Emotional Intelligence vs. Emotional Literacy Skills: 4 Great Tips to Manage Your Emotions
Sarah Mae (SMae) |
Remember the last time you struggled to manage your emotions and they got the better of you?
Maybe you lashed out in anger, allowed fear to hold you back from a great opportunity, or did something passionately stupid?
We have all been there.
In fact, I let fear hold me back most of my adult life. Fear of not being able to follow through has stopped me from pursuing so many of my passions.
However, I have come to realize that contrary to emotions being the reckless antagonist, destroying all reason and rationality, they are actually our internal compass, and it is extremely important that we listen to them.
It was not my fear of failure that hold me back all those years, it was my lack of Emotional Literacy. I ignored what my fear was trying to tell me. Fear of failure is actually a wonderful sign of how badly you want something. Now, when it comes up I take it as a sign that I need to lean in more. I guarantee I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t.
Emotional literacy skills are this week’s Essential Skill. When understood and listened to, emotions are your personal lighthouse, guiding you to making the right choices in line with your authentic true self and live a fulfilling life.
In this post, I’m diving into emotional intelligence vs. emotional literacy skills and sharing 4 ways you can manage your emotions, so they can guide you.
Emotional Intelligence vs. Emotional Literacy Skills
? What Emotonal Intelligence Is:
Emotional intelligence is your ability to deal with your emotions.
People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”, there are five key elements to it:
- Self-Awareness: the ability to recognise emotions
- Managing Your Emotions: the ability and tools to appropriately respond to emotions
- Self-Motivation: the ability to not be controlled by your emotions
- Empathy: an awareness of what others are feeling
- Interpersonal Skills: the ability to build relationships with others
Strong emotional intelligence leads to “Emotional Literacy”.
? The Term ‘Emotional Literacy’ refers to…
While emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, nurture, use, and manage your emotions in positive ways, Emotional Literacy extends on this to includes the ability to communicate your emotions through words and read them in others using the entire range of your emotional spectrum
Emotional Literacy Skills are Essential Skills for understanding ourselves, others, and the world around us.
So many people today try to bury or drown their emotions when, in fact, they are your greatest asset.
When you’re able to access your emotions, understand them, and communicate them, they can guide you to making the right choices in line with your authentic true self and live a fulfilling life.
4 Ways to Manage Your Emotions
1) Recipe for Happiness
Understanding your emotions allows you to choose the ones you want to foster. In this sense, you can CHOOSE to be happy by creating more moments in your life that make you feel happy.
So how do you do that? You make a recipe for it.
What emotions do you want to create more of in your life? Make a list.
Next, think about what you do in your life that makes you feel those emotions. Write these next to each emotion on your list
For example, if you want to feel joy, what situations make you the most joyful? Maybe it is taking your dog for a walk, or cuddling on the couch with your partner, or drinking a nice hot up of tea.
Last, plan to do more of those things!
Some ways I feel joy include when I’m dedicating time for myself with my morning routine, when I am sitting up on my patio looking out at the beautiful city, when I am snuggled with my husband talking about our day, when I am with people that lift me up, when I am out in nature, and when I am cozied up with hot tea and a good book. So I make sure to deliberately do as many of these things as I can every week.
This works the other way too. What emotions do you want to feel less of? Do your best to eliminate the things in your life that create these emotions for you. If that is not possible, try to find ways to balance those times with something that does make you feel a positive emotion.
The idea here is that you can CHOOSE to be happy by creating more moments in your life that make you feel happy.
What will your Recipe for Happiness be?
2) Heart Coherence
Did you know that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart?
We’ve been taught that our intelligence lies in our brain (thanks Descartes). However, new science (and some common sense) is revealing that most of our intelligence actually lies in our bodies.
The HeartMath Institute has been researching the heart-brain connection and learning how the heart influences our perceptions, emotions, intuition and health for over 25 years. Their research “demonstrates that different patterns of heart activity have different effects on your thoughts and behaviors.”
