the response we are going to give the person we are talking to once they have finished speaking and taking some time right after we have listened to think our answer.
Another formula that also works is to paraphrase what we have heard so that the person with whom we are talking sees that we have paid attention to their words. And most importantly, remember to resist the urge to interrupt; a conversation is not an attack, we do not have to defend ourselves.
Our gestures or positions often say more than the words we utter. Non-verbal language offers more information than we imagine and is something we must look after, both to be a good speaker and to be a good listener. Practising active listening also requires controlling our body. We should lean slightly forward, make eye contact and give occasional assent to the speaker to show that we are interested in what they are saying. We must not cross our arms or cover our faces with our hands.
The good thing about practising active listening is that it makes us more attractive and people will be much more open to us, breaking the barriers and feeling that they can trust us.
"Non-verbal language offers more information than we imagine"
Bid farewell to prejudices
As a rule, we relate to people who have similar ideas to ours and discard those who think differently. But with this attitude, what we are doing is impoverishing ourselves, we do not leave our comfort zone out of fear and we invent a series of prejudices about what is different from what we are, which prevents us from seeing other points of view that are essential for growth. There is an exercise that can help us a lot and that is to meet someone different from us and hold a conversation using active listening. It is more than likely that in the end you discover that there are not so many differences between you and that your view of life is interesting.
More self-control to face the day-to-day
Anger does not lead us anywhere. The more we show our anger, the more reasons we create for ourselves to defend that feeling. Benjamin Franklin said that "there is always reason to be angry, but these are seldom good." The point is to distinguish them. So how should we behave with anger? Or better still, what can we do to not get angry? The answer is self-control, the ability to master oneself. Emotional self-control makes us more socially competent, more entrepreneurial, and more capable of coping with the frustrations of life.
But the worst thing is that sometimes that uncontrollable anger makes us sad, a negative state that does not have to be always bad. For example, it is good when it forces us to re-create an emotional recomposition, as can be the case of a sentimental break: at first you are sad, but little by little that feeling fades so that new illusions, chores, or friendships take the place in which melancholy reigned. But "bad" sadness, which we cannot afford, is what leads to depression and damages the mental and physical health of the sufferer. Of all the measures, forms and even medicines that are available to treat depressions, the most powerful is the cognitive therapy to modify thought patterns. What we can call emotional education that teaches the patient to relativise the thoughts that took them to the dark side of life.
"Emotional self-control makes us more socially competent"
When we try to control our impulses, when we regulate moods, when we motivate ourselves, we are creating the most powerful tool to deal with the setbacks that life brings, demonstrating the great power of emotions as guides that determine the effectiveness of our efforts.