The concept of Emotional Intelligence, EQ, was created with the intention to help people become kinder to themselves and others.
The actual definition of emotional intelligence is “The capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others.”
Learning how to improve emotional intelligence is a beneficial skill that will help anyone struggling with their emotions.
Here are 5 steps to improve your emotional intelligence and take care of your emotional health using self-care and self-awareness:
1. Notice your behaviour
You are bringing more consciousness to an unconscious behaviour and are shifting your behaviour simply by noticing and acknowledging that you are overeating due to an uncomfortable feeling.
There are many types of emotions that could contribute to your need to keep eating, and some might be negative emotions, but others might just be something that makes you uncomfortable.
This first step seems easy, but it’s really the hardest step.
That’s because it’s easier to stay stuck in the old familiar patterns of human emotion and bad habits.
It takes an effort to notice and then be willing to have some self-discipline at that moment. You take care of yourself simply by developing the art of noticing.
This is the first step when learning how to break bad habits.
2. Name the uncomfortable feeling
Once you take notice, proceed to name it. If you get this far, you are well on your way of taking care of yourself emotionally when you’re upset. It is a turning point.
You are letting go of the old destructive pattern or bad habits and turning inward by naming your uncomfortable feeling.
To name it, ask yourself, “If I am having an uncomfortable feeling, what is it? Is it sad, mad, glad, fear, shame, or numb?” It’s probably not glad.
Be present and feel into the feeling. Let’s say, for example, you’re feeling hurt. Hurt is part of the sad category. You have identified the feeling by giving it your undivided attention, similar to what a child wants.
Whatever type of feelings you’re experiencing, all they want is your attention and love.
Your feelings are there to inform you that something isn’t quite right. They discharge when you acknowledge them in a compassionate and non-blaming way.
3. Nurture the uncomfortable feeling
Once you know the type of feeling you are experiencing, you can proceed to nurture it. This is an important step.
You may know that you are hurt and you’re able to name that emotion. However, if you don’t nurture it, then you’ll likely fall back into your old patterns of overeating or other destructive behaviours.
To nurture the feeling, notice where it is in your body.
To begin, place one hand on your heart, and the other hand on your belly, or wherever you feel the emotion in your body. Start to breathe into the feeling. Give it your undivided attention. This is where your feelings are, in the body.
With your hands on your heart and your belly (or wherever you have placed them), you are literally holding the feeling.
Then, as you hold the feeling, begin breathing into it and be present with it.
Nurture the feeling as a loving parent would and hold your uncomfortable feeling like a baby.
4. Discover your core need
Under every uncomfortable emotion is an unmet need. With one hand on your heart and the other hand on your belly (or wherever you have placed them), ask yourself, “What do I need?”
This is a powerful question to ask yourself when you are upset about a situation.
It will help you stay out of “story,” which keeps you in your head. When you are in your head in such a situation, you give your power away.
Your power comes from understanding what your soul wants to show you. It wants you to grow, learn, and live a more expanded life. Your soul does not want you to stay in drama, sabotage, victim, or “stuff it” energy. It doesn’t want you to stay in a confining box constructed from limited belief systems and it wants you to expand into greater awareness.
5. And lastly, believe you deserve to have your needs met
This type of request will only work if you mean it, embody it, and speak it from your heart. The Four N’s will help you develop a more compassionate relationship with yourself.
Once you have discovered your core need, then you must believe you deserve to have that core need met, 100 percent.
If you don’t feel you deserve it, then your request won’t come from your heart; it will come from your head.
You may request to be treated gently, but you can’t convince another person to be gentle with you if you don’t believe you are worthy of it.
By embodying and feeling deserving of your core need, your whole being become empowered.