“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Emotion is e-motion
Our emotions are feelings that motivates us to move, act, perform in some way. We are making thousands of decisions, small and big, consciously and unconsciously, almost every minute of our life is a decision. And emotions are what motivates us to. Every emotion triggers different response inside us and every reaction outside us triggers emotional response in others – a tendency to act in certain way.
‘the difference that makes the difference’
If you just say to a baby ‘smile’ the chances of successful communication with results are nearly zero. But if you smile at a baby, it is almost certainly sure that the baby will smile back to you. Many actions which we perform ourselves today, we had once observed to be performed by someone else. Imitating what we are seeing is how we learn since our birth, because of our mirror neurons we can observe the world around us and develop. While observing we perceive and understand certain kind of information without the intention of analyse.
Because humans are social beings, there is a part of our brains helping us to better understand the situation around us. Regardless of what is the object of our observation – body language, gestures, verbal and nonverbal expressions – we are able to collect the emotional data from others. Furthermore, we do not just perceive these emotions, we are actually experience them and this unique mind condition is called empathy. We cannot control our reflection and reaction; our brains are programmed to work that way no matter if we want it or not. However, we can learn to understand and interpret our emotions – why we feel the way we do. The better we understand ourselves, the better we will understand the others.
The ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotions; to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotions and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.
Being emotionally intelligent means we are aware of our feelings and we can make difference between our own and those which we adopt from others in a result of the activation of our mirror neurons. If we learn to differentiate one from another, we can act more adequate accordingly the situation.
In fact, some social spheres as education and business has already incorporated emotional intelligence practices and the results show higher levels of accomplishment. Students find themselves in better adjustable environment, business leaders work more efficiently with people, there are less problems and stress and, for some people surprisingly, students result in higher grades and working people earn more money.
‘The more you give, the more you get.’ Emotion is communicated between individuals and across groups – affecting decision-making, commitment, and performance. When we are contagiously laughing usually we do not ask ourselves how we got affected and why it catches us. But it is a good thing, a positive emotion.
What about the bad emotions we become part of? When we enter in a dark world of fear, stress, devastation… How we deal with the emotions triggered inside us? Many people try to repress these feelings, avoid or pretend they are not there. Even if we think that burring those emotions deep inside our mind will make us feel better, doing so may have long lasting consequences about our mental health. That is why the topic about our emotional intelligence becomes more interesting and important not only for the neuroscientists, but also in our everyday life.
There are five key domains which build both our personal and social skills. Developing every element will give us opportunity to improve not only our life but also the life of other. And this is something we could all do as contribution to our desire to create a better world.
- Self-awareness – or to understand our own emotions, evaluate them adequately and become more confident;
- Self-regulation – or to manage our emotions, control ourselves and become more adaptive and innovative;
- Self-motivation – or to motivate ourselves, strive for achievement and become more initiative and involved;
- Social awareness – or to be able to recognise and understand other people’s emotions and to become more empathetic;
- Social skills – or to be able to manage relationships, to collaborate and cooperate and to become better team leader.
And now, can you imagine if we all can act emotionally aware in every situation and every sphere in our everyday lives?
- Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
- Joshua Freedman, The Neuroscience At The Heart Of Learning And Leading
- Katrin Den Elzen, Recovery, Renewal and Reflection