For all practical purposes, 2020 seems like the lost year. We’re over half way through the year and we’ve accomplished little, having spent the better part of the year sheltering in our homes to escape the raging pandemic. With widespread uncertainty and fear, we tend to turn inwards and look away from the plight of others. However, it’s precisely during tough times like these that we need to look out for others, showing compassion and empathy for those who are less fortunate. Not only does this inculcate a feeling of gratitude for your good fortune, but it also prompts you to do something for others who need your help. Of course, this is where empathy and compassion come into play, without which you cannot have meaningful relationships. So, how do we cultivate these emotions to be our best selves?
In the first part of this series, we focused on mindfulness and today, we’ll talk about unlocking the second key – the emotional quotient.
What is Emotional Quotient?
Just as IQ measures your intelligence, EQ measures your ability to perceive emotions. To be more precise, emotional quotient (EQ) is the measure of one’s ability to understand and manage emotions in a positive way. It helps manage stress, allows us to empathize with others and deal with our inner conflicts.
People with high EQ are good at managing their emotions and understanding others, which helps them maintain happy, healthy, and long-lasting relationships. They often have a positive attitude and are motivated, since they have better control over their emotions and know how to manage them.
EQ helps us to connect with our own feelings and with others. If we can manage our emotions and work on our emotional quotient, difficult situations become significantly easier to get through. Here is what you can do to unlock your emotional quotient.
Empathy is when we can put ourselves in the shoes of others and feel the pain that they’re going through. Just looking on sadly and offering sympathetic words isn’t the same as empathy, and in all probability, won’t make a change. Empathy is an emotion, wherein you genuinely feel for the other person to the extent that you feel compelled to help. Empathy is a distinctive feature of the human and condition and what drives humanitarians, social workers, and animals rights activists to think beyond themselves and their own comfort, instead focusing on helping others. Whenever you can, try to extend a helping hand to others, whether financially, emotionally, or with your time.
Here’s How You Can Do It:
- Be aware of what’s happening around you and what you can do.
- Offer help to your neighbors, especially to the elderly and to those who cannot leave home to get essential supplies. Offer to get the supplies for them online.
- Do not panic buy. Do not hoard supplies that you don’t need. Think about people who cannot buy things in bulk. Let them have a chance to get the necessities too.
- Help healthcare workers, local police officers, and others who are under immense pressure to serve all of us.
- Share or donate food, money, and volunteer your services as far as you can.
Build Professional Emotional Relationships
Build relationships with your colleagues and employees that are more than just professional. Engage with each other at an emotional level. Learn about your colleagues’ lives by talking about things other than work and by offering emotional support. This won’t just help your colleagues, but will also benefit you. Having someone with whom you share work pressure and frustrations makes it easier to cope. Once the lockdown is over and you are back in the office, your colleagues will know that you are someone who has their back and you would be able to count on them too.
Here’s How You Can Do It:
- Get to know each other a little better if you don’t already.
- Don’t just stick with your regular team or a single ‘office-best friend’. Talk to others too and learn about them.
- Take breaks in the middle of your work to chat with your colleagues about things other than work.
- Offer help. If you feel your colleague is overburdened try to share the load.
- If you are a senior, engage with your juniors and see if they need any help. Figure out if there are any tasks that they find overwhelming and how you can ease the burden.
- Offer help to each other, both professionally and personally.
Exercise Power Of Expression
Our emotions have a strong influence on us. They impact the way we think, react, work, and connect with others. Experiencing and expressing emotions, is an integral and essential part of the human experience. Unfortunately, some of us are emotionally and socially detached, increasingly so because of digital technology. Expressing yourself is more important than ever however, as it provides catharsis.
Expressing yourself is a way of releasing those thoughts and feelings inside. To get started you can simply vocalize your feelings, put them down on paper, or communicate with someone over text. Do what it takes, but let your feelings be heard. Suppressing your feelings instead of expressing them increases the risk of angry outbursts and is not healthy for your mental state. Letting your feelings out also allows the other person to help understand where you’re coming from and makes it easier to work together towards an environment in which you both feel good and positive.
Listening to others is as important as voicing yourself. If you see someone you know upset or low, make sure to reach out, and try to start a conversation. There’s a good chance that they won’t offer the desired response, but you can be sure that it will help and they will eventually appreciate your concern. In adverse situations, keep your cool and make them understand that you are there to hear them out and help.
Here’s How You Can Do It:
- Acknowledge your own emotions.
- Don’t be scared of being judged.
- Open up to the ones extremely close to you, for starters.
- Write down your feelings if you cannot express them yet. Maintain a journal.
- Be a patient listener, especially if someone tries to talk about their feelings.
- Hold your urge to pass judgment or offer advice if the person hasn’t asked for it. Sometimes people just want to be heard
In case you missed it, here’s the first key to unlock mindfulness.