“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”
– Salovey & Mayer –
Our emotion management toolkit
Despite good intentions, we often resort to less effective and sustainable tactics to manage emotional experiences. These may include blocking out negative emotions with excessive drinking, gaming, or mindless scrolling of media. Managing uncomfortable feelings and thoughts by persistently pushing them away is also counter-productive and often makes them persist and erupt when we least expect it.
Emotion suppression over time is also associated with a raft of health problems. In contrast, dealing with our anger by yelling, is more likely to inflate negative emotions rather than resolve them.
When our familiar coping strategies fail or aren’t accessible, how do we manage our emotions effectively in the moment? How do we give ourselves more opportunities to respond intelligently rather than reactively in challenging, emotionally charged situations?
“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both.” – David Caruso –
Being able to draw on a wide toolkit to select the right emotion management strategy for the situation is critical in the immediate and long term. This is one of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence.