The White Bear vs. The Blue Dolphin: Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the sign of a strong leader and refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. It’s easy to let your emotions take over and guide how you interact with co-workers. However, it’s not always the best way to do things.

Good emotional intelligence allows you to build stronger relationships, succeed in the workplace, connect with your emotions, and turn intention into action. There are four key elements of emotional intelligence that you can think about for yourself and how strongly you possess them. They are:

Perceiving emotions

To best understand your emotions and the emotions of others, you have to perceive them. This can be through non-verbal signs, like body language, or hearing what they’re saying and how. Within yourself, it’s about taking a step back and identifying what you’re feeling in that moment.

Reasoning with emotions

Once you’ve caught on to how you’re feeling, you can start to reason with your emotions. We respond emotionally to practically everything, and that isn’t always for the best, so tuning into how your emotions are influencing your decisions and reasoning with them is a good ability to have.

Understanding emotions

If someone is expressing anger towards you or a situation, understanding emotions is about discovering why. This is the same for understand your own emotions. When you’ve figured out what is causing this reaction, it’s easier to manage the emotions.

Managing emotions

Regulating and responding to emotions, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, is the most important aspect of emotional intelligence. Being able to manage emotions leads to smoother communication and a happier workplace.

So, how do you work on and improve your own emotional intelligence?

There are two main, effective methods you can practice yourself: The White Bear and The Blue Dolphin.

The White Bear

If I said to you now, don’t think about a white bear, it’s probably going to be the only thing you can think about. Even if I said you could think about anything else, just not a white bear, it would be the only thing you see when you close your eyes.

When it comes to external problems, being told not to do a specific behaviour and actively trying not to do it, can be quite effective. However, if you tried to apply this to internal problems like anxiety, being told not to think about it can make it ten times worse.

Being aware of this can go a long way in improving your emotional intelligence. If you have the knowledge on what works and what doesn’t, you can conquer your white bear.

The Blue Dolphin

Conquering your white bear can be done with a blue dolphin. I know, it sounds out there, but it’s true.

The Blue Dolphin Method is about not dwelling on the white bear thoughts that come into your head, and instead you make an active choice not to let them control you. It’s a replacement thought and something to immediately switch your mind to when a white bear comes into focus.

When a thought enters your mind based on anxiety or anger, it’s more than likely you’ll be able to recognise it pretty easily. If you can think of a blue dolphin instead, they’re thoughts that won’t stick around for too long.

Understanding these two methods can increase your emotional intelligence, so why not give them a go?

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