As humans, it is normal to experience a myriad of emotions – anger, joy, happiness, sadness, lust, resentment, frustration, hatred, jealousy, and so on. The seven deadly sins exist in all of us to varying degrees. Even the happiest people on earth, meditation gurus, yoga teachers, and psychologists – all of them experience a variety of emotions. The problem is when we are stuck in negative emotions for too long, and it starts to consume us and dictate our ways of living.
Building emotional intelligence isn’t about thinking positively all the time. Neither is it about having happy thoughts only. That is toxic positivity. Instead, it is about allowing yourself to feel all emotions, acknowledging and processing them, without staying stuck and moving into a downward spiral of negative emotions and thoughts.
Today, numerous top scientific studies link chronic emotions to disease. Emotions affect our body at a DNA level. All emotions – good or bad have the capacity to change the entire biochemistry of our body. Negative emotions keep us in a state of ‘flight and fight’ and while that is a survival mechanism for our body, it starts to work against us, if we are constantly in a state of alert or fight or flight. No amount of superfoods or supplements can ever allow our body’s intelligence and healing mechanisms to kick-in if we are in a state of stress. For healing to occur, switching to a state of calm and relaxation is pivotal. This is how nature has designed the human body, and no man, drug, or machine can ever override the laws of nature.
Here are some ways to build emotional intelligence –
1. Don’t give away your power
Most of our emotional suffering stems from the outside world—job, colleagues, boss, traffic, weather, a toxic partner, and so on. In circumstances like these, realize that no one can frustrate you till you allow yourself to be frustrated. That means, no one but you hold the power to dictate how you should feel. Own this power. Most of us, at some point, have given away our power to a person, something that someone said, past events, thoughts, news, email, or material things. This slowly drains our energy, making us feel angry, powerless, tired, and out of control.
2. Do not resist what is
Sit back and think about this. Most of our frustration and stress are created by resisting what is. Delayed flight? Too many reschedule? Troublesome boss or employee? Accept and learn to see things as they are, not how you want them to be. Resisting what it leads to stress, anger, and frustration. On the other side of resistance is flow. When we flow with life, we dissolve our frustration and anger.
3. Don’t hold rigid beliefs
Each of us has ideals that we strongly hold onto and if life doesn’t work in accordance with these ideals, disappointment, anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, insecurity, and fear set in. What ideals are you attached to? Start writing down these ideals and beliefs. It all starts with what belief systems are you operating from
- People should be considerate or kind to me.
- People should be fair.
- I should get the promotion I worked for.
- I will always be healthy.
- Things will always be where I kept them in the house.
- My house will always be clean.
- My kids will do exactly what I tell them to do.
- You will be loved by everyone.
- True love lasts forever
And so on.
These are some of the beliefs that we form over the years based on what we see, hear or learn from social groups. The bitter truth is that life doesn’t always work according to our ideals. Your kids may not necessarily speak to you the way you want them to. People are not going to love you the way you expect them to. If you are sick, your healing doesn’t have to happen at the pace you want. True love doesn’t have to last forever to be true.
One can wish for a life without any stress, but that isn’t possible. Even the most emotionally sought-after personalities have stress. It is inevitable. Stress isn’t a person, thing, or event. It is the way we relate to things. Our perceptions create our suffering and stress. It is thus necessary to learn ways to traverse through the gradients of emotions because our healing depends on that.
Luke Coutinho is a Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care – All about YOU by Luke Coutinho