Warner Park Recovery Center – Woodland Hills Mental Health

The Benefits of Having Good Emotional Intelligence in Sobriety

Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to understand and work with our own and other people’s emotions, to effectively decipher and control our feelings, and to understand and communicate with those around us. It can also help us to attain and maintain addiction recovery.

Chemical Attraction

Often, we respond emotionally, even before the intellect kicks in. Triggered by the amygdala, that almond-shaped region of the brain that is the locus for strong emotions such as envy, desire, hope, compassion, fear, and love, which act like the brain’s alarm system, we react to people, places, and situations. Emotions and responses arrive quickly, which is a wonderful asset in emergencies, less so in more nuanced situations. This rapid-fire response pattern can also help us understand the strong or difficult emotions that we, as people in drug and alcohol recovery, may face without the crutch of an addictive substance of choice. Yet we can choose how to actively engage with life’s challenges by implementing conscious choices and utilizing skills to help manage emotions. This increases the ability to rise above knee-jerk responses, which is especially helpful for those in recovery who want to move beyond self-medicating in response to overwhelming stimuli and feelings.

Motivation Mojo

Another arena to apply emotional intelligence is motivation. Acquiring self-motivation is vital for anyone going through detox or suffering from depression. One of the effects of both these states is often suffering from very low dopamine, a brain chemical vital for motivation and reward-seeking behavior. Like getting off the sofa or washing the dishes, or the also fulfilling seeking employment, considering schooling, or facing sobriety. If motivation is an issue, it can help to define what’s important to you, which will help you to make decisions based on core values.

Addiction Recovery and Smart Ways to Work with Emotional Intelligence

For people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, working on enhancing your emotional quotient (EQ) can be healing, rewarding, and helpful in achieving addiction recovery. Many people rely on an addiction to ignore, defuse, or avoid challenging feelings. The temporary escape or relief that abusing substances provides keeps us from truly feeling, acknowledging, or processing emotions, developing self-awareness, or implementing positive responses to challenges.

Sure, it can be challenging to practice the skills that lead it to enhanced EQ, but putting in the work confers many benefits such as insight, self-control, and increased compassion. Developing emotional intelligence increases your chances of success in work, school, and relationships, and it has a positive impact on physical, emotional and mental well-being.

If only the mind came with an instruction manual. While it seems intuitive that innate intelligence would be super useful in working towards sobriety and acquiring and exercising emotional intelligence, think again. Studies demonstrate that overall intelligence offers no protection against substance abuse disorders. Sadly, the opposite is more likely to be true. Individuals with above-average intelligence could be more prone to drug and alcohol addiction. While intelligence may not provide a carapace against addiction, emotional intelligence can provide protection that can lead a richer and more fulfilling life.

Ways to Amp Up Your EQ

EQ can be enhanced by practicing some solid skills and techniques. There are many paths to understanding your passions and those of others. Here are just a few methods that may be helpful. Try one or all of these ideas if they appeal to you:

TherapyRecovery from a drug or alcohol dependency, or rallying through a mental illness — and the two often are found together — can be challenging enough. You don’t have to go through tough times alone, white-knuckling it. Therapy can be incredibly useful. Whether you are learning to re-frame negative thoughts, working on enhancing interpersonal effectiveness, or discovering novel emotional responses, a trained therapist or counselor can help you gain a fresh perspective, visualize alternative means of expression, identify patterns, and implement healthier behaviors.

Meditation and Mindfulness: Establishing a mindfulness practice fosters a gentle and nonjudgmental observation and understanding of your mind.

Communication: Keep it honest, kind, and compassionate, whether practicing self-talk or speaking with others. Realize the art of active listening by giving others your full attention and respect.

Creativity: Use a creative outlet for self-discovery and motivation. Consider keeping a journal, making music, dance, garden, or anything else that helps you to interpret and express your emotions.

Help is Here at Warner Park Recovery

When you are ready to take the next step in working towards sobriety and a healthier lifestyle, then Warner Park Recovery can help. We offer dual diagnosis, mental health + substance abuse programs that provide partial day, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels of care for individuals in Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Topanga Canyon, The Valley, Thousand Oaks, and surrounding areas. Visit warnerparkrecovery.com or call 1866 424-0948 today to see how we can help you or a loved one.

Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to understand and work with our own and other people’s emotions, to effectively decipher and control our feelings, and to understand and communicate with those around us. It can also help us to attain and maintain addiction recovery.

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