The Five Intelligences/Competencies
The core of GreeneStone Muskoka’s treatment is based around The Five Intelligences/Competencies:
Emotional Intelligence (EI) – ability to recognize and use feelings in accessing memories and making decisions
Cognitive Intelligence (CI) – ability to theorize, problem solve and understand processes & systems
Spiritual Intelligence (SI) – ability to develop and utilize meaningful principles to act as guidelines, and to feel safe in the universe of human experience
Physical Intelligence (PI) – ability to be aware of what the body requires to maintain high performance, strength and overall wellness through exercise nutrition and healthy sleep
Relational Intelligence (RI) – become versatile in managing social relationships and experiencing intimacy
Progress is based on achieving balance in these areas and increase an individual’s ability to be resilient to work through all life’s challenges. Of course, there is not one approach that works for everyone but based on the 5 intelligences we mold each approach based on what works for the Client.
Massage, swimming, yoga, walking, meditation and physical fitness are also program components to ensure that residents have the balance of the five intelligences/competencies that are the pillars of the GreeneStone holistic approach.
SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE (SI)
Perhaps the most basic question human beings ask is: “How can I be safe in this universe?” If there is no safety, survival is not possible. We cannot live life in a state of chronic apprehension, fear or terror: it would paralyze us. Our brain would become poisoned by the toxic neuro-chemicals created by chronic stress arousal.
Human beings need to create an ‘assumptive world’ that allows them some assurance at a deep level that the universe of people, places and things they populate is ordered, predictable and therefore, safe. Spirituality addresses the need of humans to create a safe universe.
Spiritual Intelligence is also about our innate need to leave a legacy. Humans are the only mammals to have a reflective consciousness to ask, “Where do we come from and what does it all mean?” We need to feel that our lives, our existence, will have some significance and meaning when it is all done. We want to leave behind something others may remember and from which they benefit. Perhaps it is simply our way of maximizing the survival of the next generation, but whatever it is, it is a strong impulse – to live a life that has meaning.
Spiritual Intelligence is having a clear sense of the core principles we use to guide our choices and priorities based upon a vision of what we are all about. It connects us to the universe from which we have evolved and allows us to feel rooted and grounded and at one with the source of our life.
It is well known that when people experience intense or even traumatic stress, one of the first questions they ask is, “Why has this happened to me?” It‘s a question about meaning. Meaning is important to every human being. The question “Why?” is an essential question. It answers the important issues about life and identity. When we feel we understand the meaning of life, it brings a profound sense of satisfaction and relief. When we are not sure about the answers, we feel on edge and anxious.
Meaning gives us a sense that life is predictable and ordered. When things are predictable and we sense an order about our life and our universe of people, places and things, we are free to feel safe in our own skin. If life is not seen to be predictable, then our safety is put at risk. We never know when chaos will strike or what to defend ourselves against. This state of mind triggers chronic and sometimes intense stress. We become uneasy, hyper-vigilant and full of stress related symptoms. An extreme form of this is called a Panic Attack.
Meaning and the beliefs that provide us with meaning is what religion and philosophy is all about. When we get to a point in our life when the question ‘Why?’ becomes important, we often turn to religion or philosophy for an answer. It is normal for all of us from time to time in our lives to wrestle with this vexing question. Sudden unexpected events or changes such as deaths, accidents, and even pleasant surprises can trigger this. We also experience certain periods of life when we ask these questions, such as the mid-life transition.
When we are preoccupied with important questions about our life and identity, we are more likely to experience additional stress. Resolution of these questions allows us to re-establish our sense of order and predictability – and therefore, safety. We can literally be relieved of the stress and begin to relax again about life. If these questions remain unsolved, we will experience continuous unease and anxiety which may even move to disorder and disease.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EI)
The word emotion means ‘to cause movement’. Emotions mobilize us to respond to changing situations by turning on and off our body’s various energy systems. Almost every experience we have over the course of our life is stored as a memory.
The amygdala, a pair of almond shaped organs in the limbic part of our brain, and one of the first organs of the brain to come online before we are born, scans all incoming sensations and tags them with emotions such as fear, joy, satisfaction, pleasure, sadness or anger. The emotional tags are used by the brain in managing risk as we move through our life experience. When we are presented with challenges, opportunities, threats or possibilities and have to make choices, our amygdala furnishes us with crucial information through our emotions that have been tagged onto associated memories. These feelings become part of the information we need to choose or not choose.
Emotional intelligence is our ability to understand the importance of emotions in choice making. We become aware of the emotions that we are experiencing as well as being able to read the emotions on the faces of other people. This way we master these emotions so that they do not drive us, and we use these emotions to motivate us toward appropriate actions and decisions in the various situations we encounter.
A situation may arise that triggers strong emotions. We need to be aware of these emotions, identify what they are and use this presented by the brain to think twice, to increase alertness, to be aware of danger, to understand another person’s reaction to the situation, and then to make a rational decision based upon all the information available.
