Try to think of how you felt the last time your emotions ran high. Were you up on top of the world riding a blissful wave of euphoria? Or were you fighting the urge to rearrange everything in your room by throwing it around in a fit of anger? No matter what the case may be, our brains are hardwired to override our rational thought in favor of our emotions. This is why understanding your emotions is crucial to your sense of well being.

What are emotions?

It works like this; everything we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch passes through us in the form of electrical signals, moving from cell to cell until finally reaching our brains. They move through the base of the brain, near the spinal chord, before reaching the frontal lobe; the place where all that even, calm rational thinking can take place.

The only problem? These signals must pass through your limbic system (the place where emotions are born) before they are able to reach your rational, clear headed frontal lobe. This means that everything we sense, everything we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, is experienced emotionally before it is ever experienced rationally.

Now this isn’t a bad thing. It’s our emotions, coupled with our rational thought, which has allowed human beings to evolve and flourish the way we have. Without our emotions, without our senses of fear, anger, happiness, sadness, and shame (our 5 core emotions) we may not have made it this far as a species. The problem lies within an inability many of us have with allowing our emotional and rational brains to communicate effectively.

EQ, your emotional intelligence.

EQ, or emotional intelligence, put simply, is ones ability to recognize and rationalize ones own emotions as well as the emotions of others. If you want to win over the favor of someone, you must first win over his or her emotions. This is why great men and women, past and present, are able to do the things they do; they have a fundamental understanding of their emotions and how they relate to and appeal to those around them. Emotional intelligence is by far the strongest force driving personal and interpersonal success.

E.Q is broken into two categories that each have two sub categories respectively. You have:

· Personal Competence, consisting of self-awareness and self-management.

· Social Competence, consisting of social awareness and relationship management

Self-awareness is your understanding of yourself and what makes you tick. It is your ability to clearly identify what you individually need for your own emotional and mental stability. Self-management, put simply, is your ability to do or not do for yourself. It is your ability to put aside short-term satisfaction in the pursuit of long-term gratification, to clearly define what will give you fulfillment in life and your decisiveness in going after it. These two traits are what make up your sense of personal competence.

Social awareness is your ability to pick up on other people’s emotions and understand what the driving force behind them is. It is determined by your capacity to observe and listen, to perceive what others are thinking and feeling even if you aren’t feeling the same way. Your sense of social awareness is directly tied to your ability to read others. Relationship management is your ability to use your awareness of others emotions in relation to your own in order to navigate interactions with people successfully. This will ensure clear communication and effective handling of conflict. These two traits are what make up your sense of social competence.

This, in a nutshell, is the basis of E.Q. In part two, we’ll dive deeper into how you can put these concepts into practice to not only effectively manage and build a better, healthier, more stable relationship with yourself, but with those around you as well.

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