The Strength of a Woman on Women's Day

Hello all you lovely women out there! Here’s wishing all of you a very Happy International Women’s Day. Let’s celebrate this day by getting in touch with the beautiful energy that we bring into this world. An energy that nurtures, loves, cares and supports. The energy which keeps us and the world around us alive and in, well, motion – emotion! Yes, let’s understand what emotional intelligence is, why it is so important for us and how we can be more emotionally intelligent. After all, it is that one gift that the fairer sex is known to have more of! And it is also one that is responsible for happiness in life and relationships, the drive that we need to fulfil our goals in life and be successful and the confidence to stand up for ourselves. Precisely what this day talks about!

So what is Emotional Intelligence? Why is it so important? What does it comprise of? What barriers do we face while practicing it? How can we be more emotionally intelligent? Let’s answer some of these questions through a special Women’s Day story. Ready? Here goes…

Charu’s Story

Charu was working in the capacity of a VP in the Sales & Marketing department of an MNC. She had reached this level after a lot of hard work over the last 10 years and was way ahead of her peers in climbing the corporate ladder. She was handling a pan India team of 300 executives.

Charu was also a mother to a 3-year-old child, a wife, a daughter to two senior citizens and a sister to a younger brother who is in the last year of engineering.

Her day used to start at 5am and end by midnight. And the time that she was able to give to interactions with all these people around her had reduced drastically. It now typically ranged from 1 minute to a maximum of 5 minutes per person.

Charu juggling multiple responsibilities

Over a period of time, this juggling between multiple roles, had left Charu feeling burned out. Her behaviour with people around had also started changing. The minute there was any conflict, deliverables not being met on time or even longer explanations from the opposite side; she would lose her cool. She would get snappy, rude, sarcastic and at times, even go into long periods of silence. Her facial expressions and overall body language would also speak volumes about her irritation. She was always in a hurry. At home, she felt too exhausted to do any work and always woke up feeling as if she had not slept well.

And then…

One day Charu was called by Abhay, HOD Marketing for a conversation. Abhay shared some of the offline feedback he received about Charu’s behaviour in the office with her colleagues and juniors during an informal get together.

At the beginning, Charu tried to justify herself. However, after a brief period of silence, tears start rolling down her cheeks. She acknowledged that she was stressed. It was getting difficult for her to handle multiple responsibilities and she was losing her emotional and mental balance. She shared that her patience levels were really bad, and she was getting anxious over even the smallest issues.

Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, it will resonate with a number of you in some way or the other. And it’s not just with those women who are working. Even those who are homemakers have a lot of stress nowadays. Having to play multiple roles at home itself, they too are experiencing this kind of emotional distress.

So, if your answer was yes, then what’s coming next may be of help to you.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Based on scientific research, our brain consists of a tiny almond like part called the Amygdala. This is responsible for generating emotions in our body.

The almond shaped Amygdala

The Amygdala stores emotional memories and is responsible for triggering emotional reactions and responses within our body during such emotional events. Its action takes place so fast, within a split of a second, that we are practically unaware of the reaction, except in hindsight. The result? We end up shouting, hitting, snapping, abusing, swearing, going silent, etc.

Now this instinct was quite helpful when we were hunter gatherers. It saved us from attacking predators by providing us the energy to attack or run from the animal.

In our current urbanised environment, however, such threats to our life have significantly reduced. No longer do we have animals prying around nor the need to keep ourselves safe from them. The need now, is in fact, to actually respond with calmness and rational thinking to other daily threatful situations. These could be conflict of opinions, trying to complete tasks within the stipulated deadlines, reaching office/ meetings on time, small disappointments, multitasking, etc. And although these are not a threat to our lives, our Amygdala thinks otherwise! Our ancestral animal instinct kicks in and the Amygdala does what it is supposed to. It throws us into an emotional reaction.

Emotional intelligence is about:
1. Getting aware of this reactive mechanism working within us
2. Identifying our emotional triggers – people and situations
3. Learning how to gradually manage these triggers effectively

Why is Emotional Intelligence so important?

Daniel Goleman, a leading author, has shared in his book, that Emotional Intelligence is going to be one of the top skills that humans will need to develop and practice to be successful in and beyond the 21st century.

Daniel Goleman Book on Emotional Intelligence

Some of the reasons for the same are:

1) To be happy and at peace with oneself – No one wants to be upset, angry, irritable or even destructive towards themselves or those around them. We all want to be loving and happy.

2) For creating healthy and lasting relations with others around – Man is a social animal and therefore lives in groups. Therefore, working on creating harmony in a group is definitely worthwhile!

3) To be able to handle crisis effectively – We all want a rational, thinking mind over a reactive one. And that can only happen once we become more emotionally intelligent.

4) EQ is taking over IQ – Artificial Intelligence, the Internet and Automation are making the need for us to be intelligent less. But emotions are an area that they will definitely take time to master and one that we realise, we cannot do without!

5) The Body and Mind connect – Emotions directly influence our physical health. In fact, they say stress actually accounts for 99% of the illnesses in the world. Therefore, to be healthy, it is equally important to maintain our mental. emotional and physical health.

These are just some of the reasons why we need to get our Emotional Intelligence levels up. And why do we struggle with it? Let me tell you in Part 2 of our Women’s Day gift…

See you soon and try to keep an eye on your Amygdala, our secret friend!

"Emotional Intelligence: Our Woman’s Day Gift – 1" - By The Yellow Spot - - No Comments