At today’s workplace, which is inundated by data, reports, charts, presentations, analytics, statistics etc., people often discount the importance of relatively softer aspects – like intrapersonal & interpersonal ones – in decision making and management. However, what they forget is that all the number-crunching, interpretation, and correlation is done inside an organ that is housed inside a ‘person’.

The fact is that it’s hard to ignore the so-called soft aspects, but alas…most of learn it the hard way. Well, before we discuss it in some details, watch this video to get the gist of what we are discussing, why it is important, and how it has relevance in professional as well as personal context…



Yes, as you heard, self-awareness is the first step towards managing self and others. Every ‘body’ says something, but unfortunately, most of us do not listen to it when and how we should. There is an important term for it – interoception.

We all have heard about 5 senses – visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory (taste), and olfactory (smell). However there are three more – vestibular (inputs regarding movement & position of head relative to gravity), proprioception (inputs regarding the position, location, orientation, and movement of muscles & joints), and interoception (inputs regarding the state & mode of our internal organs).

While all are important, in terms of emotional & social intelligence, interoception has special importance, because if seen in an inclusive way, it gives the answer of ‘how are you feeling?’

As the video explains, the rationale behind the point is rooted in neuroscience. If we look at our brain, we will find that on the basis of the need, our brain usually keeps our body in one of the two modes: ‘flight or fight’ mode or ‘rest and digest’ mode. Brain does this automatically, beyond our conscious thinking-process. That’s why before you realize that ‘you are scared’, your heartbeat has already gone up.

This is called ‘Autonomic Nervous System’ response. ‘Flight or fight’ is a tense, or you can say an intense mode for those situations in which body needs that extra thrust to deal with the situation. That’s why, in this mode, breathing-rate rises, heart rate increases, mouth becomes dry, gulping becomes labored, blinking rate increases, and there is increased perspiration. This mode generally gets activated during situations like fear, anger or anxiety.

So, if you are going for an important deal, and must feel right for the occasion, it is important to pay attention to the autonomic signals, especially if they are those of ‘flight or fight’ mode. Those signals tell you about the stimulation of your internal emotional state. Only when you are be able to spot them can you sort the underlying issues, balance your emotional state, and respond aptly in interpersonal situations. Well, to acknowledge this fact, track one’s state and do the needful, social & emotional intelligence is required.

Only an understanding of the ‘design and function of human brain’ blended with psychological concepts can help you learn emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, it is a skill that can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…‘Self-awareness is the first step towards managing self and others’.


Dr. Sandeep Atre

‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert

Founder – Socialigence

Note: Socialigence ( offers self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.