Healthy Habits

Building Emotional Intelligence through Culture, Traditions, and Social Groups

Family Mountain Bike Riding Together on Sunny Day

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, build relationships, and overcome challenges.

The Gallup organization conducted a study to determine which countries are most emotionally aware and, as a result, have the highest level of emotional intelligence. They asked 1,000 individuals within 151 countries whether they had experienced a set of ten different emotions on the previous day (five positive and five negative).

  • “Positive experience” questions focused on whether respondents smiled or laughed frequently, were well-rested, treated with respect, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment the previous day.
  • “Negative experience” questions asked respondents whether they experienced physical pain, worry, sadness, stress, or anger.

The more times people answer “yes” to questions such as “Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?” the more emotionally aware they’re deemed to be.

The study’s results reported the percentage of people in each country who experienced all ten emotions. The Philippines scored the highest, with sixty percent of their population reporting experiencing the full range of emotions. The least emotionally aware countries averaged thirty five percent of their population experiencing the same.

What are the Filipino residents doing to recognize and experience higher levels of emotion and emotional intelligence? Sociologist Clifford Sorita noted the survey questions reveal that “Filipinos are ‘in-touch’ with our emotions and that we do not hide behind them. This is possible because we have a strong social support mechanism of family and friends, which allows us to ventilate how we feel and cope with these emotions in a healthy way.”

Filipino culture is rooted in a strong sense of traditions and maintaining positive relationships with friends and family. This foundation of connection allows residents to open up to each other, properly build relationships, and relieve stress. It also contributes to building a positive self-image and a feeling of acceptance. Many extended families in the Philippines live together and even distant members are given the title of cousin. Traditions and celebrations are very important in the Philippines. Celebrations are extravagant and residents dress up in vivid costumes, with masks and headdresses.

Fun Fact: Filipinos have one of the longest Christmas seasons. They celebrate Christmas during the “ber” months — September, October, November, and December!

Consider the following suggestions to build your emotional intelligence through developing a connection with culture, tradition, and social groups.

  • Research your ancestors and learn how they lived. What did they do for fun? What traditions did they celebrate?
  • Strengthen your social support network by hosting a game night or neighborhood barbeque.
  • Consider developing new traditions. They don’t need to be associated with holidays or special celebrations. Create something unique for your family like Pie Sunday or Picnic Night.
  • Find ways to serve those in your social support system. Keep a running note of small things you can do to help friends and family when they mention they are struggling.



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