Emotional intelligence applied to anxiety management

Anxiety issues are a constant in the lives of many people, but common issues aren’t inevitable either. The truth is that human beings have a significant ability to deal with their emotional states, and with proper preparation it is possible to suffer much less from the effects of excessive anxiety.

Yes, it is true that no one can fully control the emotions of the here and now, or even predict with 100% reliability their appearance. But between nothing and everything, there is a healthy mean that we need to be aware of, and that shows us that through the skills associated with emotional intelligence, it is possible to influence how we feel and what we feel. .

Therefore, throughout this article we will be looking at some of the the keys that make emotional intelligence very useful for managing anxiety.

    What is emotional intelligence?

    Let’s start with the basics: what is emotional intelligence? As you can already guess from the name, it is a set of psychological skills that allow us to adapt to the different situations that life poses to us, Many of which are new and so we must solve – without always applying the same strategies or solutions. So, as with the concept of dry “intelligence”, emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with the notion of flexibility, the ability to vary our behavior patterns according to what is going on.

    However, unlike what happens to intelligence in its most conventional meaning, emotional intelligence it is not expressed through the recognition and manipulation (in our minds) of ideas and concepts that can be expressed through language and / or mathematics.But its content, what it works with, are feelings and emotions. And anxiety is one of those types of content.

    On the other hand, everything indicates that emotional intelligence can be trained and therefore enhanced by experience. This is very important, because it means that there are certain learning processes that allow us to build up our emotional management skills in a consistent and stable way over time, as would happen with someone learning a subject in University and from then on. is able to gain benefit from this knowledge over the following years without having to start from 0 each time.

    Emotional intelligence: it helps us manage anxiety

    These are the ways in which emotional intelligence helps us manage our anxiety levels.

    1. It helps to recognize anxiety

    First, people with a good level of emotional intelligence can distinguish between discomfort caused by anxiety and other types of discomfort. This is more important than it sounds, because one of the most problematic aspects of excessive anxiety is that, in the first place, it is not always easy to understand that it is the source of the discomfort we feel. For example, it is relatively common for people to confuse anxiety with hunger, which makes it rare for a non-hungry person to go to the refrigerator over and over again to try to “cover up” what they are feeling. while savoring the food.

      2. Helps to detect emotional states of others

      In emotional intelligence combine the skills of recognizing one’s own emotions, with those that have to do with recognizing those of others. This allows, for example, to remain calm when someone confronts us but at the same time we can notice that this person is more nervous than us. The more information we have, the less likely we are to fall into fear or anxiety when these emotions are not needed.

      3. It helps us reduce our anxiety “from the outside to the inside”

      Most of the ways in which we can reduce the strength of anxiety in cases where it is excessive do not come from our mind. In other words, they do not come through the introspection of private and subjective psychological processes. On the contrary, they come from outside: through the way we interact with the environment, Making Him affect us in one way or another. Emotional intelligence helps us harness this potential.

      For example, if we feel bad because we haven’t started writing a project yet, that same anxiety can cripple us, causing us to postpone the time to get down to business to try not to think about what we’re doing. we are hurting. But by adopting certain strategies for interacting with the environment, we are able to break this vicious cycle of anxiety. For example, removing from the room any object that could distract us or could be an excuse to postpone our responsibilities: our smartphone, our snack bags, etc. Emotional intelligence leads us to detect risks and opportunities in what surrounds us, when it comes to affecting our experience of emotions.

      Online course to learn how to manage anxiety

      If you are interested in learning more about managing anxiety issues (both in theory and in practice), I invite you to attend my online course in webinar format which will take place on Wednesday August 12 at 6 p.m., Via Zoom.

      I will explain the keys to the regulation of the emotions involved in the management of anxiety and that I know both from my training as a psychologist and from my more than 25 years of professional experience in the field of clinical psychology. Thus, we will see the theoretical and practical foundations of this type of psychological process, and their implications for everyday life. This is a course in which anyone interested in the subject can participate, without the need for prior training in psychology.

      To request information or learn more about my services as a psychologist and trainer, go to this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • CD Balaban, Thayer JF (2001). Neurological basis of balance-anxiety links. J Anxiety disorder. 15 (1-2): 53-79.
      • Goleman, D. (1996): Emotional intelligence. Barcelona, ​​Cairo.
      • Goleman, D. (1998). Work with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
      • Rodríguez Biglieri, R. and Vetere, G. (2011). Manual of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. Buenos Aires: Polemos.
      • Salovey, P .; Mayer, J .; Caruso, D. (2004). Emotional intelligence: theory, findings and implications. Psychological research, p. 197 – 215.

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