How Emotional Intelligence Is Defined
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Recent studies have linked high emotional intelligence (EI) with many positive outcomes, including better job performance, lower levels of stress, and higher quality relationships. Because EI is a skill that can be learned, it may even help improve other skills like socialization or communication ability.
However, before you assume that everyone has high emotional intelligence, there are some things to consider. For one, people who score highly on self-report measures of EI are probably telling themselves what they want to hear.
Furthermore, individuals may focus too much on emotions in the short term instead of thinking about the future. That could make them create more negative mental patterns, which eventually contribute to anxiety or depression.
This article will discuss how we define emotional intelligence and some potential misconceptions. After that, we’ll talk about why developing your emotional literacy is important and possible strategies for doing so.
Emotional intelligence – what does it mean?
First, let us clarify the meaning of the word “emotional” in the phrase “intelligence related to feelings.” Many people use the word “feeling” as an all-encompassing descriptor, but this isn’t quite right.
Definition of emotional intelligence
What most people refer to as “emotional” or “intangible” quality is actually called non-rational, intuitive thinking. This type of thinking is subconscious and does not use logical reasoning as a basis.
Instead, it uses feelings to make decisions. For example, when you are hungry, your body goes into action to seek out food. Your intuition tells you that eating is needed so you do it!
This way of thinking can be used in both good and bad ways. It helps us understand why other people behave the way they do, and sometimes we cannot help but feel something about someone or something.
It also helps motivate us to perform our jobs well because we know if we don't get the job done, we won’t feel happy. We will be unhappy with ourselves and this could potentially affect how we feel about ourselves overall.
There are several theories about what makes individuals have high levels of emotional intelligence, though no one has identified any specific traits that correlate with it. Some believe it's born with you, while others think it is learned through life experiences.
Regardless, researchers agree that having higher emotional intelligence can have significant benefits for your health and wellbeing.
Factors that affect your emotional intelligence
There are several factors that influence someone’s emotional intelligence. These include genetics, early experiences, socialization, role models, motivation, and use of emotions.
Genetics play a significant part in determining how well you manage your own emotions as well as those of others. Some people are just wired to be more emotionally intelligent than others.
Some studies suggest that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence are genetically encoded. This means that they were born with these skills or they developed them through natural processes such as learning from peers and parents.
However, it is possible to develop emotional intelligence even if you weren’t born with strong emotion regulation abilities. You can learn how to control your emotions by practicing techniques like mindfulness, self-reflection, and understanding yourself and other people.
Early experiences have an enormous impact on someone’s ability to regulate their emotions. Kids who grow up in supportive environments often learned important lessons about empathy and compassion.
As kids, children who experienced frequent changes in caregivers also usually learned to put off things like waiting for a turn or sharing his/her toys. This helps them become adults who are able to deal with change and delay reward.
Socialization comes in many forms, including education, career, and family. As young kids, kids who experience lots of different cultures and families probably learned some helpful strategies for regulating their emotions.
Role models are another powerful influencer.
Ways to improve your emotional intelligence
First, what is emotional intelligence? It’s not knowing how to use emotions for your own benefit, which is why some people are good at putting on masks and using denial as an effective coping mechanism.
It’s not having feelings that get in the way of your work or personal life, which can be a very productive thing when you realize this about yourself.
It’s not being able to identify your own feelings, which helps you understand why other people feel certain ways.
And it’s definitely not thinking of yourself as a strong person because you’re able to control your emotions.
Taking care of your emotional health
A lot of people talk about “emotional intelligence”, but they mean something different than what we will be defining here. We will use the term in line with how it is typically defined, which is to say that emotional intelligence refers to our ability to recognize, understand, manage, and utilize emotions for meaningful life experiences.
With this definition in mind, you can start thinking about ways you may have limited emotional intelligence. For example, when someone does not agree with you or disagrees with important decisions you are making, they may try to pull you down by using ridicule, intimidation, or anger as tactics.
This is sometimes referred to as attack mode. When you find yourself in this situation, it is very difficult to identify what emotion you should feel because there isn't one. You could either give up and stop trying or push through and prove them wrong, but both of these actions require you to contain your own feelings.
Develop your emotional maturity
In psychology, emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as “the ability to perceive, control, and use your emotions for effective goal performance”. Some refer to it as EQ – emotional quotient.
This definition was first proposed in Daniel Goleman's best-selling book The New Science of Success in 2002. Since then, there have been many theories about what makes someone more emotionally intelligent than others.
Some say it's born with you, while others believe people are either highly or less empathetic depending on their upbringing. Still other experts think it develops over time through experiences and interactions with other people.
Whatever theory applies to you, developing your emotional intelligence can help you in every area of your life — work, family, health. Because they understand how feelings influence behavior, people who high in EI know how to motivate themselves and inspire trust from those around them.
They're also better able to handle stress and deal effectively with changes in situations. All this helps them stay productive and happy -- which make them happier and healthier individuals.
You don't need to be an expert at recognizing everyone's emotions, but you should be able to recognize your own. And once you do that, you can work on regulating your own emotions and teaching yourself about yours.
Everyone has different levels of emotional intelligence, and no one person seems to stand out as having very much of it.
Recent research suggests that emotional intelligence is more than just knowing how to recognize and manage your emotions. It’s also about being able to understand why you feel the way you do, and what role emotion plays in relationships and career success.
Some experts believe that EQ is an inherent quality most people have but only some use effectively. People with high levels of emotional intelligence are simply better at understanding their own feelings and those of others.
They may be more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknessess of other people. In fact, several studies suggest that having higher EQ can help you achieve your goals by improving your relationship skills, self-confidence, and communication ability.
There are many theories about what makes someone seem like they have high emotional intelligence. Some say it’s born with you, while others think it’s learned through experiences.
No matter which theory is true, making sure you develop your emotional intelligence is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here are some tips for doing that..
Understand your emotions
A key part of emotional intelligence is being able to understand your own emotions. You can’t effectively manage someone else’s behavior if you don’t know what they are feeling, so knowing how you feel is an important first step.
Most people have a sense of what makes them feel happy or sad, but not many are very good at recognizing other feelings that may be less familiar.
For example, when someone else seems angry with you, it can be hard to tell whether they are really mad at you or if they are just trying to get a different emotion out — like fear or sadness.
You also need to recognize which emotions are appropriate for certain situations. For instance, no one should yell in front of children, so it's helpful to be aware of your own feelings and those of others around you.
Emotions connect us to each other and help motivate us as individuals and groups. When we lose touch with our emotions, it can hurt us -- physically and emotionally.
Learn to be assertive
In order to have emotional intelligence, you first must learn how to be assertive. Assertiveness is knowing what words to use and when to use them.
You may not like something or someone, but being assertive means using appropriate language and standing up for yourself or others.
It can also mean saying “no” to things that are too big of an ask- especially if you don't feel confident in your ability to succeed. This could be because you don't want to risk failing, or you don't believe you deserve this reward.
Being assertive comes more naturally to some people than others. You should try to understand where these natural strengths come from and work to develop yours.