Gen Z Emotional Intelligence
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As we mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as “the ability to identify and manage your emotions, and influence others due to your understanding of their feelings”.
But what makes people different in this area is not just knowing what emotion someone else is feeling, it’s being able to recognize your own emotions and how they affect you and those around you.
Studies show that young generations are suffering from low levels of emotional well-being. According to one study, almost half of all teens feel depressed on an occasional basis or more frequently than not.
Another study found that nearly two thirds of teenagers have at least one symptom of anxiety, with some studies finding up to three quarters experience symptoms of clinical anxiety.
Why might young people be struggling with their mental health?
It could be because they seem to lack empathy. A recent national survey revealed that only 6% of adolescents said they often felt like they understood the needs and concerns of other people.
This could be because most young adults today were raised in the era of technology, where social media has become the norm.
With every story about a student-leader protest or political debate featuring angry mobs spewing vitriol, online expression becomes the model for how individuals should respond to adversity.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Over the past few years, mental health professionals have increasingly focused their attention on what they call “emotional literacy” or "EI." This term refers to our ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions as well as those of others.
Most experts agree that we all have some degree of EI, but it can be very different person to person. Some people are more emotionally intelligent than others.
In fact, there's a theory which suggests that when someone else calls you out for your lack of empathy, it may actually increase your EQ because you learn how other people feel. (Think about it: If somebody points out that you're not compassionate, you might try harder next time.)
Gen-Zs, however, seem to be running into a bit of a crisis in terms of emotional intelligence. A recent study found that only one in five teens could identify an average emotion according to research, while another study determined that fewer than half were able to describe at least two types of emotions.
Given this trend, it seems reasonable to assume that many young adults don't spend much time educating themselves about the importance of managing their feelings.
Skills of emotional intelligence
First, what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to your ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use emotions for effective performance in life situations.
There are several factors that make up your overall EI score. These include:
Self-awareness – The skill of being aware of one’s own feelings and behaviors
– The skill of being aware of one’s own feelings and behaviors Acceptance of oneself – This includes believing good things about yourself
This includes believing good things about Yourself Limit setting -the knowledge of how much pressure you can place on someone else before they feel overwhelmed or discouraged
– This includes knowledgeof how much pressure you can place on someone else before they feel Overwhelmed or Discouraged defense – Recognizing when something feels wrong but trying to defend why it’s not as bad as it seems
Recognizing when something feels wrong but Trying to defend why it’s not as bad as it seems Control – Having adequate self control in both actions and thoughts
These skills work together, creating strong relationships and helping you achieve your goals. People with higher EQ are more likely to succeed in school, work, and personal relationships.
They may be better at motivating themselves towards a goal, keeping their commitments, and handling stress.
How to improve your emotional intelligence
Recent studies show that young people these days are experiencing more mental health issues than ever before. Depression, anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, you name it — they’ve got it!
In fact, one study found that over half of all teens suffer from at least one type of depression and almost a third suffered simultaneously from three or more types.
This is terrifying because even if their current mood does not include sadness, grief, or other negative emotions, they can still develop additional symptoms as their underlying psychological state changes.
It is important to note that although many experts agree that early diagnosis and treatment of mental illness can help mitigate long-term effects, most individuals with serious mental illnesses never received this care during adolescence.
That’s why it’s so crucial we work to promote emotional literacy in our youth. We need to teach them how to identify their feelings and what normal feels like for them.
We also have to emphasize that there is no good way to respond to an emotion you feel. The best thing to do is usually the opposite of whatever action triggered the feeling.
Take care of your mental health
It is important to recognize that every person has their own level of emotional intelligence. Some people are more emotionally intelligent than others, which may make it difficult for them to understand what emotions other people are feeling or why they feel certain ways.
This can be very frustrating for them if these individuals seem angry all the time, show little-to no emotion, and/or cry only under specific circumstances.
General moods and expression of emotions should not be judged unless there are symptoms of another disorder. If you notice changes in someone’s behavior, talk with them about how they are feeling so you know what to watch out for.
Do not assume anything about anyone else’s feelings until we have diagnosed them as having an illness such as depression or anxiety. There are many different factors that contribute to someone’s emotional state, including genetics, socialization, life events, and culture.
Seek social support
One of the most important skills that gen-Ys need to develop is emotional intelligence. This is described as knowing what emotions are, recognizing them in others, and how to use them effectively for your own mental health and well-being.
Social media has made it easy to access all sorts of different emotions, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Some posts may be motivational or inspiring, but there may also be some that can make you feel bad about yourself or even hurtful.
That’s why it is so important to evaluate which types of content you look into online. You should only expose yourself to things that make you feel good about yourself and give you inspiration to do new things!
There will always be people who have different opinions than yours, that’s just part of being human! Figuring out how to deal with those differences is an integral part of self-confidence.
People who show off how much money they have or talk about how great their life is probably don’t spend too much time thinking about how poor they are. It takes someone else’s perspective to remind you where you fall short sometimes.
A lot of people think that being emotionally intelligent means being able to identify all of the emotions in someone else and then responding with those same emotions. That is definitely a part of emotional intelligence, but it’s not the only one.
Emotional intelligence also looks at how you manage your own feelings. It includes things like self-confidence, motivation, and stress management. All of these are important when it comes to controlling your own emotions as well as other people’s.
If someone does something that makes you feel bad or angry, don’t let their actions make you more unhappy. Take some time to yourself first to calm down, and then talk about what happened.
You may be surprised by how much this helps! Sometimes, just talking about the thing will do it.
Gen Yers especially need to work on emotional literacy. This means understanding your emotions and why you have them before figuring out if they are appropriate for any given situation.
Develop your self-awareness
A large part of emotional intelligence is understanding yourself. This includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as being aware of how you interact with others.
It also means recognizing your emotions and what triggers them. For example, someone may make you feel bad for something they said or done, so you start to cry. If this was an important relationship, they might notice that you have changed color.
You can learn about your own feelings and why you are feeling a certain way by identifying factors in your life – work, family, health, money, etc.
There’s no need to look at only the negative things, though.
Be honest with yourself
As we mentioned before, gen-focused companies are now offering courses that teach you how to be more emotionally intelligent. These courses typically focus on topics such as emotional regulation, empathy, and stress management.
But what is emotional intelligence? And why should you care about it?
Emotional intelligence (or EI for short) refers to our ability to identify and understand your emotions and those of others, use these feelings to motivate yourself and others, and manage your own moods and behaviors according to standards set by expectations of yourself and others.
It’s also important to note that while everyone has some degree of emotional intelligence, people who have high levels of EI go beyond just understanding their own feelings -- they apply this knowledge to helping other individuals feel better and achieve their goals.
That said, research suggests that people who are higher in EI tend to experience less negative mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression. They may also report experiencing greater happiness than those who are lower in EI.