What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it Important?

Emotional Intelligence is a skill to learn and practice which reduces stress, and leads to a deeper, more fulfilling experience of life.

By Jim Wolfson

All too often most of us are busy thinking and rethinking what is bothering us, sometimes all day long. This leads to an unsettled process of churning that never resolves and leads to stress and anxiety.  By learning to feel our feelings, you can dissolve this cycle and become happier.

The key to reducing anxiety and stress is to intentionally feel your feelings.  This is the essence of Emotional Intelligence. This blog will explain how this process works and why it is so important to your overall health.  

We are thinking more than we are feeling

We live in an age where the left brain is celebrated and the right brain is marginalized.  The left brain is the thinking, reasoning part of us. The right brain is the feeling, intuitive part.  From early on, as children, we have been taught to think, think things through, reason it out. Conversely, most of us were taught to not really give full expressions to our feelings.  “Don’t feel sad. Look at how much you have.” “Big boys don’t cry.” If we really showed our anger, we might be punished.  

The result is that we spent most of our time thinking, all day long, often without paying that much attention to the actual content of our thoughts.  And we do not spend much time paying attention to how we feel. Oftentimes when I ask someone how they feel, they answer something like this: “I think I’m ok.”  

Our emotions are an enormous part of who we are

We are so outward focused almost all the time.  There is so much we might pay attention to. What we see, hear, taste.  News and technology. Other people we connect with. It is seemingly endless.  

But there is an equally infinite sea of stimuli, feelings, sensations, dreams, longings, intuitions that are inside of us.  This inner part is going on all the time. It is always available to us, although we focus so little on it. Imagine if you paid even a quarter of the attention you devote to the outside world on your inner universe!  

Feeling our feelings heals us

Why would you choose to pay more attention to your insides, to your feelings?  Quite simply because feeling what we feel, paying attention to our insides more, and less to our thoughts, leads to a feeling of wholeness and fulfillment.  Letting ourselves deeply feel our sadness and grief, for example, rather than prolonging the sadness, actually lets us integrate it and lets it pass through us.   In order to get over something, we have to experience it and go through it. By letting our emotions pass through, we become more present and available to what is happening next, letting us respond more truly and authentically.  

Becoming more emotionally intelligent leads to fulfillment and reduces anxiety

The continual thinking and churning that we often engage in leads to stress and anxiety.  By paying more attention to our inner experience, and feeling our feelings, we can let them pass through resulting in a more calm presence and availability for what is next in life.  

Take the next step by reading How to Feel Your Emotions 


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