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5 Ways to Grow Your Emotional Intelligence

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written by Lori Jo Vest
Have you ever heard the term Emotional Intelligence? Also referred to as “EQ,” simply defined, it means “being smart with feelings so you can develop optimal relationships with yourself and others.” This EQ concept first came to light in 1995, when Daniel Goleman wrote his book Emotional Intelligence. While it’s most often discussed as a tool to improve business relationships between colleagues, it’s a viable skill that could help you successfully navigate just about any situation in your life, including managing incontinence.Ways to measure success in life vary, though they include ability to achieve results, physical health, personal support, stress management, and life satisfaction. Research shows that traditional intelligence measurements (known as IQ) can only impact about 20% of a person’s “success” in life. Emotional intelligence (EQ) meanwhile, proves to be a powerful influence toward someone’s success in life, accounting for an additional 54% of success, depending on how it’s measured. If you have high levels of EQ, you’re more likely to possess the following traits:
Self-awareness, which means you:

  • Recognize and appropriately express emotion
  • Recognize choices and reactions

Self-management, which means you:
  • Learn from, and transform, your feelings
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of certain choices (before making them)
  • Identify several options you may have in any particular situation
  • Create your own internal energy and drive

Self-direction, which means you:
  • Recognize the feelings of others and respond appropriately
  • Align your daily choices with your beliefs and life purpose Can you grow your EQ and your ability to better handle life’s challenges? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding yes!

Here are a few tips:Practice Reducing or Eliminating Negative Thoughts. When you feel yourself heading down a pessimistic path, put a stop to it. Take a detour and do something you enjoy, like going for a bike ride, relaxing in the tub or calling your best friend. Some people even wear a rubber band around their wrist and snap it when they feel a negative thought coming on to break the pattern with a sting. The more your practice this, the easier it gets. Teach Yourself to Control Your Anger. Feel yourself staring to get angry? Before you say or do something you’ll regret, take a deep breath and count to ten. Or take a break from the situation and splash cold water on your face. Yes, these techniques may sound simple, but they really do work.Don’t take things personally. It’s so easy to misinterpret behavior. So when someone does something you perceive as hurtful — consider alternate meanings. If your son or daughter doesn’t call you back, do you assume they don’t want to talk to you? What if, instead, you considered that they might be busy or simply not feeling well? When you don’t personalize other people’s actions, you can be more objective.Use Exercise to Your Advantage. There’s a saying that “motion dictates emotion.” If you’re feeling sad or depressed, do something that gets you moving. Put on some great music and dance. Take a quick walk around the block. Go hit a bucket of golf balls. You will increase your energy. Plus, your body will create feel-good hormones that make you happier and more energetic.Take a Minute to Wonder. My friend Mary Lore wrote a book called Managing Thought, which focuses on happier living through thought management. She suggests that you can use your thoughts to your advantage by converting worry to wonder. Instead of worrying, “What will happen if my protection fails me,” consider wondering, “How can I be sure that I’m prepared?” It’s a small step that, with practice, can transform anxiety into peace. By trying any of these techniques, you may be able to better manage your incontinence and live each day with confidence.
What about you? Have anything you already do regularly to grow your EQ? Tell us about it.

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