Emosyon Bibo® aims to encourage families to learn about the importance of emotional intelligence in their lives. We want to provide practical tools to help families be emotionally connected by applying emotional intelligence principles. Emosyon Bibo®’s products and services are inspired by the emotional intelligence theory.
What is the Theory of EI?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is described as the ability to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations, control impulses and delay gratification, regulate one’s mood, and not allow distress from swamping the ability to think, and lastly, to empathize and to hope. As a social skill, EI helps us understand other people’s feelings, motives, and concerns which, in turn, helps in building healthy relationships. It also enhances our self-awareness—the ability to recognize and understand our feelings and how it affects others. In addition, it helps us to identify our emotional state and correctly identify and name one’s emotions.
Daniel Goleman, one of the proponents of EI, shares that emotional intelligence, not academic intelligence, ensures success, and a number of studies support this claim. According to him, the following describes emotionally intelligent people:
1. They were adept at comprehending their own emotions (self-awareness)
2. They were skilled at controlling their emotions (self-management)
3. They were sensitive to other people’s emotional needs (social awareness)
4. They were skilled at dealing with the emotions of others (social skills)
If we want to raise a successful, fulfilled, and happy adult, we need to think about the skills that Goleman describes above.
EI starts with self-awareness
Self-awareness is where emotional literacy starts. EI is often referred to as emotional literacy in educational circles, with the word “literacy” implying a practical method or idea that can be taught like reading. Emotional literacy starts by tuning in to feelings, identifying, understanding, and expressing emotions.
One study in the USA found that naming feelings reduces the intensity and stress level and helps a person to think, plan, and reason. First, the researchers showed a disturbing picture to the participants while measuring the activities of their brains. The amygdala, the part of the brain activated when a person is anxious and stressed out, was triggered when a disturbing picture was shown. Then they asked them to name their feelings, and MRI showed that the amygdala’s arousal went down, and the cortical part of the brain responsible for language, reasoning, and planning went up. This study points out that our brains will help us cope with emotions by simply putting our feelings into words.
There are many ways we can improve our children’s emotional literacy at home and in school. Teachers can teach students how to deal with various challenging emotions in the classroom. For example, in one of the schools in America, a particular method called restorative justice (RJ) was used to teach children how to speak about problems and propose solutions. In this method, the teacher first taught emotional literacy skills to recognize their emotions and talk about issues calmly. We can also use different ways to help our children identify and express their feelings in our homes. Some tools we can use are emotion cards, feeling charts, and books about feelings. Using these tools can help improve our children’s emotion vocabulary and normalize talking about emotions at home.
The importance of self-regulation
Another component of EI is self-regulation—the ability to control and redirect disruptive emotions and consequential thinking. Emotion regulation is often described as the ability to effectively regulate emotional arousal and control one’s internal state and the outward manifestation of that state. We can support our children in their self-regulation by controlling our impulses and being good role models. We can also teach them some coping techniques to manage their intense emotions. Setting up a calming corner at your home where your children can feel safe to process their big emotions is also beneficial.
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence also helps understand the need for emotional literacy in school and its benefits. In this theory, Gardner identifies seven distinct intelligences: linguistic, logical/ mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and naturalist. Interpersonal intelligence is about recognizing and understanding other people’s emotional states. How are we supporting the interpersonal intelligence of our children? We can do this in five ways:
1. Practice self-awareness – knowing one’s emotions and recognizing a feeling as it happens.
2. Manage emotions – working on unpleasant emotions even though it is difficult’ such as soothing oneself from anxiety, gloom, or irritability.
3. Motivate oneself – do not allow emotions to hinder you from reaching your goals.
4. Teach about empathy – recognizing emotions in others is a fundamental people skill.
5. Handle relationships – helping to manage emotions in others.
Aside from EI theory, there are other theories that explain the importance of emotions in education. For example, emotion control capacity is linked to the level of effort and the persistence with which people complete academic tasks. According to this research, children who are curious about academic tasks, interested in learning, and retain positive feelings when tested academically do better in school and on standardized tests compared to other children.
“If our schools or society only focuses on linguistic and logical intelligence, what are we doing to help our children in other distinct intelligence?” —Emosyon Bibo®Tweet
How can we apply EI theory?
Remember that the goal of EI is to help make us emotionally intelligent people that effectively connect with others. Here are some insights on how we can apply EI first to ourselves and then to our children. Use these to remind yourself what you or your children ought to be.
- Emotionally intelligent people accept and listen to feedback and criticism well and improve themselves.
- Emotionally intelligent people can say “No” when they need to.
- Emotionally intelligent people can share feelings with others, which helps them have a fulfilling relationship.
- Emotionally intelligent people are good at reading the emotions of others and have great listening skills; hence they are excellent leaders and team workers.
The good news is that emotions have an inherent aspect that can be created and refined through careful nurturing and then more skills taught, resulting in emotional literacy. Even adults can still grow in their emotional intelligence. We can do many things that can strengthen our emotional intelligence. The truth is, we cannot give what we do not have. As adults, guardians, parents, and teachers, we need to grow our emotional literacy first in order to influence our children.
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