Put your life on hold and enjoy

There’s more to life than having loads of money and a fancy car. Inner happiness for example. The Swedish Kinga Lundblad (56) is aiming for just that. With her company Leventa she gives Algarve-based conferences which focus on enhancing your emotional intelligence. Enjoy the Algarve talks to Kinga about emotional intelligence and how this leads to a happier life.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine March 2017

All pictures courtesy of Leventa


First of all, why should we learn about emotional intelligence?

We live in a complex time. Stress is rising; we have incredible technology to communicate, yet people feel isolated. This combination makes people more volatile, impatient, and likely to either fight, flee, or freeze. Such behaviour makes it harder to solve the problems we face, both individually and collectively. The emotional challenge is growing – around the world, at work, at home. Even children are experiencing greater distress. Maybe once upon a time there was little need to learn the skills of emotional intelligence. In this world of growing complexity, however, we all need to develop more insight about how to handle emotions effectively. That’s where emotional intelligence comes in. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what really makes you feel good. Because what we actually need are the simple things like sun, food, rest, and smiles.


Sounds like you describe the Algarve! Does the environment here play a role in making you happy?

Certainly. Living in the Algarve makes me slow down, put my life on hold and enjoy. My senses are enhanced in every way: the smell of the ocean, almond trees, oranges, carobs, and figs. The taste of fish, vegetables and coffee. The slow way of living, with people who always have time to say ‘Bom dia’. The magnificent nature, with mountains, ocean, and villages where time seems to stand still. All this makes your life so rich in emotions that your dopamine levels create a feeling of happiness, almost like an all-time high.

I really love Portugal because it’s full of people who teach me to look around, stop moving forward for a while and feel from the inside. The people we meet in the Algarve are humble, kind, and don’t dwell about injustice. Instead, they succeed in maintaining a simple and happy lifestyle. Building up friendliness everywhere is a skill the Portuguese seem to have in their genes. To include you in their life is natural and common, so you gain friends everywhere. Last, but certainly not least, it’s easier to be happy when you have over 300 days of sun per year…


You’re right about that. Back to emotional intelligence, what is it exactly and why is it so important?

In a very simple way: emotional intelligence (EI) is marked by a person’s ability to recognise and understand emotions – both your own and others’  – and to use that information to guide yourself in decision-making. These decisions should be good for you and the world around you. Emotional intelligence means being smarter with feelings.

Some people get overwhelmed and too caught up in emotions. Others try not to feel and miss important signals. Neither extreme is very effective. EI means using emotions and thinking together – it’s about balance. People who’ve developed their emotional intelligence enjoy more success in every area of life. This is because life always involves interacting with others, and people with a high EQ make these interactions more rewarding for everyone.


So, how can we become more emotionally intelligent and thus happier in life? Do you have some tips?

Emotional intelligence certainly isn’t easy to obtain; it requires a lot of introspection and work. However, once you have mastered this skill you’ll soon discover better interpersonal relationships, career success, satisfaction, peace and happiness. One way of improving your EQ is by learning from the 10 things emotional intellectuals do:

1. They craft calculated responses
High EQ people learn to manage their responses, and calm down instead of reverting to panic and fear. They don’t make decisions when angry, hurt, or scared. Instead, they self-manage and make better decisions after reviewing the situation from their happy place.

2. They embrace new experiences, ideas or people
High EQ people are open in their thinking and intellectually curious. They often have friends from every walk of life and always seek new possibilities. They understand that they can’t always be right, and embrace the fact there is always more to learn.

3. They are empathetic towards others
Instead of seeing only their own needs and wants, High EQ people look at a bigger perspective and walk a mile in another person’s shoes. They are also forgiving of themselves and others and don’t attack, judge, interrupt, criticise or command people.

4. They take responsibility
Many people don’t take responsibility for their feelings; instead, they blame outside sources and react like a toddler when challenged. It’s so much healthier to grow up emotionally as well as physically. High EQ individuals don’t blame others when they realise they aren’t on the correct course. Instead they make adjustments and keep working on solutions.

5. They are self-aware
High EQ individuals can explain why they are experiencing certain feelings. They don’t lie about their feelings, minimize or exaggerate their emotions, nor do they let things build up. Being self-aware helps you understand why you react as you do and if needed, to take steps to change it.

6. They are good communicators
High EQ individuals have excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They are able to convey thoughts in a non-threatening, respectful manner. Instead of resorting to negative actions like door slams, moodiness, passive aggression, or silence, they talk about their feelings calmly.

7. They look at life from a balanced viewpoint
High EQ people aren’t overly pessimistic or unrealistically optimistic, but make the best out of difficult situations. They understand what is within their control and what isn’t. Therefore they don’t beat themselves up for things they have no ability to influence.

8. They are motivated by their own personal goals
High EQ people aren’t dominated by fear, worry, guilt, shame, obligation, disappointment, or discouragement. Instead they are motivated by their own desires. They don’t do things because of a false sense of duty, guilt, force, or obligation.

9. They are resilient
People who have matured emotionally don’t dwell on the past, but learn from it. Individuals with a high EQ never hold onto self-destructive belief systems and negative self-talk. Instead of allowing other people to make decisions for them, they take the steering wheel of their lives.

10. They look at situations logically
High EQ people can recognise when feelings don’t equal fact, so they don’t fight with head and heart. They tend to look at situations logically, understand why they feel a certain way, and then work through it proactively.


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine March 2017

Posted in Features, People.