“I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

Thomas Jefferson

Love is a many splendored thing… Love is a battlefield… All you need is Love. Love has been the perennial topic of scholars and poets alike since time began, and it is undoubtedly a crucial component to a happy and fulfilled life. As important as love is, it is not always easy. Building fruitful relationships with loved ones, family, colleagues, bosses and friends requires more than luck, it requires emotional intelligence.

Empathizing with someone, recognizing problems, and being able to connect on a deeper level are all abilities learned through emotional literacy. Many conflicts in our relationships (be they personal or business) rely on our ability to notice, identify, and appropriately respond to our emotions. The more aware you are to work on it, the luckier you get.

The Science of Love

Thinking about something or someone we love triggers activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which releases a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine (the so-called “pleasure chemical”) into the brain’s reward (or pleasure) centers—the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens. This gives the lover a high like no other. This explosion of neurotransmitters makes the brain be more present,  focusing on wishes, desires and allowing creativity to soar.

The brain also experiences the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin provides a sense of being in control; it guards against the anxiety of uncertainty and instability. When it drops, our sense of control decreases and we become obsessively fixated on things that rattle our certainty and stability cages—and since love is by definition unpredictable, it’s a prime target for obsession. Without the proper cognitive-behavioural tools and habits, especially when it comes to children and teenagers, our emotions can lead us down dangerous and undesirable paths.

What is your child’s Emotional Quotient (EQ)?

How can you tell if your child is emotionally intelligent? Below are three indicators, as well as tips on how to nurture your child’s EQ every day.

1. They’re Expressive – The ability to feel (and then identify) emotions is the foundation of emotional intelligence. If your child is naturally expressive, they’re already part of the way there. If your child isn’t the expressive type, help them build their emotional vocabulary. You can say things like “If a wave knocked over my sandcastle, I’d feel very upset. Does that sound right?” To encourage your child to open up even more, you may share how you felt in a similar situation and explain how changing the perception of it will give you a totally different emotion.

2. They are Open-Minded – How your child responds to books, movies and shows can be a good indication of their level of open-mindedness. Are they able to explore why characters might be feeling a certain way and be compassionate towards them? Do they show curiosity about new things? Choose children’s books and movies that feature characters navigating difficult situations. Then talk to your kids about them.

3. They’re Good Listeners – Emotionally intelligent kids are typically good and sympathetic listeners, known for helping their friends set things right. How do you teach good listening? Again, modeling is key. You need to practice “active listening.” When your child is speaking, give feedback like “I can see that you are angry right now,” or “how did it make you feel when Sara did that?” Engaged, empathetic listening is an important social skill that will serve your child throughout adulthood.

For more information on how to impart emotional learning into your classroom, or home contact www.triumphsteps.com or email triumph@triumphsteps.com.