During stress and negative emotions, our heart sends erratic and disordered signals to our brain, which impairs our ability to process emotions and heightens our stress. On the other hand, when we’re experiencing positive emotions the signals sent to our brain are more ordered and balanced, which increases our emotional stability.
So how can you increase the amount of positive emotions you experience?
This Heart Math “Quick Coherence Technique” is a great place to start
Step 1: Connect with your heart:
Imagine that there is a yellow light in the space around your heart as you focus and breathe into the area with slow, deep, and intentional breaths.
Step 2: Embrace your inner Peter Pan…
And think happy thoughts, such as gratitude or appreciation for someone in your life.
Check out the HeartMath Institute‘s website for lots of great resources and tech that can help you “relieve stress and anxiety while balancing your mental and emotional energy”.
It’s time to start trusting your gut and your heart because they really do hold SO MUCH wisdom.
3) The Body Scan
Another way that you can manage your emotions is by practicing connecting with and listening to your emotions with body scanning.
This is where you scan your body and notice its physical sensations, without trying to change them. You just notice how your body is feeling.
How to Body Scan:
Find a comfortable place to sit where you won’t be interrupted. Close your eyes and take three-five deep breaths in as you get comfortable in your seat.
Next, place your focus on the very top of your head, feeling any sensation that might be there. Then, slowly move your awareness down your scalp, until you’re just above your eyebrows. Do this very slowly and observe any and all physical sensations as you’re scanning. Continue to slowly scan down your body, part by part, stopping to focusing on all the different parts and any physical sensations or emotions that arise. Go very slowly so the whole scan takes about 8-10 minutes.
As you’re doing the body scan, try to focus on sensations, rather than emotions. For example, instead of “I am sad,” you might notice the sensation of heaviness in your body and chest, or tightness in your face and throat.
Focusing on the physical sensations of emotions, rather than analyzing your thoughts, will help you recognize the cues faster in your day-to-day experiences. With this, you’ll be able to spot your emotions faster and choose how to respond to those emotions consciously rather than reactively.
To be more aware of, and thus manage your emotions, it is essential to develop an awareness of your body. As stated above, there so SO MUCH untapped wisdom held there.
4) Take Acting Classes
I saved this one for last because I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, acting classes are hands down the best thing I have done to improve my Emotional Literacy Skills.
Contrary to popular belief (or at least what I used to think) acting is not throwing on a mask and getting up there to “perform”. There are a lot of actors that take this approach to acting, and it shows cause they suck.
Acting is actually about getting to know every level of yourself very intimately. You can only bring a character to life if you can connect with them on a deep level, which takes a lot of vulnerability.
As the famous acting coach Sanford Meisner put it, “Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”
So you have to know your truth to be a great actor, which is why taking acting classes just for the personal development, is so helpful.
My amazing acting coach, Michelle Meyrink, has recently launched online classes. So you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home!
There’s even a free intro class for beginners, you can find more information here: https://actorium.ca/online-acting-program/
I do not get anything for referring people. I just honestly, from the bottom of my heart, can’t recommend these classes enough as a tool for developing emotional literacy skills and learning to manage your emotions.
My Fav Books on Emotional Literacy
Interested in reading more? Here are my favourite books on Emotional Literacy!
*note that clicking on a book cover will take you to my Amazon affiliate account, where I will get a small kickback if you purchase. I never recommend any books that I have not read and found helpful in my life.
I love talking about the books I have read, so hit me up when you’ve read any of these and let me know your thoughts! Email or Instagram DMs are the best way to reach me.
Emotions are an invaluable source of insight.
The above 4 emotional literacy strategies can help you learn to manage your emotions, which will help you be more in tune with your inner compass and make decisions more easily.
Strong emotional literacy skills can also lead to increased happiness, confidence, and resilience. Furthermore, it improves relationships, mental well-being and quality of life. What is more essential than that?
P.S. I still have some spots in my signature 1-1 coaching program, Route to Rise, where I help adults feeling stuck in the daily grind and looking for a change gain the confidence and tools they need to create their vision, build better habits, and implement a plan that enables them to create the life they’ve always wanted but never knew how to pursue. Find out more and book a clarity call HERE.