Emotional wellness, self-awareness, is one of the hardest dimensions of wellness to master. Some people are instantly great at recognizing when they are angry or have been triggered or know what makes them anxious. Others, are really bad at recognizing their own feelings and those of others. This aspect of your emotional wellness is very common to overlook and dismiss.
One great practice you can build around yourself is EQ. The pioneers of EQ or emotional intelligence really boil it down to four elements for us to be stronger at strengthening our emotional wellness, self-awareness:
- Our personal self-awareness and ability to understand emotional wellness
- How we can manage it once we understand it
- Then we can move to stronger social awareness of others emotional wellness so we can help them get better at it (you do this well and you’ll be working on social wellness at the same time you’re working on emotional)
- Then the fourth one contributes to our emotional wellness very positively when we learn how emotional wellness can manage our relationships
Getting to understand our self-awareness to our emotions has to be the start. This means getting to know the worst about yourself and the best about yourself. A great practice: sit down uninterrupted for 30 minutes and log the positives and negatives about yourself. Think about the times you’ve gotten feedback positive and negative from personal friends/family or at work through reviews/co-workers. This exercise will help you better understand yourself and why you feel the way you do. This will also help you start to think about the consequences of a negative and positive emotions.
Self-management is really hard. You’re trying to manage yourself. Often times we will give up when things get tough. We need to make a distinction between why we act with emotion and why we act with reason. The better we are at managing our emotions and not leading with them, but with reason, we will find ourselves in a healthier state. You can also get others involved by sharing your goals to get better at strength management. Feedback is an incredible way to help you be better at self-management. Friends or co-workers can see you from a distance, where you might not be able to because you’re to far into the weeds. When you have a sense you might be letting a friend or a co-worker down, it can turn into motivation to not do so. In that choice, you’re self-managing.
Signs, look for them. Not the movie Signs. To really be great at social awareness there are two things you have to get great at: read body language and be great at planned responses. Mastery in social awareness keeps you in a positive playing field of being there for someone else too. This is a great addition to your emotional wellness meter towards the positive when you can see how you help someone else through bad times or reach a goal. You create bonds and you create a feeling of appreciation in others, which gives your emotions a lift.
Lastly, our investment in the relationships we do have around us help to shore up our own emotional wellness. Think about how great it felt to know there was someone in your corner when you needed them. Someone you could depend on and lean into for help. You don’t get those folks in your corner by not investing in them. Paying it forward generally has a way of coming back to you eventually. When you do it for people selflessly of course. Building on future relationships takes the first three elements above and puts them into real time practice.
Work really hard on improving your understanding of yourself first, build on the relationships that come from people being attracted to your self control of your emotions, bring some rational thinking to what’s going on around you socially so you can help others, and never stop getting or giving some feedback to create better management of the emotions you do have.
We’re half way through the dimensions at this point with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to go for the last three. Next up, environmental wellness.