When it comes to self care, do you skip the steps that might involve emotional work? Many people don’t realize that emotional intelligence is a big part of self-care, happiness, and overall mental health.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is defined as “…is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s),” and was popularized by Daniel Goleman in a book of the same name.
The truth is, emotional health is a huge contributor to our overall sense of well-being and happiness; so if you’re ignoring negative feelings or burying them, or refusing to deal with them, you’re impacting your mental health every day.
So in order to practice proper self-care, here are 12 easy steps you can take to improve your emotional intelligence and increase your happiness:
1. Communicate how you’re feeling.
Talk about your emotions with a trusted friend, or write them down. You’ll feel lighter, and that way your feelings get validated.
2. Don’t fixate on the negatives.
Staring at a roadblock won’t move you forward … focus on what’s positive and possible to reduce stress, increase motivation and create positive change.
3. Make an action plan to problem solve.
Break down the stressful situation into small steps that are doable and take action to get each step sorted.
4. Take self-care seriously.
It’s not “airy-fairy.” It’s a scientifically proven skill to decrease stress and enhance wellbeing, and it starts with you taking care of your sleep, diet, exercise, and alcohol intake.
5. Stay connected with friends and loved ones.
Hiding away doesn’t fix anything and will only make things worse.
6. Acknowledge the issue.
Denying there’s a problem doesn’t make it go away. It just prolongs the resolution.
7. Be #TeamYou.
Don’t wait for others to encourage and uplift you … Be that person for yourself to and watch how your emotional state improves.
8. Remember your brilliance.
Remind yourself of the times you did great — because guess what? You’ve done it before and you can do it again.
9. Laughter is the best medicine.
It’s not a cliché. It’s supported by extensive research. Watch funny YouTube videos or stand-up comedy … It’ll elevate your mood when you’re feeling down.
10. Stop being so tough on yourself.
Self-compassion is a better motivator than self-criticism, so treat yourself as you would your best friend.
11. Factor in fun.
Life isn’t just about work or study. Make time in your daily schedule to do things that bring you joy and your productivity will increase.
12. Get professional support.
That’s an act of courage, not weakness. You’ll get valuable information and insight to better deal with situations now and in the future.
Written by Miya Yamanouchi Originally appeared in YourTango