Emotionally competent people are more successful and more content with life. What skills are needed for this and how you can work on them.
Are you empathetic? Can you talk about your feelings and emotionally detach yourself, too? How we perceive or deal with emotions defines how we interact with ourselves as well as with other people.
Being emotionally competent or emotionally intelligent means having a whole host of skills and abilities. Compassion falls under the ability to communicate – or to motivate yourself. According to the latest scientific findings, these skills contribute significantly to personal and professional success as well as to one’s own well-being.
Emotionally competent people tend to handle conflicts constructively. They can maintain strong relationships and friendships, and look after themselves – and are therefore often seen as being satisfied and well-adjusted. The following five skills are some of the most crucial here.
Self-awareness is the first step towards self-discovery. You need to be aware of and identify your feelings before you then move on to managing them. The difference between simply experiencing and identifying a feeling is demonstrated most clearly when we overreact while under stress. By training your self-awareness and more consciously perceiving your feelings, you can more actively manage and control your own reactions in challenging situations.
Being empathetic means being able to understand other people’s feelings. It’s putting yourself into the situations and perspectives of others and responding in an appropriate manner. It’s about showing understanding and respect for the actions and thoughts of others. As such, learning empathy has a lot to do with sensing and observing.
Have a go at the following:
Feelings and emotions can motivate us. We can try to positively influence our emotions with thoughts. Is something annoying or upsetting you? Use this feeling. Those who can motivate themselves will always find the strength to continue and have a greater frustration tolerance. All positive experiences are registered in a special region of our brain: the reward centre. It then releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which triggers feelings of satisfaction, joy and happiness. The reward system also kicks in when you have overcome a challenging situation. After all, stress hormones lead to increased physical and mental activity and tension. These same hormones can stimulate the body to produce dopamine – which, in turn, makes us happy. What was initially a negative, stressful event is then re-evaluated and stored as something positive through these feelings of happiness.
Being socially competent means being able to identify the feelings of others and to deal with these in a practical manner. People with social skills can strike up and maintain relationships with others. They circumvent conflict effectively, have management qualities and are capable of forming and leading teams.
Good communication skills are part of emotional competence. These include being able to express yourself clearly and make yourself understood, and thereby convey your concerns and needs in a comprehensible way, but also actively listen to other people and take what they say seriously.
How emotions arise, where our body holds them and why food is always good for the soul: find answers to these and other interesting facts in our “Ratgeber” edition on emotions. Order a free print edition or download the PDF here.
Please note: Ratgeber is not available in English, but in German, French and Italian.
Astrid Gabriel, an expert in this field, provided the editorial team with advice and input for this article. Ms Gabriel is a resilience trainer as well as a coach and consultant. She works for the Helsana health consultation and assists customers with questions relating to exercise and counselling.