Responsible decision making, building valuable relationships, effective conflict resolution … These are social and emotional skills abilities.
Social and emotional skills are often compared to aloe vera – everyday resources that reveal their new and wonderful possibilities every day. What’s more, they are positive and we have them at our fingertips. Therefore, we are talking about a wide range of tools that allow us to manage our emotions and function in society.
It is easy to understand, but difficult to put into practice. We usually postpone emotional competencies for later. Therefore, schools implement work on socioemotional abilities in the curriculum.
Today’s children should be able to develop positive relationships in adulthood, communicate and make decisions in an assertive way, create circles of empathy, emotional harmony, and understanding. Efforts to guide them along this path will therefore facilitate their progress in social life.
However, not only children should be trained in this area. Adults also need to work on this psychological aspect for their own benefit and that of others.
What are socio-emotional skills?
Emotional abilities are “tools of life” for short. Research by Dr. Joseph Durlak of the University of Illinois highlights that this set of competencies is the sum of the emotional development stimulated by family, society, school, and the individual.
It is also worth paying attention to educating children and adolescents so that they are able to navigate effectively in reality. Social and emotional skills translate into better results at school, work, and private life. Let’s analyze it in more detail.
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What socio-emotional skills do we need?
Jones, DE, Greenberg, M., and Crowley, M. (2015) emphasize that starting work on socioemotional competencies early results in a higher degree of social adaptation. This aspect translates into physical and mental health.
Some of the competencies mentioned are:
- Self-awareness, which is the ability to recognize emotions and how they relate to thoughts and behaviors.
- Self-control. It is about the ability to regulate emotions in any situation with the simultaneous ability to adapt and adjust one’s behavior to the circumstances.
- Social awareness is understood as the ability to take into account the point of view of others.
- Communication competencies such as the ability to express oneself, listen and solve problems.
- Setting realistic, positive, motivating goals.
- The ability to create healthy, positive, and happy relationships.
What is the importance of socio-emotional skills?
A study by Dr. Damon Jones at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who worked on socio-emotional skills from the age of 4 did better in college. What’s more, they also did better in adult life – they got along at work and in private.
The benefits of working on socio-emotional competencies are:
- Greater persistence in pursuing goals. Positive emotions increase our possibilities.
- More satisfying friendships, family, and emotional relationships.
- More effective problem-solving.
- Better coexistence with others thanks to the regulation of emotions.
- The more effective setting of boundaries increased self-esteem and self-control.
- A more empathetic and human environment.
- Lowering the level of aggression.
- Reduction of stress and anxiety.
Socio-emotional abilities have a positive effect on both mental and physical health.
How to improve your socioemotional abilities?
The sphere of socio-emotional competencies focuses primarily on the field of education. Children and adolescents should start working on them early.
What about adults? Is it too late for them? Well no. It is never too late to work on your emotions.
Here’s the key to improving your socio-emotional skills:
- Know yourself. Set your limits. Are you losing control? Can’t communicate with others? Have difficulty identifying your needs and feelings? Define your shortcomings and take them as a starting point.
- As Goleman says, you need to channel your emotions towards constructive goals. Try to reorient your stress and anxiety into a sense of well-being. Get to the source of your emotions (sadness, anger, frustration …), name them, give them space and try to understand them.
- It is never too late to work on communication skills, empathy, and assertiveness.
Remember that we live in society and we are committed to caring and understanding each other and creating friendly, productive circles.
Change is part of each of us. With a little will and commitment, we are able to create a more empathetic reality in which understanding and controlling emotions translate into quality of life.