Making the choice to quit drugs or alcohol is only the first part of building a new life of balance and well being. The next phase of recovery involves working on one’s emotional intelligence, which is a key part of a good recovery. Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to understand and handle the emotions of oneself and others in a healthy way. It is very common for a person who has difficulty understanding and dealing with the emotions of themselves and others to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This is why it’s so important to work on self awareness during recovery.
Here are a few useful ways to develop emotional intelligence and self awareness during recovery.
Learn To Develop Empathy.
Empathy, or an ability to understand people’s situations, can be developed just like any other skill. It involves using one’s imagination to understand what another person is going through or what their life is like. Being empathetic involves withholding judgement of another person’s life or actions in order to better understand them. Empathy encourages better communication because it fosters greater understanding of others and encourages an overall sense of a person’s voice being heard and respected.
Recognize The Signs Of Stress.
For many people in recovery, experiencing stress may have become so common that being able to identify it has become very difficult. Chronic stress is a serious condition that contributes to a variety of short and long term health problems, as well as affecting one’s mental well being. Part of developing a greater self awareness includes learning how to recognize the symptoms of stress and other emotional disorders so that you no longer let them control you and your health.
Some common signs of chronic stress include difficulty concentrating, upset stomach, headaches, tense areas of the body, difficulty sleeping, irritability, lethargy, a feeling of restlessness, and loss of sex drive. If one or more of these symptoms are persistent, it’s a sure sign of a stress problem that needs to be addressed. Once you know that chronic stress is an issue, you can begin to cope with it so that it no longer overwhelms your health and mental well being.
Pay Attention To Nonverbal Communication.
Looking deeper into the way a person communicates is an important part of learning how to better understand others as well as the way you communicate yourself. Body language delivers so much more than words alone. Becoming more aware of nonverbal cues that people give builds a better awareness of others’ emotions. It also helps you understand if you’re sending out conflicting messages yourself.
Learn Better Conflict Resolution Skills
Dealing with conflict in a constructive and healthy way is a necessary part of life. Luckily, anyone can acquire the skills needed to do so. Learning how to deal with conflicts without getting one’s emotions tied up or feelings hurt will build emotional intelligence and help one’s progress in recovery.
So many of us go through life running away from our feelings if they are too unpleasant or confusing. We may eat, watch TV, talk on the phone, drink, or use drugs simply to avoid experiencing certain feelings like sadness or boredom. By accepting the fact that being alive involves feeling all sorts of things and that it is normal to do so, we can become less afraid of our emotions and more willing to open ourselves up to experiencing them. Practice checking in with yourself throughout the day to see how you are feeling and allow yourself to experience all the physical sensations that go along with it.