Get to know your emotions.
A researcher noticed old manuscripts described the sky and sea “like wine.” Nowhere in ancient writing did the color “blue” appear. They found that people without the word blue in their vocabulary didn’t register the color on a vision test. What does this have to do with emotional intelligence? Everything! Emotional intelligence is a measure of how well you understand the emotions of yourself and those around you. If you don’t have a word to describe what you feel, you have a harder time recognizing it. Below is a chart of emotion words. Start at the center with the basic emotions, and work outward until you find the best feeling to describe your experience. The better you know these words and how they feel, the more in touch you’ll be with your needs.
Emotional Intelligence is one of my top 10 secrets to being happy. Read those tips here!
An Emotional Intelligence Exercise
- Take a few deep breaths and reflect on how you feel in this moment. Emotional intelligence isn’t only for the bad feelings–it’s equally important to explore the good things.
- Pick a word from the center that fits. Move to the next ring and try to specify the emotion a little more. Pick 1 to 3 words from the second ring and weigh them in your head. You can say them out loud, write them down, or just meditate on them until one feels right. Next, look at the words connected to your word and repeat the process with the outer ring. Not all emotions will tie to the second or third rings, but give it a shot. It’s okay if you don’t get clear to the outside–the point is just to find the most specific word for what you’re feeling.
- Think about why you picked the word you did. How is it different than the one you almost picked? How would one of your other choices feel different? For example, how is “confident” different than “proud?” How is it different than “courageous?” What does “confident” mean to you that “courageous” doesn’t? Practice this 5 minutes per day, especially if you’re struggling to work through a feeling or situation.