Dr Marc Brackett noted that the majority of adults he talked to could only recognise and name 3 emotions. That’s a depressing discovery.
Sharing a “Vanilla Coconut Latte+ Vitamin B12 & Zinc*±” with a colleague of mine recently, Howard, he told me that for many kids he has worked with this gets distilled down even further to two emotions - “sweet” (Northern Ireland translation for “good”) and “sh1te” (Northern Ireland translation for “not so good”)!!
So why is emotional intelligence (the ability to recognise and describe emotions in ourselves) important? Marc Brackett identifies 5 important reasons why we have to get better at recognising and expressing our own and the moods of others.
Emotions affect our ability to pay attention.
If you are depressed, anxious, bored, afraid, or agitated it is going to be incredibly hard to pay attention to Miss at the front who is struggling to explain Pythagorus Theorem in simple English.
Emotions affect our decision making.
Good mood = more positive perspectives when making decisions, more hopeful, more optimistic, more solution focused, more positive risk taking. But bad mood = more negative perspectives, more problem focused, more deficit focused, more risk averse.
Emotions affect our relationships.
Emotions - particularly those expressed in the micro expressions of the face give a signal to others, to approach us or avoid us. So our emotions can either connect or disconnect us with others.
Emotions impact our physical and mental health.
Ever been in a room with a “mood hoover” (someone who sucks the joy out like a Dyson V7 Animal Extra)? Me too. It’s exhausting. Culture and climate is highly linked to levels of anxiety, stress and negative feelings. And it is infectious. Be a happy virus - a little “Good Feelings Radiator” if you will.
Emotions affect our performance and creativity.
Flexibility, inspiration, and creativity - that’s what employers want - as Marc puts it himself - even if you didn't need emotional intelligence to get into your ideal school - you will need it to get out!!
LJ Sayers is a restorative practitioner, trainer and consultant, living in Northern Ireland. She is partner to JP, Mum to J, a Covid Redundant Hugger and the Chief Quality Controller of all chocolate in her household.