When Emotional Intelligence (EI) is underdeveloped, we may not be aware of the feeling as it is presented, or we ignore it as useful data, or we misread it on another person’s face, or allow the feelings to overwhelm us. Our choice making suffers as a result and the quality of our decisions and actions may be seriously deficient.
COGNITIVE INTELLIGENCE (CI)
“Cognitive“ refers to our ability to think. Our use of language and numbers, our ability to theorize, problem solve, understand processes and systems are all cognitive abilities. Cognitive Intelligence is our ability to use these abilities effectively.
Cognitive Intelligence has a variety of forms. Some people have practical, concrete ‘know how’. Others are more analytical and theoretical in their approach to problems. Some have natural ‘street smarts’ and can do very well with their natural ability to figure things out.
Baron Cohen, the British psychologist, suggests that men tend to have an ‘S Brain’ and are better at understanding machines, technologies, systems and processes. He argues that women are more gifted with ‘E brains’, more capable with the empathy side, or as we would say, Emotional Intelligence. For example, women are more articulate, in general, than men. They use more words than men do. They are more attuned to their feelings. Their Corpus Callosum, the bundle of nerves connecting the two brain hemispheres is 40% thicker in women than in men. Men on the other hand are better with numbers, abstractions and theories. Most of us have a combination of these abilities, and as in everything else, there are many exceptions to the rule.
Until relatively recently, Cognitive Intelligence was thought to be the key to doing well in life. IQ was thought to predict future success and accomplishment. If that were in fact the case, Mensa members would all be successful members of society, happy, well-adjusted and loved. Cognitive Intelligence alone, is clearly not enough for sustaining continuous high standard performance. There are many proficient and bright people whose performance at work leaves a wake of chaos and confusion.
Cognitive Intelligence is at its best in combination with Emotional Intelligence. Problem solving always requires the intuition of emotions. Individuals who are dealing with systems, processes, and machines also benefit from an awareness of the impacts of their decisions and choices.
RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (RI)
Through the interactions and experiences of the first two years of our life as the various organs of the right side of our brain come on line, our brain undergoes a process of parcellation or pruning of those cells that do not fire. Cells that are stimulated by our interactions and fire together wire together into circuits and networks. Through smell, touch, face games and voice we begin to form a relationship and the style of our interactions with others for most of our life.
If our parents and caretakers during these crucial years are available to us, consistently present, and appropriately responsive, and if we do not suffer maltreatment, we develop a secure attachment. If this is not the case we may feel anxious about the relationship, and either escalate our need in fear or de-escalate our needs in resignation. We thus become either anxious in relationships, seeking to please and placate and somewhat insecure, or we become insecure and avoidant of relationships, not able to tolerate intimacy. In adult life these experiences colour our relational style and shape our Relational Intelligence. Relational Intelligence is our ability to form affiliative rather than oppositional relationships.
Affiliative relationships are open, trusting, friendly and respectful of other’s and our own needs. Relational Intelligence leads us from a narcissistic, self-centered way of relating to one that is collaborative and generous.
Relational Intelligence involves the ability to create relationships that serve as a secure base for and those to whom we relate. It enables us to serve as a safe haven to those around us to be involved in a community of people who are important to us. Using the skills of the other intelligences, relationally intelligent individuals derive comfort and safety from stable satisfactory relationships with people who are around them at home and at work.
Social isolation and loneliness are hazardous to one’s health. It can even be life threatening. Studies over the last twenty years have shown that social isolation, the sense that you have nobody with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings in an intimate way, doubles the chances of sickness and death. The magazine “Science” reported in 1997 that isolation is as significant to mortality rates as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise.
Isolation is harder on men than on women. Isolated men are 2 to 3 times more likely to die sooner than men with close social ties. For isolated women the risk is half that of men. One recent finding is that for men, separation or divorce has a health impact equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
PHYSICAL INTELLIGENCE (PI)
Exercise is a biochemical event that affects nearly every cell in your body. It washes away the stress chemistry that builds up over the course of the day. The release of hormones like adrenaline and endorphins brings relief from toxic emotions like anger, fear, sadness, guilt and depression. Exercise can be a powerful mechanism for mental and emotional recovery from the stresses of work.
Maintenance of high performance requires adequate food and water. If nutritional and hydration needs are not sufficiently met, all stress eventually becomes excessive and all recovery mechanisms fail.
Apart from eating, drinking and breathing, sleep is the most important recovery activity. It is the largest and most powerful of our circadian rhythms and disruption of this biological clock will eventually have serious health and performance consequences. Most people require seven to eight hours of sleep in any 24-hour period. The precise amount of sleep one needs is highly individual and depends on a number of factors including age, volume of physical activity and levels of mental and emotional stress.
Depriving yourself of sleep is similar to depriving yourself of food. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts performance factors. It has been shown to significantly reduce physical strength in weight lifters and the ability of competitive cyclists to utilize oxygen. Studies have shown how mental performance steadily declined as sleep debt increases. Significant declines in attention control, concentration, memory and logical-analytic reasoning have been documented by researchers.