Spring has arrived, glory hallelujah!
I’m waking up each day feeling energized, excited, and happy to be alive...perhaps it’s the sound of birds chirping or the more frequent presence of sunshine outside my windows, but whatever it is, I’m feeling very grateful. This feeling of being happy to be alive actually influences one’s ability to be emotionally intelligent, because emotional intelligence depends upon a positive outlook and the ability to see the strengths in oneself and others. The cornerstones of emotional intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman, author of the wonderful book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ, are the following:
- Self awareness – recognizing a feeling as it happens, knowing one’s emotions
- Managing one’s emotions – handling feelings so they are appropriate is an ability that builds on self-awareness; capacity to soothe oneself, to shake off anxiety, gloom, or irritability
- Motivating oneself – emotional self-control, ability to delay gratification and stifle impulsiveness – this underlies accomplishment of every sort
- Recognizing emotions in others – empathy, another ability that builds on emotional self-awareness, is the fundamental people skill. Empathic people are more attuned to the subtle social signals that indicate what others need or want
- Handling relationships – the art of relationships is, in large part, skill in managing emotions in others, interpersonal effectiveness
How much easier are all of these tasks when one is feeling good inside oneself. One way to create and maintain a positive outlook is to keep a gratefulness journal. It may sound cheesy, but taking a few moments daily to think of three things one is grateful for can really make a difference in our outlook, and even our brain chemistry! Recent research indicates that the last thought/feeling one has as one is going to sleep, and the first thought/feeling one has getting up in the am, has a significant influence on our brain chemistry for the day, and our brain chemistry is very connected to our general attitude and sense of well-being. I know that sometimes when I wake up to see clouds and rain, I don’t feel so grateful and excited about starting my day...but research tells us that if we can go beyond our natural reluctance to embrace sloshing through the rain and think about something positive that will be happening that day, our day will feel much less challenging! It’s all about choosing our attitude! We can’t choose the weather, but we can choose our attitude about responding to it!