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What is EI?

There are many words linked to EI including empathy, emotions, motivation, relationships, social skills, communication and well-being among many others.  On the obverse side, a low emotional quotient can be associated with stress, anger, and moodiness in many instances.    In the book – Understanding Emotional Intelligence by Neilson Kite & Frances Kay, it is stated that “In responding to situations, more than anything else it is about how you control your emotions more than they control you, and how you use an emotional framework when making choices and decisions, with or without other people.” That is what EI is about.

Emotions reside in the limbic part of the brain, namely the amygdala, and are a reflection of learned behaviour from our childhood associated with Bowlby’s attachment theory of secure and insecure upbringing.  Emotions learnt during that time become our “go-to” method of dealing with life today unless we have set up new pathways in the brain to process incoming information.

Stress and anxiety can erode mental abilities but also could make people less emotionally intelligent, in that for instance, if you think about the 3 F’s structure – flight, fight and freeze that is initiated in times of stress, empathy for instance, would not be a big saviour in these times and hence it is switched off in our brains.

The Brain, EI and Handwriting

Dr Marc Seifer in his article “How writing reveals a damaged brain” talks about “If the brain is injured by accident or disease, handwriting will be affected in specific ways that scientists are only beginning to delineate. Conversely, studying handwriting may give us important clues to how and where a brain is malfunctioning.”  He goes on to say “Anatomically, even scrawling a quick note to yourself, “pick up milk,” is a complex voluntary procedure, engaging the cooperation of all lobes of your cerebral cortex with other parts of your brain—including the limbic system, hippocampus, brain stem, and cerebellum—and finally the spinal cord, which sends impulses out to your hands and fingers. Damage to any of these parts will affect your fine motor control and show up as some type of break in the rhythm or control of your handwriting.”

Information is being processed continually in the brain, with synapses firing in all directions.  If a synapse is blocked or is degenerated by dis-ease, then the brain is capable of forging new pathways if aided by new learning.  EI is learnt, you are not born with it and learning can take place at any time in life so the social and emotional skill set, known as emotional intelligence, is something we can all have.

How does the psychology of handwriting link to EI?

With thanks to http://johnhaime.com/2014/04/your-emotional-brain-a-key-in-performance/ for the graphic.

Graphology has been around for centuries, indeed the word itself was coined by Jean-Hippolyte Michon in 1871, although handwriting analysis per se had been around for many centuries before.  Psychology was introduced as a scientific study in 1879 but like graphology grew up with input from philosophers throughout the centuries.

Psychology is the scientific study of all forms of human….behaviour (Collins Dictionary) and graphology is the psychological study of handwriting meaning that all forms of behaviour can be seen in the handwriting.   With personality being seen as the sum total of all behavioural and mental characteristics by means of which an individual is recognised.

This is where the link between graphology and EI can now be seen.  Graphology is an analytical technique that allows the graphologist to delve into the personality of the individual. This includes the sociability and relationship skills of the person together with their communicative abilities, their drives and motivations as well as the biological demands, such as physical activity, sexual demands and financial needs, to name but a few aspects as well as the controls that they have mastered.  A good graphologist can identify the stressors in a person’s life together with the likelihood of what has been the original cause of that reaction to life. We look not at the symptoms but, deeper into the causes.  In identifying attachment disorders, emotional intelligence, IQ as well as psychological and/or physiological disorders, a broad report can be produced of the behavioural characteristics of an individual for recruitment, personal development, upskilling and team building where required.

Daniel Goleman wrote in his New Leaders book that “distress not only erodes mental abilities, but also makes people less emotionally intelligent.  People who are upset have trouble reading emotions accurately in other people – decreasing the most basic skill needed for empathy and, as a result, impairing their social skills.”  Using graphology as a tool can help identify which leaders are emotionally intelligent – it is objective, not subjective unlike the Emotional Intelligence Test, where it asks you to indicate which options are relevant to you and that “there may be some questions describing situations that you may feel are not relevant to your life” but you are to answer them anyway.  The graphological assessment is carried out manually and therefore certain subtleties, ambiguities and ambivalences can be picked up that a computer programme is unable to determine and thus can alter a whole report.  Graphology refers to behavioural characteristics that indicate who you are based on what your handwriting is showing linked from the experiences in your mind.

For more information about graphology and how it can help you with recruitment, up-skilling staff, team building, absence management and personal development go to www.christina-strang.com/freetraining

©Christina Strang 13/07/2017

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