What is emotional literacy and why it is important? seem like simple questions to answer but I have come to suspect it’s one of those things everyone knows is a good thing but couldn’t really explain why. Not exactly. Emotional literacy still isn’t in vogue enough for everyone to be thinking about it. My latest video:
aims to answer these questions through examples. The video only looks at the times when emotions are most likely to cause trouble but in doing this, it gives a clear message about separating your emotion’s trigger from your response, with time. This time can be used to ‘cool down’ if needed, reflect, empathise with anyone else involved, ‘see your emotion and how it was triggered’, problem solve and work out what would be the best outcome. The best outcome is often quite different from where most impulsive reactions would take you!
For me some of the key beneficial aspects of emotional literacy are:
- Consciously understanding how emotions can impact on your thoughts, behaviour and decisions can help you make better informed choices.
- Being able to recognise when strong emotions arise, as they arise, and knowing that at these times you can be vulnerable to some quite damaging impulsive behaviours – leading to better management of these moments and certainly prevention from making situations worse.
- Not succumbing to impulsive behaviours meaning you have time to work out what to do about any emotion and making your responses far more likely to solve problems, repair relationships and sort situations out.
- Being more quickly able to ‘let go’ and ‘move on’ after upsetting things happen.
- Capacity to empathise meaning you can start to see any situation from different angles. This can soften any negative resolves such as getting back at someone or holding a grudge. It can also help you take more responsibility for your part in any incident.
- Ability to be determined, self-motivate and delay gratification such that you are not easily put off any goals you have set yourself.
- Self -awareness. Studying your emotions and their triggers can teach you a lot about your unique values and sensitivities.
- The resulting self-awareness releasing you from automatic triggers that don’t serve you well.
- Being able to recognise and respond to other people’s emotions in ways that are helpful and don’t make situations worse.
- Being more in the moment and less preoccupied by the past and the future.
- Developing resilience.
- Feeling more in control of yourself and your life.
- Reduced anxiety.
- You manging your emotions rather than them managing you – in other words, if you are consciously aware of the impact your emotions can have on your actions, you can counteract their negative influence.
- And much more……(I could go on!)