How High Is My Emotional Intelligence
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People often talk about emotional intelligence (EI) as if it is a skill that you are either have or you don’t. This isn’t true at all!
Emotional intelligence doesn’t work like this. It is not something you are born with and then things start to come together, we're told. You must be taught how to control your emotions, our society tells us.
However, there's another way to look at it. What most people refer to as ‘emotional literacy’ or ‘self-control’ is actually just one part of what makes up EI.
The other parts are understanding yourself and others, and using these insights in order to achieve goals. In fact, many would argue that having strong self-awareness and empathy is what makes someone high in EI.
This can sometimes get lost when people speak about emotion management and mental health. These concepts focus more on the first part of the term — understanding yourself and others — than the second.
People with low levels of emotional intelligence may understand themselves well, but they may lack knowledge and skills in how to relate to others. Or, they may use social skills for personal gain instead of for genuine benefits.
This article will discuss the different types of emotional intelligence, why it matters, and some ways you can increase yours.
Factors that affect emotional intelligence
Recent research suggests that there are five main factors involved in creating an emotionally intelligent person. These include genetics, early experiences, socialization, lifestyle, and training.
Genetics play a significant role in determining someone’s emotional intelligence. People with parents who were socially intelligent are more likely to develop their own social skills and empathy.
Early experiences can have a big impact as well. If your childhood was filled with lots of love and attention, you will probably understand and use emotions for good. As children, you learn how to relate from watching and copying your caregivers.
Socialization is also important because it teaches you about what makes people happy and unhappy, and how they process information. Kids who grow up around many different cultures may get extra help developing their empathy.
A healthy lifestyle can contribute to higher emotional intelligence by ensuring that you eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and sleep enough. Nutrient-rich diets improve blood flow which helps keep your mood stable. Exercise benefits our mental health by reducing stress hormones in the body. And sleeping well reduces anxiety and depression caused by stress.
Last, if you are looking to increase your EQ, starting any kind of self-help or therapy is a great way to go. Learning how to manage your emotions and relationships takes practice, so seeking professional guidance can be very helpful.
Overall, being smart in the area of emotion depends mostly on two things: genetics and experience.
The five levels of emotional intelligence
There are different types of emotional intelligence you have depending on how well you understand your own emotions, as well as other people’s. These differ from each other in their level of proficiency and what they refer to as ‘theory component’ (or understanding) versus 'practice' or application.
The most basic type is called intrapersonal emotion regulation, which means being able to recognize your own feelings and then using that knowledge to modify the way you feel about something or someone.
This can be done by thinking about past experiences with similar situations and figuring out what worked before and didn’t work, applying new strategies to the present situation, etc.
Interpersonal relationships depend heavily on mastering this area of emotional intelligence. This includes knowing when others are trying to get your attention, how to motivate them, and whether they deserve your respect and trust.
Workplace success also depends on individuals who share these skills interacting with one another directly or indirectly. In both cases, it requires taking into account not only what emotions other people seem to be feeling, but why they may be feeling that way - and if those emotions will help or hinder accomplishing your goals.
Ways to improve your emotional intelligence
People often say that you are born with a certain level of emotional intelligence (EI). You have some sort of inborn ability to identify emotions in others and use that information to motivate them or discourage them from acting out.
However, there is still something you can learn about your own emotional intelligence. In fact, you can increase it through training and practice.
There are many different ways to develop your EI. Here are five easy ways to boost your self-awareness, empathy, motivation, and control of your emotions.
Learning to be calm and in control
The second quality is called self-control or, more commonly these days, emotional intelligence. This refers to your ability to regulate your emotions and focus on what needs to be done at the moment.
This is important because we are constantly exposed to all sorts of things that could potentially influence our moods or stress levels. A lot of times, people get influenced by how they feel at the time and do not take very good actions due to that.
People who have high emotional intelligence can better recognize and understand their feelings and therefore take appropriate action instead of letting something make them angry or stressed out which could negatively affect other areas of their lives.
They may even be able to predict how someone will react to a situation before it happens so they can avoid creating a negative response.
Learning to be happy
We are constantly exposed to a barrage of messages telling us that happiness is unattainable or impossible. Messages that praise self-improvement suggest that being happier than you were yesterday is a hopeless quest.
In fact, we're surrounded by people who seem to have it all – bigger houses, better jobs, higher paychecks. It seems like everyone has their own version of what makes them happy.
But what if I told you that you already have some of the tools needed to be happier than you were yesterday? What if I told you that you’re already spending time studying these tools in your life?
We have a term for this: emotional intelligence (EI).
Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use emotions to improve our quality of life.
It's also referred to as “self-control” because it involves using emotion to help you achieve things such as improving your health, succeeding at work, and satisfying relationships.
With enough EI, you can overcome almost any challenge that comes your way. You'll feel more confident and able to deal with difficult situations.
Many experts believe that having high emotional intelligence is an asset; something most people have but few use to its fullest potential.
However, there are ways to increase your EQ so that you can benefit from it consistently. Here are six strategies to do just that.
Learning to be consistent
A lot of people develop skills by practicing them, which is what makes sports teams so successful. Teams that play together frequently are able to build trust in each other’s abilities and know how to work with one another because they have invested time in it.
In fact, research shows that being skilled at relationships is a key predictor of success in your career and life. It helps you achieve your goals and keeps you happy.
By learning how to put aside our own needs for those of others, we can maximize their potential growth and productivity. This also creates more space for us to grow ourselves.
Practicing self-awareness and emotional intelligence takes repeated effort over an extended period of time. But once you do, you'll see results in your quality of life and happiness.
Learning to set goals
When you don’t have much going for you, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do anything beyond your current level. It also makes it hard to identify what next steps are in your life.
In these cases, someone with higher emotional intelligence than you might help you. This person could be a friend or family member who encourages you when you're struggling to put aside time to do something. They may even go out of their way to help you accomplish your goal.
People with high emotional intelligence understand that motivating others is a process, not an event. They know how to use motivation strategies like learning from past experiences, giving people hope for the future, and being able to recognize and appreciate good work.
So while they may not say things like, "You should do this because it will make you happy," they can talk about why doing the thing you want to do is a smart idea.
They can emphasize how having this experience will benefit you, and suggest ways to prepare for it so you'll feel more confident. All of this helps you connect the action you want to take now into your long-term plan.
Communicating your feelings to others
Letting go is an important part of moving forward in life. If you have something stuck inside, you will never get it out!
By learning how to communicate more effectively, you can deal with much better situations. You will also feel happier because you are not holding onto all that energy anymore.
You may be worried about someone else’s reaction to a situation or you might not like what they say, but still want to keep talking to them.
Alternatively, they could make you feel bad for some reason and you could both run away without saying anything at all.
Either way, mental health will suffer as a result. It will become harder to relax and focus on other things, and you will worry more about everything including yourself.
Research has shown that people who talk less than our average level spend more time feeling stressed and unhappy. This link between silence and negative emotions seems particularly strong when there is no one around to listen.
If you need to hold back sometimes, try to do so for shorter periods or avoid having these conversations if you can.