Creating a world where all people can express themselves responsibly sounds like a dream. If this became reality, our world would be a different place.
So how do we help increase young people’s emotional intelligence so they learn how to take responsibility for their words as well as their actions? We can help them by increasing their self-awareness and self-care.
When we practice self-awareness during the day, it helps us with personal regulation and self-management. Without these practices, we are susceptible to over-reacting, saying things we do not mean, behaving in ways we are not proud of, projecting and blaming others when it’s we ourselves that need to pause and reflect.
This is the third in a series on the school’s role in design and implementation of healthy school initiatives in the communities, towns and large cities across America written by Dr. WiSH – (William S. Hesse, Ph.D.), and co-authors Cindy Boyum, Dr. Ann Davis, Shannon Woodruff, Mark Kesler, Jen Guerrette, Ryan Backstrom, Lora Potter, Kylene Bogden, Dr. Chris Lineberry of “The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation” available at CorePurposeConsulting.com.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions,” according to Salovey and Mayer (1990 – p. 189).
They suggest there are individual differences in the way affective information is processed, and that emotional and cognitive information may be processed in different ways.
Emotional intelligence competencies and skills
There are three major models of emotional intelligence from researchers Mayer and Salovey (1990; 1997), Bar-On (2000; 2006), and Goleman (1998). Below is a synopsis of their five main competencies with skills associated with each competency:
Self-awareness and self-expression
- Accurately perceive, understand and accept oneself
- Be alert to your feelings
- Effectively and constructively express one’s emotions and oneself
- Be self-reliant and free of emotional dependency on others
- Strive to achieve personal goals and actualize oneself
Self-regulation: Managing your feelings
- Effectively and constructively manage feelings and emotions
- Effectively and constructively control feelings and emotions
Motivation: Using feelings to help achieve goals
- Be positive and look on the brighter side of life
- Feel content with oneself, others, and life in general
Social awareness and relationships
- Be aware of and understand how others feel
- Identify with one’s social group and cooperate with others
- Establish mutually satisfying relationships and
- Relate well with others
- Objectively validate one’s feelings and thinking with external reality
- Adapt and adjust one’s feelings and thinking to new situations
- Effectively solve problems of a personal and interpersonal nature
Emotional eating: An author-added component that we will cover in our Nutritional article coming soon.
- Your emotions are your feelings: joy, sorrow, love, hate and guilt.
- Recognize these feelings to avoid an urge to eat
- It is common to confuse emotional hunger with real hunger
How to express yourself responsibly
When working with youth and professionals who work with youth, it is imperative we help set everyone up to be Response – ABLE (the ability to behave/speak calmly and respectfully) instead of ReACTive (intense behavior/language).
- Knowing yourself completely is difficult and it is almost impossible to look at yourself objectively, so seek input from those who know you. Ask them where your strengths and weaknesses lie, write down what they say and compare it. Look for patterns and remember not to argue with them. This activity will help you gauge your perception from another person’s point of view.
- Journaling and/or keeping a diary is a great way to get an accurate gauge of yourself. Start by writing down what happened to you at the end of every day, how it made you feel and how you dealt with it. Documenting details like these will make you more aware of what you are doing and will highlight potential triggers of problem areas. Be sure to look for trends over time.
- Take the time to understand what motivates and drives you. What do you look forward to in life? Understanding your motivation factors will keep you from derailing and will help you learn how to express your needs.
- Practice self-awareness and self-care daily. When looking at self-care, try using the acronym HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. When one or all of these are in play, we become reactive instead of responsive. When someone is hungry, angry/emotionally charged, lonely/feeling disconnected or tired/physical fatigue, their ability to respond in a respective, self-aware and self-responsible way is nearly impossible.
Envision HALT as four legs on a table. If one of the legs is out, let’s say Hungry, no one really realizes you are not stable until they apply pressure or stress. They find out later after you become reactive.
If two or more legs of your table are out, you are in a high reactive state and others will find out quickly that you are not feeling like yourself and are reactive to almost anything that comes your way.
Being prepared before a stressful situation occurs is considered being self-responsible.
- A busy life with multiple deadlines, lack of sleep, proper eating, and exercise can trigger emotional outbreaks. Make a conscious effort to slow down, pause, and process how you are feeling. A little escapism works wonder to help us express ourselves responsibly. Being proactive and determining what your preferences are in a trigger state of mind before it happens is one of the answers to staying calm in stressful situations.
- Use positive thoughts and an optimistic mindset to keep you motivated. See problems and setbacks as learning opportunities instead of failings and avoid negative people when possible. Surround yourself with positive, well-motivated people – they will have a great effect on you.
