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Emotional Intelligence Theory

Author Linda Janssen

What is emotional intelligence theory? EI is one half of the emotional/social intelligence coin, and is generally focused inside ourselves, looking within ourselves and at our own emotions and actions.

Increased awareness of our feelings and emotions, and managing them better helps with how resilience affects us.

Emotional Intelligence Skills

When are these skills helpful? In a word: always. If you've recently moved to a new country or culture and are feeling disoriented and out of sorts as you go through the expat transition cycle. When your children don't feel understood, act out in frustration or anger, lament that they'll never find friends they'll 'click' with, or feel bullied. Whenever we face change in our life, being in touch with our emotions and feeling good about ourselves are important cornerstones to our behavior.

The key lies in reading our own feelings and emotions to help ourselves act in a healthy and socially acceptable manner as we interface with others.

Ways to Enhance our Emotional Intelligence Skills:

  • Recognize our own state of mind and its impact on our thoughts, perceptions, potential actions
  • Periodically assess what we are thinking and why, especially if we find ourselves feeling negatively (e.g., stressed, angry, frustrated, irritated, jealous, depressed)
  • Feelings can affect thoughts and in turn actions, but we can recognize and rationalize at each step to interrupt, redirect or intervene
  • Don't be too hard on ourselves
  • It is one thing to set challenging goals and objectives and to expect our best effort, but entirely another to be overly demanding or to criticize and berate ourselves for not measuring up
  • We'll find that we are more generous in our assessment of others if we are generous with ourselves
  • We all tend to behave best when others believe in us, so start by practicing self-kindness. Doing so reduces negative feelings that contribute to stress, which can exacerbate feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness and even depression
  • Feeling better about ourselves helps foster feelings of kindness towards others
  • Feeling positively toward someone not only makes it easier to behave more positively toward them, it also allows us to feel better about ourselves
  • Employ positive behaviors and take care of ourselves
  • Make sure to get adequate rest, eat healthy food, exercise moderately and engage in some form of regular reflection or contemplation

Developing Skills in Empathy

If we want to encourage our own positive feelings, thoughts and actions, actively practice the ability to empathize (the capacity to recognize feelings in others):

  1. Consider how they may be feeling and why
  2. Notice their words and deeds, and ask ourselves why they might be acting in that manner
  3. Put ourselves in their place and consider how we would feel in that situation
  4. As empathy grows, so does our capacity for feeling compassion (feeling sympathy for others' misfortunes and even desiring to help alleviate their pain)
  5. When we feel compassion, it becomes easier to act in a helpful manner and harder to act negatively
  6. The release of those chemical endorphins that make us feel good can be triggered both by engaging in physical activity such as brisk walking and exercise AND by helping others
  7. Feeling good about ourselves can result in improved emotional well-being and make us more receptive to feelings of satisfaction and joyfulness
  8. Positive self-feelings are also considered conducive to healing and improved immune function
  9. Feeling positively in general (optimism) leads to becoming more hopeful, forward-looking and future-oriented
  10. When we have things to look forward to, we tend to feel happier and more settled
  11. Gain perspective by looking at the bigger picture
  12. Remember that many challenges and difficulties are temporary
  13. Cultivate patience while we consider actions to improve our situation

Additional Articles:

Linda A. Janssen, M.P.I.A., is an author and expatriate from the United State. She often writes about expat life at her blog Adventures in Expatland. Linda is co-author of the book Turning Points. Her new book about the importance of resilience in expatriate life will be released soon.


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