How to Improve Our Emotional Intelligence

Growing up we were taught that our IQ score would determine how intelligent we are. The higher the IQ the more successful we would be in life.

However, there is more to intelligence than the intellectual level. In fact, most successful leaders, such as billionaire Warren Buffet does not have a higher IQ than the rest of us. Instead he shows a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, (EI) is the ability to control and express our emotions in a clear and well thought out manner, while also having the ability to recognize emotions in others.

Individuals who have high levels of emotional intelligence are good listeners who show empathy to others. They are a person that others seek out for support or advice due to their compassion and open mind. Due to having their emotions under control they are also adaptable to change and able to express themselves clearly.

Now, we may be asking, how do we improve our emotional intelligence?

The best method out there is to practice mindful meditation.

Mindful meditation is being aware and staying in the present moment. In other words, let go of the past and stop thinking about the future. Just simply enjoy and pay attention to this present moment we are in.

According to John Darwin from the Centre for Mindful Life Enhancement, “Regular practice of mindfulness meditation can enhance our ability to understand our own emotions” By calming the mind through meditation, our ability increases to recognize our own emotions.

As we begin to become aware of our emotions, we are able to recognize and control them under intense or upsetting situations. This allows us to think deeply upon our actions and words before subconsciously blurting them out.

This is one of the main reasons why highly emotional intelligent people are more successful in the workplace and build more meaningful and beneficial relationships with others.

The best part is that we can practice mindful mediation any time and any place.

Mindful meditation doesn’t require any special instructions.

Find a comfortable pose in a quiet space and choose any amount of time.

Relax the body, (including facial muscles) and close the eyes. It may be helpful to play calm music or concentrate on the breath, as a tool for staying in the present moment.

Think of daily mediation practice as important as preparing for a meeting or test.

This daily practice will lead to a higher level of emotional intelligence, which only increases our ability to find success and happiness in our lives.

Does the Weather Affect Our Body?

I remember being 8 years old, sitting on the front porch with my grandma on a summer afternoon.

“It’s going to rain,” My grandma spoke out-load as she touched her rigid knees. “I can feel it in my bones.”

I looked down at her wide arthritic fingers rubbing her smooth knees and wondered if she could really feel something…or was just saying things.

My grandma said a lot of things.

“If you don’t clean your ears…corn will start growing out of them.”

“I saw video of what you did on the news.” She matter of factly stated, when she assumed we did something wrong but couldn’t prove it.

“Purple is the color of death.” She said whenever we had anything purple on.

“Put that candy bar down, you’ll get acne.”

So, when my grandma said she could feel the rain in her bones…I seriously doubted it.

Later that night as I was sitting around the coffee table, I began to hear the soft patter of rain hitting the roof of our house.

Bewildered, I got up and peaked through the blinds.

“My grandma is a weather psychic.”

A lot of time has passed since this moment.

I was reminded of it a few days ago when rain began to suddenly down pour here in Phoenix.

A few days before, I noticed that it was painful for me to move my left hand. When I tried making a fist, my hand curled in slowly and it felt tight.

I shrugged it off, chalking it up to too much typing and hoped it would just go away.

But now, as I sat at my desk with the sudden rain drops hitting the window, the memory of my grandmother came into my mind.

I made a fist with my left hand and now found it easier and less painful to do.

“Did I feel the rain coming on?” I thought to myself. “Is this a real thing?”

What is it about the weather that affects our bodies?

While I was hoping the answer would be that I have a magic power, I learned this wasn’t the case.

Oddly enough, the answer is actually due to the barometric pressure.

The pressure change in the air, also changes the pressure on our joints. For this reason, joint pain can occur; especially for those who suffer from arthritis.

The pressure change can cause headaches for people as well.

While there is no “cure” to this barometric pressure phenomenon…luckily, the effects are only temporary.

Preventive Care

If this happens, the best thing to do is to relax our bodies.

If our muscles are tight the pain may increase. For this reason, you will want to keep them loose and comfortable.

Keeping these joints warm with a heating pad or blanket should help reduce pain and also aids in relaxation.

So, next time that feeling of pain sets in, relax and grab the umbrella.

Abandoning Perfectionism

Since the introduction of smart phones and social media the desire to be perfect has increased in our culture. While it’s a positive to set goals and aim high, it can turn negative if you begin to feel contradictory emotions while on the journey to achieve the end goal.

It boils down to adaptability and positive self-talk.

For example, if a non-perfectionist makes a mistake, they can feel let down but also recognize that mistakes are normal and are willing to use it as a learning tool. In other words, they do not self-depreciate themselves when a mistake is made.

