How do you define emotional intelligence? How can teachers use it to help students deal with our complicated world? How can people incorporate its principles in their everyday lives so that it begins to shape their relationships and outlook on the future? These are some of the questions posed by host Lee Elci of “News Now” WJJF-FM, broadcasting to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island.
Highlights are below, or listen to the whole interview here:
Lee Elci: So what is emotional intelligence?
Josh Freedman: Emotional intelligence means being smarter with feelings. If someone is good at math, they can pick up math data accurately and solve problems with numbers. Likewise, if people are good at emotional intelligence, they can use emotional data to solve problems. Stress is one of those emotional challenges. If you’re better at emotions, you’re better at handling stress.
Lee Elci: Can you use emotional intelligence to be better at school?
Josh Freedman: Yes, first let’s look at it for the teachers’ perspective. Let’s say you are a teacher and you just had an argument with your spouse. You’ re upset, and you go into the classroom and many students haven’t done their homework. Are you going to be a good teacher? But if you can understand your emotions, you can decide how you are going to show up in the classroom.
Six Seconds has an eLearning course to teach teachers how to use emotional intelligence, and another for parents, to help them use emotions to be better at their jobs. See those on EQ.org
Lee Elci: In school you’re fighting all the stresses of social life, how you dress, etc. It’s got to be hard on kids right now.
Josh Freedman: The amount of complexity kids are facing has really gone up. The list of stressors for kids are much more complex. Stress in general has gone up 30%. It’s time to get serious about this: We’ve put kids into a very complicated situation, so we have to give them the skills to navigate their world.
Lee Elci: Is it social media driven?
Josh Freedman: Yes, the amount of input has increased exponentially. For example, kids in Japan are shamed if they don’t immediately respond to a peer’s posting. Kids are facing continuous pressure and that just makes it harder to cope.
Lee Elci: How can people use emotional intelligence to handle conflict better?
Josh Freedman: The first thing is to notice your emotions. Your feelings are present and real. Even if you don’t want them, you have them. We are taught to push them aside, but that doesn’t work. We are in a battle with ourselves. The first step is to acknowledge what is. You’re upset. Frustrated. I am feeling that. Let me pay attention to that. Step 2 is to ask; “Do I have any choices?”
When we really ask ourselves that, we can get creative. I can hide out in a coffee shop, I can take a deep breath, I can calm down. I have choices. I could talk to someone. There are multiple ways to deal with whatever is going on . Once you start using this, you will start to see there are many ways to deal with a situation. There’s a great introduction to this process on our website, 6seconds.org, called Getting Started with Emotional Intelligence.