Emotional Intelligence: The Body-Mind-Heart connection

How the concept of Emotional Quotient is catching on in the teaching profession and why it is important.

By Dr Mala Kapadia, Professor, Director of Wellness Practice & Resident Mentor at Rashtram.

Entire life we grow up in society that is brain and IQ dominated. Though emotions are the very fabric of who we are, we rarely get to have insights into the nature of emotions and how to manage them. All around us we see people getting emotionally hijacked- losing their cool, or becoming numb without the ability to express emotions. And many times, within us as well, the same dilemma happened. What do I do with my anger? Anger just comes and sweeps me away. I start speaking louder, then lose control, say things I repent later, spoil my relationships and even health. Or, I just can’t show anger even if I am angry. I contract within, my shoulders become stiff, my throat feels the contraction, my digestion goes for a toss, I develop acidity…. And the anger simmers within me ready to burst like a volcano, I just somehow don’t know what to do with it. These are the bipolar reactions to anger, just one of the emotions in our life. 

However, we also have met people who seem to be managing their emotions better. If they are angry, they express the anger and are able to come out of the emotion as fast as they got into it. There is no carry forward, no exaggeration, no drama. These are rare people, and we admire them, aspire to be like them, and would love to have more skills to manage our emotions. 

In mid 90s, the term Emotional Intelligence, later misrepresented as EQ, became very popular due to the compilation of research on Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. His first book, Emotional Intelligence ‘Why it can Matter More than IQ’ became a best seller. However, though he does not use the term EQ, popular literature started using the term EQ along with IQ. The Q is for quotient, a unit of measurement. However, when it comes to the field of emotions, applying the logic of IQ doesn’t have any real meaning. Post Daniel Goleman, many authors and researchers have contributed to this field, making this look like a new competence or skill to be learnt. 

Robert Cooper and Ayaman Sawaf in their work Executive EQ, give a very interesting understanding of emotions as e-motion; energy that motivates. This creates a huge shift in understanding emotions as cognitive skill or a measurable Q. This energy concept also brings the science of Rasa Shastra, or Aesthetics form Indian ancient literature, closer to Emotional Intelligence. 

Next blog, we explore together, the science and art of emotions as energy. Till then, explore your own heartscape, the rainbows of emotions that we have as possibility. The brain only responds to stored emotional association in our memory, as the EI research suggests through the triune brain theory- medulla, cerebrum and cerebellum. We all have stored memories of evolution in our brain. And the memory gets activated, along with the way to react, from our past experiences, superimposing the present moment. The mind, is the software of the brain. Ayurveda and Yoga as collective Deep Vedic Psychology have insights into the working of our mind, which is still unexplored by the researchers in Emotional Intelligence. The mind, is in turn, connected with our Heart, as all the nerve channels that carry our mind energy to the brain and body are originating from the Heart. Isn’t this fascinating to discover? Our Heart, is the seat of Emotional intelligence, center of our existence. IQ dominated education has neglected the role of Heart for many years. Not any more, as we grapple with the pandemic. 

As we face the lockdown isolation, uncertainty of future, the unprecedented times are triggering fear and creating stress as we are overwhelmed. It is not the mechanical brain or mind that can help us not just survive, but overcome the current crisis. The heart’s intuitive wisdom will guide us as we all have slowed down and are able to listen to the Heart, the only safe space for us to withdraw.  

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