On the other side, a perfectionist will feel like a failure and frustrated by a mistake. Or they may be so scared to actually make a mistake that don’t even take action. This causes this type of person to become vulnerable to mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, frustration and other negative disorders.

Signs of Perfectionist

  • Fearing you’ll be judged for imperfections
  • Unwilling to make mistakes
  • Social withdraw
  • Lack of self-care, due to overworking
  • Actions resulting in bad quality of life.

Treatments

  • Break big goals into smaller goals
  • Start with a small goal such as, organizing your closet. Instead of giving it 100% do it at about 80% and experiment with accepting it.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Seek professional help
Be kind to yourself

So remember, it’s not perfect to be perfect. We all make mistakes which are necessary for learning and growing. Life’s a journey and while you cannot control obstacles in your path you can choose how to handle them.

Do you want to handle your thoughts poorly or do want to handle them positively?

Tips for Creating New Workout Habits

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall.  The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

This seems especially true when it comes to working out.

Working out can be one of the top activities where you can find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it. (Just like the tennis shoe!)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.

Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit

The first thing is to get real with yourself and set realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.

In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!

Don’t do this on your first day back at the gym!

Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!

Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do.  That’s how every single human on this planet behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.

In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself  for every week you accomplish your work out goals.

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Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.

Types of Rewards

This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing, make the reward better.

So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.

Make Your New Habit Fun

It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do. Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!

Meal Planning & Meal Prepping

If it wasn’t for meal planning and prepping, I would be a complete unhealthy mess and probably be slamming down an entire package of pita bread right about now.

By planning out your weekly meals, it cuts out the excuse to eat out and answers the question of, “what’s for dinner?”.  By planning out your meals and then prepping them for the week, it will be easier to stay on the healthier and ultimately happier side of life.

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Enter a caption

So ask yourself the question, do you want a much smoother transition to healthy eating while also practicing responsible portion control?

While the act of meal planning and prepping can take up some hours on your actual prep day, it does allow more free time during the week. Plus, the more you make planning and prepping a habitual habit, the quicker and easier you will get at preparing it.

So before you hit up the grocery store, really think about what it is you want to make for the week. Write it down or look up healthy recipes online on the foods your craving. Then write down the ingredients you don’t have, and voila! You have your grocery list!

grocery cart with item

Also before prepping you are going to want to find or buy food storage containers. Some with dividers and are microwavable would be ideal. Make sure you have enough for all your lunches or for anything else you want to store separately for convenience.

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to prep! Depending on what you are making, you may or may not be able to make the entire meal and then store it in the fridge (to be heated up later). If this is a meal that needs to be cooked or assembled on the day you are eating it, then prep everything for that meal. Try to do as much as you possibly can to have the meal close to being complete. This means cutting up your veggies, cooking noodles or anything else similar to that.

tray of vegetables

It becomes less complicated the less meals you are making. So if you find this to be overwhelming, maybe decide to eat the same thing three or two times a week. That way you can just make a bigger portion of the meal, instead of all separate meals.

For myself, I’m able to eat the same thing every week for breakfast and lunch, so that makes my prepping easier. For my dinners, I rotate between two different dinners on every other day, so it’s very manageable to prep. I also choose two snacks for the day, and try to keep it at 100 calories each.

Hopefully this process helps you out. You can put in hours at the gym and burn calories but you also have to watch what you eat. By meal planning and meal prepping it allows you to consciously think about your food and to make the smarter choices.

I would love to hear what you guys think of this? Have you tried meal prepping before? It did work for you, or not? What are some of your favorite things to prep, or what do you think would be convenient to prep?

Can You Tell Whether a Person is Healthy or Not?

When you hear the word, “healthy person” what do you picture?

A bodybuilder?

A perfectly fit person exercising at the gym barely breaking a sweat?

Anyone who you consider to be “skinny”?

fitness power man person
Is this bodybuilder really healthy? Or is he hopped up on the roids?! We don’t know…

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

Therefore, your size and weight doesn’t matter. I’ll say it again. Your size and weight doesn’t matter.

woman holding white laptop between women
Your size and weight do not matter

If you survive on an unhealthy diet and don’t move around much….you’re going to become unhealthy, if you’re not already.

Those who exercise and eat healthy on a regular basis are likely going to be physically healthier than the rest.

So the first step to become healthy is to eat healthy foods and to get up and move around.

I know, it sounds easier said than done.  I completely understand.

But the hard core truth is that if you want to become healthier than that’s what needs to be done.

two woman doing exercise
Be the healthiest version of yourself that you can be

So next time you feel like playing the game of who’s healthy and who’s not…take a look at how often that person moves and what it is that they are eating. Those are the real qualities to look for whether a person is healthy or not.