Co-authored by Jane Mountrose, Holistic Coach and Trainer
In our culture, a high value is placed on our IQ's and mental intelligence. While a sound mind is essential, other aspects of the self are also essential to our full potential. In our roles as holistic coaches and trainers, we understand that realizing your full potential involves embracing our wholeness by integrating the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Along with mental development, this includes developing emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Emotional intelligence involves understanding one's emotions and addressing them in a healthy way that honors all concerned. Spiritual intelligence lifts this awareness to a higher level, to a place where we can connect with our divine nature and the truth that unites us all.
In essence, everything is energy, which is the basic building block of life. We call it life energy or aliveness. Each of us is here to be fully alive. With this in mind, it can be illuminating to ask yourself how alive you feel under different conditions and in different situations. You may notice that when you feel stressed, unhappy, and far from the life you desire, your sense of aliveness is much different than it is when you feel joyful, excited about your future, and connected with the blessings life has to offer.
How does Aliveness Relate to Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence?
If aliveness is a key, how, then, does it relate to your wholeness - body, emotions, mind, and spirit? And how does this relate to emotional and spiritual intelligence?
To experience it for yourself, we created a simple experiment you can do now. This exercise uses stress as an example of energy, because just about everyone can relate to being stressed. To get the best results, we recommend having a pen and paper handy and jot down your responses to the questions below.
STEP 1: To begin, turn your attention to something specific that makes you feel stressed. The key here is to isolate the thoughts and feelings you have when you're stressed, so stay focused. And don't worry, you'll turn it around as you learn some principles for moving forward.
Ask yourself these questions from this stressed perspective:
- Physically, how does your body feel? Allow your body to assume the posture that feels most natural in this stressed state. Also notice if you sense any tension or discomfort in your body when you feel stressed, and where you feel it.
- Emotionally, how do you feel? Ask yourself what emotions correspond to this stressed feeling? Examples: sad, angry, frustrated, ... We don't want to influence your use of words here, but you'd probably agree that words like hopeful or elated are not likely responses.
- Mentally, how do you feel about your possibilities in life? Another way to say this is how bright does your future look when you experience this stress?
- Spiritually, how do you feel about yourself (in your heart)? Again remember to respond to how you feel about yourself when you feel this stress. We realize that there are probably times when you feel good about yourself. The key here is to stay focused on the affect of stress on how you feel about yourself.
- Now measure your aliveness. Ask yourself, on a scale of 0-10 how energized you feel when you focus on this stress, where 0 is no energy and 10 is fully alive and excited about the life you are creating?
STEP 2: Now, let's turn it around. Take a few deep, breaths and allow your mind to relax. As you continue to breathe and relax a bit more, turn your attention to your heart. Focus on something that gives you a sense of heartfelt joy, something that makes your heart sing! It may take a moment to come up with something and that's okay. Continue to breathe easily and focus on it until the feeling is strongly positive.
The key here is to notice the thoughts and feelings you have when you are experiencing heartfelt joy, so stay focused.
Ask yourself the same four questions from this joyful perspective:
- Physically, how does your body feel? Allow your body to assume the posture that feels most natural in this joyful state. Also notice how your body feels now compared with what you noticed in the first part of this exercise.
- Emotionally, how do you feel? Ask yourself what emotions correspond to this joyful feeling? Examples: elated, relaxed, excited, ...
- Mentally, how do you feel about your possibilities? How bright does your future look when you feel stressed in this way? Also make note of anything specific about what seems possible compared with what you noticed earlier.
- Spiritually, how do you feel about yourself (in your heart)? Respond again to how you feel about yourself when you are experiencing this joy.
- Now, measure your aliveness again. On a scale of 1-10 how alive and excited about life do you feel when you focus on this heartfelt joy? 0 is no energy and 10 is fully alive and excited about the future you are creating.
Integrating Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence
Using this experiment, you can connect with different emotional states and experience how they affect your perspective on life - in your body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Integrating these four aspects of your being, you could regard your emotions as indicators you can use to determine if you are on course or off course in relation to creating the life you desire.
With awareness, you can interpret the messages behind your emotions and transform them to lift your spirits. This provides access to the spiritual intelligence, the inner wisdom that shines through as you connect with your true potential. Together, your emotional and spiritual intelligence provide the insights you need to stay on the path to your full potential and the life you were born to live.
To learn more, read our article on "Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence: Keys to Our Wholeness."