Emotional Intelligence Improvement Strategies

Success in professional and personal life is much dependent on one’s Emotional Intelligence (E.Q). Numerous studies attest to this strong correlation between high E.Q and success in life. In other words success in professional and personal life is much dependent upon “how we understand our own emotions and those of others, how we manage our own emotions and relationships with others, and our motivation for achievement and success”. Therein lies the importance of understanding E.Q and the factors that positively or negatively affect it.

E.Q is affected by the following factors:

  1. Genetics
  2. Physiology: Nutrition; Exercise; Water use; Sunlight exposure; Temperance; Air exposure; Rest
  3. Social support
  4. Beliefs
  5. Evaluation of events
  6. Views about problems
  7. Silent self-talk

Items 4-7 above are especially critical in developing a healthy E.Q as poor E.Q is usually the result of “distorted views which have an unhealthy effect on the mind” These distorted views or cognitive distortions can be identified as follows:

  1. Polarized thinking (All or nothing fallacy)
  2. Over-generalization
  3. Mental filter
  4. Disqualifying the positive
  5. Magnification and minimization
  6. Personalizing
  7. External locus of control fallacy
  8. Internal locus of control fallacy
  9. Emotional reasoning (Taking emotional feelings for reality)
  10. Jumping to conclusions
  11. Fairness fallacy
  12. Blaming
  13. Should fallacy
  14. Change fallacy
  15. Global labeling
  16. Always right etc.

Now that we have identified some of the common cognitive distortions, let us consider how to deal with these cognitive distortions. The following are generally accepted as the steps in addressing cognitive distortions.

  • Identify cognitive distortions
  • Acknowledge the harm they do
  • Choose to change
  • Work through the cognitive distortion
  • Deconstruct the cognitive distortion
  • Reconstruct thinking to rational thinking
  • Change emotions
  • Change behavior

Other changes can be incorporated to strengthen the brain from slipping into irrational thinking, notably lifestyle changes that strengthen the frontal lobe functions of the brain for E.Q improvement. One celebrated tool for E.Q improvement is the NEW START PROGRAM by Dr Neil Nedley. The program is based on the acronym NEW START as given below.

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Water use
  4. Sunlight exposure
  5. Temperance
  6. Air exposure
  7. Rest
  8. Trust in God

Dr. Neil Nedley has used the above 8 components in his Mental Health Recovery Programs with so much documented success. We will explore in details the use of the 8 components in another article exclusively dealing with wellness.

About the author

Joiline Gorlova is a Training Consultant at Rock Lilly with a BSc Sociology, postgrad Diploma in Personnel Management, IPM professional member & an Accredited Assessor/Moderator with Services SETA, LGSETA & ETDP SETA

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