Emotional Intelligence. What does that mean to you?

Do danchealthier a favor.  Think of the word, “intelligence.” What does that mean to you?


Did you automatically think, “intelligence” referred to logic, math, science, academics?  Or did you think in terms of something like picking up choreography, having street smarts, or having the ability to feel comfortable in social situations? dancehealthier would love to hear your thoughts.  Why? Because we as dancers, through our training and time spent in dancer mode, (may) have wired our brains to think in different patterns than a non-dancer.  Do we see the world differently than a scientist, engineer, or doctor? I know it’s a bit deep for today’s Conversation Wednesday, but dancers sure do love diving deep into things.  So why not think about it?  What does “intelligence” mean to you?

In regards to emotional intelligence, dancehealthier was handed an article (by a dancehealthier follower), as a request to not only share but evaluate the article.  The article is titled, The 4 fundamental Pillars of Emotional Intelligence by Steven Handel.

The article dives deep into emotional intelligence in regards to having more awareness of emotions and what they are signaling to us.  Steven Handel separates emotional intelligence into 4 pillars.

The four pillars described in the article are:

1)  Self Awareness: Paying attention to your own emotions.  Author, Steven Handel separates this pillar into two components.

  • The Psychological Component:  the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that underlie a majority of our emotions (How are we wired? How do we respond to emotions?  Is the response controllable and if so how can we learn to cope better?)
  • The Physical Component: the bodily sensations that are results of different emotional states. (i.e. butterflies before a performance, fast heartbeat before a meeting).  

It’s easy to think of the emotional part of the term emotional intelligence, but are we carefully thinking about how we can psychologically control our behaviors based on identifying the emotion by the uncontrollable physical component – A fast heart beat, a taste of adrenaline?  For example, an emotion such as nervousness may come from an underlying feeling of “I’m not good at this movement,” or “I’m too shy to say anything.” Sometimes just being aware of our emotional states are enough to make them better.

2)  Self Regulation: Depending on the emotion, there are many ways to respond to them better.  Such as, channeling (writing, painting), avoiding triggers (negative people, negative environments), seeking positive experiences (a funny movie, or whatever that might be for you), doing the opposite of what you feel (laugh when you are sad), and sitting on the emotion in a passive way (rather than impulsively acting out on them.)

3)  Empathy: Understanding the emotions of others.  As you improve your own self-awareness you must also improve how you perceive others.  Not everyone thinks the same, acts out the same, but understanding their perspective is important in terms of empathy. Of course no one is expected to understand someone else’s mind completely but the attempt is a necessary tool.

4)  Social Skills:  This is the response you have to others’ emotions.  To build healthy relationships it’s important to be attuned to others’ emotions.  Be careful not to allow your own emotions (such as nervousness, envy) to over power your impulses.  It’s never a good thing to let your own emotions drive the conversation/relationship in a direction you didn’t intend for.


Be sure to remember, “You need to practice turning negative people around by first being positive in yourself” (Handel, 2013).


Handel, Steven.  The 4 Fundamental Pillars of Emotional Intelligence.  Found April 5, 2013 at http://www.theemotionmachine.com/the-4-fundamental-pillars-of-emotional-intelligence


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