Then, there is oxytocin, which increases when we connect or bond with others. Mothers increase oxytocin when breastfeeding, or it can also increase in any situation where there is a connection with others. Gaining new social skills with others has a big impact on oxytocin production resulting in feeling connected and even calmer, which leads us onto S for serotonin.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter; when produced, it helps regulate mood and influences social behavior. There may be a link between serotonin and depression and there are several SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that are a kind of psychiatric drug. Serotonin can also be increased through training in emotional intelligence, and we can naturally regulate our mood.
E is for epinephrine, which helps neurons to communicate better with one another. Epinephrine causes an alert state and to be motivated to take action. Motivation is a key marker of EQ and can enhance memory for emotionally arousing events.
Hopefully, you agree that the concept of emotional intelligence is directly linked to your brain’s function. Just as you can learn different things, you can learn to DOSE yourself with the right mix of these neurotransmitters. And as you can become more skilled in the application of EQ tools, you can change how you feel. This requires understanding the five parts of emotional intelligence by using the MARS model:
M is for Motivation, the most vital part. If you do not feel eager to improve your EQ, it simply will not happen. You need a boost of dopamine and epinephrine.
A is for Awareness, your ability to identify how you feel. You cannot change what you can’t observe.
R is for Regulation, being able to change the emotional reaction triggered in your amygdala. This is where the magic starts. Finding control.
S is for Social Awareness and Social Intelligence. Social Awareness is the ability to notice social nuances. Social Intelligence is how we manage relationships, show interest, empathy, and be supportive of others.
Your brain is always emotionally intelligent, trying to get you out of harm’s way. But how does your mind change your feelings? Remember the brain is triggered emotionally by a threat. Once you notice the change in your brain and body, then you can start to train your mind to improve your awareness and become more intelligent at managing how your feelings show up.
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Written by: Justin James Kennedy, Ph.D., D.Prof. Co-authored with Dr. Yelena Akelina, professor of micro-surgery, at Columbia University Originally appeared on: Psychology Today