What is emotional intelligence depends on who you talk to. For example;* Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), is a term that describes the ability, capacity, skill or (in the case of the trait EI model) a self-perceived ability, to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence
* The awareness of and ability to manage one's emotions in a healthy and productive manner. allpsych.com/dictionary/dictionary2.html
* Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the most important ideas to hit the business world in recent years. It is based on the notion that the ability of managers to understand their own emotions, and those of the people they work with, is the key to better business performance. catalystconsultingpartners.com/glossary.html
* developing initially along separate lines, the constructs of alexithymia and emotional intelligence came to the attention of researchers who realized these were intimately related, with alexithymia representing the lower possible range of emotional intelligence. ... alex-glossary.blogspot.com/
I follow the developments in this field, because I work with court ordered anger management and domestic violence folks who often have little in the way of emotional intelligence, who have little ability to name their own feelings, and have little ability to recognize the feelings of others, and who may be subject to what author Daniel Goleman calls "amygdala highjacks" which result in a flight or fight physiology in perhaps 1/18th second.
So while the theoriticians and scientists can debate definitions and theories, as a clinician, I want tools that work now.
If you are arguing with someone over which TV show to watch, a fight or flight response is too strong. (Stop to think about how fast one needs to be when managing emotions. I can change my feelings at least twice as fast as I can blink my eyes, which takes 1/10th second. Life changes fast).
Fight or Flight physiology leaves you three behavioral options, run for your life, fight for your life, or freeze.
According to John Gottman, men can take about 20 minutes to clear all the stress hormones and neurotransmitters related to an amygdala highjack, and it is vitally important that men, while taking their time out, monitor their thinking and make it very healthy. (No automatic negative thoughts or ANTS, and no victim thoughts).
Which takes us to an important tool for learning emotional intelligence, which is the HeartMath tool, which utilizes the hearts affiliative and cooperative intelligence.
The heart has a very sophisticated nervous system all of its own, a brain if you will, which can learn and make decisions.
That heart brain sends a lot of information up to the cranial brain about how the body is doing, and if I want to invest about 5 to 10 hours of work with a computerized biofeedback system I can train my heart to beat in a coherent rhythm on demand, which feels really good, which helps me access my affiliative and cooperative heart intelligence which enhances my emotional intelligence because my physiology is calm even when others are not calm.
The Freeze Framer is a quick little thinking tool that can be utilized as a time out tool, or to simply cue coherence in the body because it feels good, which makes it very good for men who are working to recover from an amygdala high jack, because they are given some thoughts to follow from memory while they clear the arousal energy from their body.
(I have been using and teaching HeartMath for about nine years. When I want to cue it, I think of my children's faces in the volume of my chest near my heart, and when I create that image, my heart opens and I feel love, and I smile. This happens internally to me, remember, and if I am in an a difficult discussion, the other person may be impacted by my smile).
Remember HeartMath is a biofeedback process which means it is learned and can be cued on demand once the learning is strong.
Just one requirement. After you learn it practice it.
I find that the more I practice HeartMath the less intense my response is to surprises in the environment, or to arguments in my intimate relationships.
As I learn HeartMath, one of the very important side effects is that I am learning to manage my emotional intelligence very frequently, heart beat by heart beat, and when there is a change, I can deal with it much faster than before.
So perhaps we should define emotional intelligence as the monitoring of feelings and thoughts heart beat by heart beat.
Is there a need to coordinate brain and heart fitness? I think that combining the two is a wonderful way to do emotional intelligence.
Very recent discoveries about the human brain, that it grows new neurons every day, and that it is incredibly plastic, seeking new knowledge so that it can form new connections, and that neurogenesis and neuroplasticity can be enhanced through computerized brain fitness programs, is key.
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