Having Emotional Intelligence

Your brain is always guessing.

You collect all sorts of sensory information. You try to figure out what is happening and what is going to be happening in the near future. On guard for danger. Predicting the next change—learning from what happens.

Hypothesize, experiment, learn.

These predictions can actually cause physical changes in our body.

When we sense danger, your blood pressure may rise. Adrenaline might start pumping. Your body clenches in anticipation of some oncoming negative emotion. Or you lean forward, expecting something positive or exciting to happen.

These predictions become how you understand your own emotion.

As your brain becomes more confident in outcomes, you find the familiarity to label that feeling as a specific emotion.

You recognize emotions through the constant cycle of labeling.

Since our brain essentially constructs our emotions, we can teach it to label them more precisely and then use this detailed information to help us take the most appropriate actions — or none at all.

— Professor Lisa F. Barrett (Theory of Constructed Emotions)

As you learn new ways of describing and labeling how you experience emotions, new pathways are opened up in our brains.

Understanding your emotions allows you to better control and understand when and when not to construct an emotion.