- For an instant short-term boost enabling positive self-expression, take a stand and stretch out as far as you can for 10 seconds. This strategy helps clear the mind and helps to center you.
- The idea of practicing expressing yourself responsibly might sound strange, but like everything in life, practice makes perfect.
What to avoid:
- Conforming to the pressure of peers
Connecting emotional intelligence with physical activity: Building a Healthy School Culture.
Building a healthy school culture is a great way to increase emotional intelligence as it has many forms. The “Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation” is the most comprehensive and virtual foundation for support and inspiration to achieve this success on the market today.
If culture can determine the success of a school, creating a healthy school culture with the means to connect physical activity before, during and after school can considerably increase the components that make up high levels of emotional intelligence. The act of physical activity offers many benefits besides the obvious cardio and physical health benefits. Physical activity incorporates mindfulness, concentration, problem solving, being aware of one’s emotions as well as facing challenges in ways that can develop self-regulation skills and practice emotional intelligence as a whole.
Physical activity also helps engage intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which is the backbone of emotional intelligence and ultimately setting yourself up for success. Many characteristics of emotional intelligence and physical activity are intertwined and connect directly to daily life applications.
For an example, look at one of the great sports heroes of this era. LeBron James, connects his performance on the basketball court to the mindfulness he is able to achieve before, during and after his games. Many club and high school coaches across the country are using techniques of mindfulness, imagery and concentration, and professionals, such as Core Purpose Consulting, implement these techniques of emotional self-control to achieve peak performance for athletes.
We suggest practicing emotional intelligence and doing physical activity each day. The correlation of the two emphasizes the synergistic improvement of not only physical attributes, but the social, emotional and psychology that reflects one’s own quality of life.
For instance, a school that builds a healthy culture using all the components of the Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation and the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community Model (Core Purpose Consulting’s Dr. Lineberry is a featured administrator in those videos launched school wide in 2019), such as physical activity, nutrition, social & emotional climate, equity, healthy classroom, school, leadership and community will build the foundation for individuals to self-regulate, demonstrate effective decision-making, and positively contain emotions to positively enhance performance inside and outside the classroom. A healthy school culture is proven to increase academic performance, improve student engagement, and at the same time lower discipline referrals.
Pick up your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation at CorePurposeConsulting.com and continue to build your healthy school culture that works for your school.
Healthy School Guide introduction video
Setting up for success: Be the BOSS
A simple tool to help become self-aware is the BOSS concept. We all are our own boss, and we are responsible for ourselves and our reactions. The BOSS concept stands for Breathe, Observe, Self-care, Self responsibility. When we are experiencing a situation, which is triggering and upsetting to us, it is imperative we are able to take a moment to ground ourselves before moving forward.
Breathe: Take a moment to slow down your body and nervous system by taking 5-10 deep breaths.
Observe: Take a couple minutes to observe the situation with a little bit of a distance. Instead of standing in the “storm” step back and see the situation from a different angle. In the Healthy Schools Guide refer to Powerhouse Tools 1 and 2 for extra support for your students.
Self-care: This piece is one that is often overlooked when helping youth express themselves. When we have a higher level of self-care, we are more prepared for stressful situations and therefore more Respons-ABLE in all situations. Use the self-care awareness worksheet in the Healthy School Guide as a support tool for your students.
Self-responsible: This is the time where you own your part in the experience, see where you could have improved, make a request, and gain clarity for a better outcome. In the Healthy Schools Guide refer to Powerhouse Tools 1 and 2 for extra support for your students.
The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation can be purchased at CorePurposeConsulting.com
Our MISSION at Core Purpose Consulting is to revolutionize education by shifting the focus to the whole child. By helping schools to achieve healthy school and community environments, movement driven learning concepts, educational equity, healthy leadership, physical education and activity programs, nutrition programs, and complete active school programming.
Our VISION… Connecting… Inspiring… Revolutionizing.
Whether you are a new healthy school, a developing healthy school or a healthy school that excels already, The Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Design and Implementation is customizable to meet your school’s needs.
If at any time you need assistance with any aspect, feel free to contact us. Our team is also available to assist with trainings and professional development needs specific to each module. We are happy to help make your school’s “WiSH” come true.
Bar-On, R. (2000). Emotional and social intelligence: Insights from the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). In Bar-On, R. and Parker, J.D.A., eds. The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: theory, development, assessment and application at home, school and in the workplace, San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass, 363-388.
Bar-On, R. (2006). The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI). Psicothema,18,13-25.
Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence, New York City: Bantam Books.
Salovey, P. and Mayer, J.D. (1990). Emotional Intelligence, Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9(3), 185-211.