C25k for emotional intelligence
November 29, 2016 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Are there any systems for learning how to develop self/social awareness/management skills? Ones where I can track my progress?

Hi Mefites! I have been trying to develop my EQ for a while now. I think I'm improving, but I'm not too sure LOL because this whole skill is so vaguely defined!!

I picked up the Travis Bradberry Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book a few years ago, and I have worked through the exercises, but I didn't really enjoy them - they were more habits than exercises.

I am actually looking for something that I can spend maybe 90 minutes on every week, and really focus on, like flow state level, hyperfocus, focus. Do you guys have any resources for tasks/exercises I could do every so often that would help me develop my EQ? Preferably difficult-ish exercises that would demand a lot of attention?

I understand that Daniel Goleman's definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) includes 4 quadrants or 4 separate skills:
- Self awareness
- Self management
- Social awareness
- Social management.

So exercises on any/all of those 4 skills would be welcome!

Thanks!! :)
posted by Crookshanks_Meow to Human Relations (4 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you've done a great job researching! Perhaps it's time to put your skills into practice? After all, the point of emotional intelligence is to help you interact and empathize with other people. Studying EQ in isolation will only take you so far. If you're ready for "field" work, take it IRL — you could keep a journal and focus on one new skill a week, documenting your experiences and what you've learned.

+ Volunteer with a community organization.
+ Study the art and thinking of people outside your social identity circles.
+ Talk to strangers, practice active listening.
+ Babysit. Garden. Cook for others. Watch pets. Care for the elderly, sick, disabled, hungry, lonely.
+ Start a meetup; leadership skills.

Have you read MeFi's emotional labor thread? Here's a condensed version. As you go through, consider your everyday relationships. How can you change your behavior and thought patterns to be more sensitive, aware and supportive?

Look up CBT & DBT exercises. Mindfulness, self-soothing & emotional regulation skills are really empowering.
posted by fritillary at 6:19 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

So when I think of "flowstate" activities, I think of myself when I'm coding or very involved in troubleshooting -- hyperfocused on a specific problem or task that takes me inward to bring things inside my head into a connected state. I feel like EQ-related activities are the opposite of that -- they're interrupt-driven, outwardly-focused, forcing me outward to make connections and guiding things outside myself to a connected state.

I am not sure there are any flowstate-type activities you can do by yourself that will work to improve your EQ. It's not a study, it's a practice, and the practice of improving EQ pretty much by definition involves interaction with other people.

If you're a tech person used to flowstate-style activities to bring you to a higher understanding or practice, try something like yoga or guided meditation for a start. Try learning another (verbal) language and practicing it with someone who speaks that language but is trying to learn English -- watch movies in that language with English subtitles. Try an intense, focused, physical, group activity like Crossfit or a just-for-fun team sport like soccer or softball. Do you play an instrument? Try playing with other people. I feel like these are all good flowstate activities that cross boundaries between IQ and EQ.

If you have to start solo, maybe start doing something theatrical by yourself in the privacy of your own home. Read a play. Try to understand the motivations of each character. Try reading plays or TV/film scripts (you can find them online a lot of times) from the part of different characters. Try to understand and project the feelings of each role.

I'm a pretty good people manager (or so I'm told) in a pretty technical field. I think the fact that I read, play guitar, sing, listen to music, speak a couple languages, and force myself to interact with other people on a regular basis helps with this.
posted by erst at 8:38 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously. You'll be surprised how much it helps with all of this, and it is kind of the ultimate 'focus / flowstate' activity.
posted by ananci at 9:58 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Babysitting? Oh, wait, I'm late to the game with that one. It's a good one, though--going all in on paying attention and interacting with babies or kids can be demanding in a flow state way that interacting with adults is not.

But "EQ" is so generic-- maybe you'd get better advice if you talked about why you think you need to improve yours, and what you hope to get out of it. "Get promotions at work" might be a very different skill set than "feel at peace with myself when I write in my gratitude journal at night."

That said, I recently installed MoodKit on my phone (this f*cking year, man), and it will walk you through CBT-style thought checkers, mood trackers, and activities to build social skills (among other skills such as health and productivity habits). Take a look at the app- it's not "sit down for 90 minutes" kind of stuff, but it is an "in your pocket" EQ reference and skill builder.
posted by instamatic at 4:45 AM on November 30, 2016

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