Posted by Steps to Recovery on December 8, 2012

In my post yesterday, I discussed 3 ways to develop emotional intelligence in recovery. I touched on empathy, nonverbal communication and listening. All very important topics, and here are a few more to add to those tools to help you on your journey of recovery and achieving deeper emotional intelligence.

Recognize emotions – Learning to recognize emotions is a skill that many people have a hard time with. Often times, instead of doing the hard work of taking a close look at what’s really going on for us when we are feeling badly, we will participate in an unhealthy behavior like comfort eating or some other form of distraction to fill the void. A person learns to recognize their emotions by taking an honest and deep look at how they are feeling. There are usually physical sensations in the body that can help people identify the emotion they are currently feeling. Taking time to mindfully notice these sensations and acknowledging them and the emotions that they identify with will put you on the right track to understanding your emotions better and recognizing them more easily, which will be incredibly helpful on your path of recovery.

Recognize Stress – Some individuals experience stress so often that they are unable to even recognize it. This is troubling because it could indicate that the person could be experiencing the consequences of chronic stress without them even knowing it. The symptoms of stress can include:

  • The person is unable to think clearly – they may describe this as having a “fuzzy brain.”
  • Frequent episodes of upset stomach.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Physical symptoms where there does not appear to be an obvious medical cause.
  • Tension in the body.
  • Inability to sleep at night.
  • Butterflies in the stomach.
  • Evidence of an ineffective immune system – for example, the person always seems to be getting sick.
  • Loss of appetite or comfort eating
  • The person easily becomes irritable or upset.
  • Feelings of anxiety.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • Excessive negative thinking.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • The person feels frustrated.
  • Feeling antsy often.

It is very important to develop effective tools for coping with stress. Once the person recognizes that they are suffering from stress they need to work to begin dealing with it in healthy ways. There are many options for how an individual can do this. Some people find that relaxation techniques such as restorative yoga or meditation are helpful. Some other ways to lower stress are talking with other people who are good listeners, spending time in nature and other types of movement and exercise are great.

These are just a few more ideas to help you on your journey to deeper emotional intelligence in recovery. Make sure to check back tomorrow for the final post about this topic!