Practicing Emotional Intelligence During COVID

During this coronavirus outbreak, emotions and uncertainty are warranted as all of us seek peace. Having Emotional Intelligence means being aware of your feelings and how they affect you. You can also understand how others experience and interpret your feelings. This makes someone easy to be around because of this level of understanding. The opposite of this is when humans resort to emotions of fear and self-preservation to feel safe in times of emotional stress. These are common responses in any crisis. 

You need not look far for disagreements of differences in science, politics or leadership during  COVID. The stakes in this debate can be life or death. Emotional Intelligence is crucial now because people are tapped into their most visceral emotions and level of concern for themselves and their loved ones. We may even discount those that disagree with us if we perceive them as dangerous to our way of life. If taken to extremes, this  fosters contempt for someone who thinks differently.

The greatest tool of Emotional Intelligence to quel negative reactions is the practice of empathy-Having knowledge of others’ experience and responding with genuine concern. I am trained in crisis intervention and provide mental health counseling. Authenticity, empathy, concern, compassion and lack of judgement builds bridges to understanding. These skills heal by providing opportunities for communication.

  Sharpen Your Emotional Intelligence:

  • Do not demean others’ personhood even if they choose not to follow protocols. Shaming is not effective. Connect to the human aspect of people, even if they don’t align with your political, economic or educational beliefs.
  • Do good work for the community now more than ever.
  • Your body and mind need time to adjust to change & loss. Be verbal about your struggles and share this with people you trust.
  • Focus on how you respond – tone, intention, and timing are everything.
  •  Seek acceptance of a new normal instead of a return to “before.” This can increase healing.
  • Allow others room for pain and recognize we are all forced to figure this out now.

I do not advocate for ultimate passivity or the lowering of standards. We can only control our actions. Influence over others is greatly decreased when shame, social pressure or verbal aggressions are present. Don’t focus on converting others to your way of thinking, instead, prevent further emotional distance of disagreements from happening by using empathy. Take the highest role in social responsibility and take precautions to elevate your risk and this in turn helps all who come in contact with you. 

Emotional Intelligence offers opportunities for de-escalation in disagreement and an increased  level of understanding even during the most difficult times. Although this is one hell of a way to practice, we are learning to be resilient together.