Emotional intelligence is an individual’s ability to be aware of his/ her own emotions and how to influence and express them (Rankin, 2013). Moreover, the individual should be able to perceive and influence the emotions of other people around them based on of interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence comprises of four main elements: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness is the ability to read one’s own emotions and recognize their impact on them in making decisions (Rankin, 2013). In other words, it is knowing our reactions toward different things before we help others manage theirs appropriately. Self-management is the ability to control our emotions and adapt to different circumstances. It involves seeking opportunities to improve one’s skills after realizing their strengths and weaknesses (Rankin, 2013).Social awareness is the ability to detect, understand, and react to the emotions of other people. At this point, an individual should be able to keep their emotions in check and show gratefulness, openness, and compassion towards coworkers and patients (Rankin, 2013). Relationship management refers to the ability to inspire and influence the emotions of others during conflict management. Similarly, it is the ability to help others emotionally.
Different ways can be adopted to improve self-management, which is also referred to as self-regulation. To begin with, an individual needs to pay more attention to their emotions through self-awareness programs. Normally, it is hard for an individual to control their emotions if they are simply not cognitive of them. For this reason, an individual should first identify which kind of feelings arise from them. These feelings include anger, anxiety, and fright, among others. The identification process can be done by listing these issues whenever they arise. Importantly, it is the initial step towards a successful self-regulation program.
Individuals should identify the environments in which the feelings arise in order to avoid certain environments and enable a person to prepare to tackle them. In this case, environment refers to the time, medical situation or the people around you. According to Terry and Leary (2011), identifying the environment where feelings arise helps an individual to avoid them, prepare to tackle them, and help the plan for response tactics in the instance where the situation is predicted. The individual should engage in a deep understanding of the conditions of the environment to determine its characteristics, participants, and the nature of the feelings that arise. Thereafter, response tactics can be schemed to determine their appropriateness.
An individual should also exercise self-control so that they can manage their emotions. According to Vohs and Baumeister (2016), self-control does not mean hiding emotions; rather, it is the ability to recognize and control them appropriately. Therefore, the individual should not make rash decisions or over-react to a situation. Instead, they should remain calm and rational. , The individual must also ensure they make balanced decisions based on the available facts and not just their feeling at that time.
Nursing professionals should have a culture of reflective practice in order to improve their self-regulation. This practice involves thinking back about situations in which one reacted badly or inappropriately in a past event. Reflecting back on such situations gives a person a chance to analyze and understand what triggered these reactions. As a result, a person is able to develop ways in which they can behave more intelligently in the future.
An individual should focus on sharpening social skills by interacting with other people in order to have the ability to express himself /herself appropriately. Since people are social creatures they yearn to connect. Therefore, it is not possible for a man to avoid being around others. Moreover, it is the interactions between people that triggers our reactions and emotions. Therefore, an individual should seek to improve their interactions with other employees to avoid some negative reactions. Such social skills include practicing listening, holding meaningful conversations with other people, engaging patients in conversations, and often executing common courtesies. Proper relations with other people reduces the chances of over-reacting, and increase the person’s ability to deal with emotions.
An individual can enhance self-regulation by setting goals. According to Terry and Leary (2011), goals affect self-efficacy, motivation, and learning. They define the results that the organization aims to attain within some given timeline. As a result, goal setting is essential for improving the skills for self-regulation. Importantly, goals enable a person to conduct self-evaluation exercises so as to understand the progress they have made. Moreover, an individual can decide to adjust strategies if the existing ones do not seem to produce results.
In addition to the factors considered, one can practice empathy. Empathy is different from sympathy. Unlike sympathy, empathy involves the understanding and sharing the feelings of other people. Stated differently, empathy is feeling with someone, where one puts themselves in the place of others. On the other hand, sympathy is only a feeling for someone. In this case, the individual establishes a deeper connection with any person, by placing considerable thought on the nature of their engagement. As a result, a person’s reaction is informed by understanding rather than emotions.
Rankin, B. (2013). Emotional intelligence: enhancing values‐based practice and compassionate care in nursing. Journal of advanced nursing, 69(12), 2717-2725.
Terry, M. L., & Leary, M. R. (2011). Self-compassion, self-regulation, and health. Self and Identity, 10(3), 352-362.
Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2016). Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications. Guilford Publications.