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What is Your Emotional IQ?

Have you ever wondered why emotions are so important to us, as human beings? What role do emotions play in our daily interactions and routines?

Emotions are instrumental to humans in allowing us to connect with others. Emotions teach and communicate when we are in danger, excited, or at peace. Emotions we feel influence our behaviors and decisions.

Emotions can be categorized as “primary” or “secondary” emotions. Primary emotions are “any one of a limited set of emotions that typically are manifested and recognized universally across cultures” (American Psychological Association, 2023). Primary emotions sound like: sadness, anger, happiness, and fear. Secondary emotions are the emotions underneath the primary emotion and include a deeper meaning or explanation of the underlying emotion. Words used to describe secondary emotions are descriptive and may sound like: frustrated, lonely, rejected, elated, and peaceful.

Ask yourself, “What is the ‘go to’ emotion I express when someone asks me how I am doing?” Often, we will answer that question with words like “fine, good, okay, or great.” We tend to go to these Primary emotions because maybe, we don’t know how we feel? Do we use primary emotions because we don’t feel emotionally safe to share how we feel? Or can it be that we lack the desire to explore the emotion?

Let’s practice…

An activity that I often invite my patients to implement in their daily growth journey is to keep an emotion journal to increase their “emotional IQ” and help build awareness of the impact medication treatment is manifesting. I offer them an emotion wheel that identifies primary and secondary emotions. I encourage them to find a notebook and I ask them to write down 3 different emotions and the corresponding situation or experience that triggered the emotions. This activity will help strengthen their “emotional IQ” and awareness of how their emotions influence their behaviors and reactions. I invite you to give it a try.

Corrine Freeman, DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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