The Inward Spiral

Posted by Sandhya Joseph Robin on Fri, Jul 2, 2021  
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“Anyone can be angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not easy.” -Aristotle

Emotional Intelligence, a construct created by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer and popularized by Daniel Goleman, is an individual’s ability to perceive, evaluate, control and express emotions. Early on, a person was said to be intelligent if he/she performed well in academia, meaning, they were termed intelligent if they scored well in their exams, or the speed and accuracy of a mathematical calculation and so on. 

Over time, research showed that the so-called ‘intelligent’, being recognized that way, did not necessarily make them successful in life and that there were a number of other qualities one needed to possess in order to be successful - one of these being - Emotional Intelligence.

A fun thing about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be learnt - one can train to be emotionally intelligent by honing the following skills - 

  • Identifying ones own emotions - being aware of what one is feeling, be it negative or positive, and being able to place a finger on the particular feeling, for e.g., frustration, irritation, calm, fulfillment, etc
  • Keeping a check on / regulating ones emotions - once you are aware of what you are feeling, keeping a check on how you express the feeling or what you do about it, before it turns into something that could cause harm to self or others
  • Intrinsic Motivation - recognizing something that you enjoy doing, one that gives you a sense of purpose and you are naturally motivated to continue, a curiosity to learn - a cycle that keeps you going effortlessly
  • Empathy - the ability to understand others emotions and reactions and to treat them accordingly
  • Social skills - being able to build, manage and maintain relationships

Introspection - what I call the inward spiral - going within to gain an insight into your own mind and have a deeper understanding of what is going on within, has proven to be extremely beneficial in terms of understanding thought patterns, self-limiting beliefs, which in-turn gives us an indication of what is it that could lead us to behaving a certain way or being triggered to react rather that respond to a situation. 

A very simple technique that helps you introspect efficiently is the ‘Paris Window’ - answering the following four questions that lead to you have a deeper understanding of the underlying unresolved emotions - 

  • How do you feel about your issue?
  • How do others feel about your issue?
  • How do you feel about how others feel about your issue?
  • How would you like to feel instead?

Once you have answers to all these questions, especially question number four, you could now pen down things you need to do to help you experience the feelings mentioned in question four - this could be your goal towards a leading a happier and healthier life and letting go off old baggages. 

Practicing introspection keeping in mind the skills you need to hone for emotional intelligence, could be an extremely powerful tool in maintaining a happy and balanced life mentally, emotionally and therefore physically as well. 

In todays time, where the opportunity to have personal meaningful interactions is reducing, and the opportunity to vent to a loved one or a dear friend is being compromised, it is important to build on your inner-strength to be able to run the rat-race without breaking down. As much as physical activity is important to help you keep your body fit, so is the need to maintain a healthy mind and reinvigorate the mind-body-soul connection, and work towards holistic wellbeing. 

Times are tough now, probably ever than before for most of us, I know, but hang in there, we will see this through too! Stay safe and stay positive! 


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