Emotional inteligence is usually spelled this way, emotional intelligence, but in the weird and wonderful world of internet search, over a 1000 searches per month are made for the misspelled term, so I am going to write a keyword focused content page for it, even though it may grate on the nerves of the good speller, providing an opportunity for that person to work on their emotional inteligence.
I am not one of the good spellers, so if you find other misspellings on this page, please drop me a line, or read for intention rather than spelling.
According to Daniel Goleman, who wrote the book "Emotional Intelligence" which popularized the concept, emotional inteligence refers to the ability to carry on good relationships.
He argues people who have emotional inteligence skills are more successful than the high IQ folks who do not have emotional intelligence, and therefore high IQ may not be a good measure for future life success, and perhaps we should help our youngsters cultivate intelligence about their emotions, rather than worry about their IQ.
It is easier to be affilliative and cooperative when feeling good, so my first emotional inteligence activity is to feel good myself.
To me, that means being aware of my emotions rather quickly, since my internal feeling experience can move faster than I can create words, especially when I am surprised by my son, who sneaks into the office behind me and yells.
I still have a startle response which just makes his day, he can laugh uproariously for days, each time he remembers my fight or flight response.
But for the most part, emotional inteligence simply means paying attention to how I feel, and if the feeling is one I prefer not to have, then doing something to change the feeling.
I am not destined to have any feeling, however I may get in the habit of feeling certain feelings when I have certain thoughts.
To change the feeling, I need only change the thought.
Or change the breathing pattern, or heart rate variability coherence.
For example, I love to use my HeartMath cue thought every five minutes or so, just to feel the wonderful feeling of love I have when I have that thought. By the way, the thought is to see my children's faces inside my chest next to my heart.
My heart, with its own sophisticated nervous system, and the ability to regulate its own beat, and learn and make decisions with its own intelligence, has learned that it is to open up and release some very powerful endorphins so Dad feels love. Heart intelligence is cooperative and affiliative, which I think is the basis of good relationships.
Call it 'programmed feel good', just because I can. It is my thought that brings the feeling.
Another tool I learned a while back is to use a couple of phrases to change my feelings, like "doubt the doubt" and "gratitude is the attitude".
I use those on an as need basis, but during periods of stress, gratitude is the attitude runs through my head quite frequently to help me remember times when I truely had something to be stressed about.
We have also been reading in recent months about the importance of brain fitness for success in the emotional arena.
In fact, Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. have written a wonderful manual for brain fitness, called Brainfit for Life, not surprisingly.
In their book, Evans and Burghardt talk about what they think is important to function well in four areas of life, the emotional, the physical, the intellectual, and the cognitive area of life.
Brainfitness, or the enhancement of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, which are key capacities of your brain, are important aspects of emotional inteligence then.
Neurogenesis or the growth if new neurons and neuroplasticity, which is the brains ability to rewire itself within minutes can be encouraged by physical exercise, good sleep, healthy nutrition, and novel learning experiences, like the experiences supplied by computerized brain fitness programs.
I have used the following brain fitness programs as part of my regular emotional intelligence practice, and enjoy them.
They make my memory and concentration better, so I can continue to demand that my children treat each other with emotional inteligences like empathy.
Don't you think parenting demands a particular double strength intelligence?