Review Emotional and Social Intelligence course offered by UCDavis

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Here’s another course review, this time about Emotional and Social Intelligence offered by UCDavis. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is about being aware of your emotions or others emotions. EQ is about emotions and feelings in the present while Social Intelligence (SI) is about the future - figuring out how to get along best with others. Thankfully ESI (Emotional and Social Intelligence) can be improved in life, unlike IQ which gets fixed early on.

Emotional competency provides outstanding performance at work and is a learned capability based on EQ. Emotional competency has five components: motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skills.

Self awareness strategies

1. Lean into discomfort: rather than avoiding emotions embrace them. Rather than avoiding discomfort, see yourself as you really are.

2. Know your triggers. You can ask yourself questions like:

- what emotions have I experienced in the last 24 hours?

- what situations generated these emotions?

- what thoughts were behind the emotions?

3. Observe your ripple effect. Negativity spreads like wildfire. Through mirror neurons our emotions can affect others around for up to 8 hours.

4. Ask for feedback. A good strategy to bring self awareness is to ask people around how they feel about your behavior.

Self regulation strategies

1. Take control of your self-talk. One has around 50000 thoughts each day. Our inner voice is strongly connected to how we feel and in the end shapes our outerworld. One idea would be to search online for positive self talk and let in play in the background.

2. Focus on freedoms not limits. Using framing (attaching a context to an idea) we can see the freedoms we have in a situation rather than the limits. For example if I lost my job I can see I am free to start a new professional endeavor rather than all sorts of limits.

3. Learn something from everyone. There is great value in talking with different people and asking them profound questions about life. For example, what do you think about life? Or how do you see life?

4. Stop and think. Rather than responding immediately to a situation, how about stopping for a few moments to choose the best response available rather the first one that comes to your mind?

5. Train your attention. Rather than focusing on what can go wrong, how about focusing on the goal itself or how to achieve it to be specific. Whatever problems occur you will find a way to solve them when they arise.

6. Talk less and listen more. Everybody can talk but not everybody can listen. And when you talk you say things you already know but when you listen you get information you don’t know.

Self-management strategies

1. Be consistent. Find your values and hold on to them.

2. Stick to the plan. When you have a task to accomplish just do it rather than using time in different directions.

3. Be accountable. There are moments when things don’t go your way and in such moments you need to admit it and get back on track.

4. Educate yourself. Rather than letting change pass by you, you need to accept and embrace change. Whether we like it or not, our world is built upon change. So you need to constantly learn new things to stay updated.

5. Stay physically fit. The mind cannot live without the body. So taking care of your mind implies taking care of your body too.


To keep a long story short, empathy involves shared perspectives or emotions with someone else. Empathy has a couple of stages:

- cognitive empathy: ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling.

- emotional empathy: the ability to share another person's feelings.

- compassionate empathy: not just sharing feelings but also trying to reduce the pain in others.

Techniques to build empathy:

1. Challenge yourself. Learn a new skill, musical instrument or foreign language because such endeavor will humble you and humility develops empathy.

2. Get out of your usual environment. Traveling to learn about other cultures also increases empathy.

3. Ask for feedback from people around you about your social skills.

4. Explore the heart. Read literature that explores human relationships.

5. Walk in others’ shoes. Talk with others about how it feels in their shoes, what is their perspective and how they deal with challenges.

6. Examine your biases, for example about age, gender, religion and so on.

7. Cultivate your sense of curiosity. For example, what can you learn from people around you, regardless if they are younger or older.

8. Listen more. Practice active listening as much as you can and focus on the body language too, not just the words.

9. Ask better questions. Think and ask questions to people you interact with and expect the conversation to change direction depending on your questions.

10. Take action. Empathy is not about you but rather how you treat or even perceive other people. So you can take helpful action regarding the people around you.

11. Random acts of kindness - they brighten anyone’s day.

Social skills

Oxytocin elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others.

Cortisol shuts down our prefrontal cortex and we become more reactive and sensitive. We perceive greater judgment and negativity. Cortisol can last 26 hours and more.

Strategies for improving social skills

- observe the ripple effect of your emotions

- manage perception: do people come to you or they move away from you?

- know yourself and your triggers - reflect when you respond negatively

- be open to change

- separate facts from emotions - facts are based on definite results while emotions are often involuntary and one-sided

- build rapport - rapport happens when two or more people feel as they are synchronized

- greet people by name - it allows for a deeper connection with those around you

- be open and curios - being open means to share some information about you and being curious means to be interested in learning about those around you

- when you care about it, show it - there are people doing things for you and it is natural to show gratitude when this happens.


Motivation is what pushes us to achieve our goals and make our life feel fulfilled. There are four elements that make up motivation:

1. Personal Drive to Achieve. It is about ambition but also mindset. There is a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The fixed mindset implies we cannot develop our abilities while the growth mindset finds opportunities to learn and develop our abilities all the time.

2. Commitment to goals. For some of us if not all there is the need for the creation of goals to help us aim forward.

3. Initiative. Initiative is, effectively, the ability to take advantage of opportunities when they occur.4. Optimism or resilience. Optimism is the ability to think positively and see set- backs as learning opportunities. Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ after a setback or keep positive in the face of challenges. The two are closely related, although not exactly the same.


I'm a web programmer passionate about coding, spirituality, psychology and some theoretical sciences. The best part with so many interests is I never get bored.

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