What Is Emotional Intelligence And How Can It Be Developed
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Over the past few decades, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become an increasingly popular concept. While there are some who claim that this idea of emotional quotient or “EQ” was originally proposed by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his best-selling books like _Emotion_ and _Psychological Clarity,_ many others say it was first discussed in John Mayer’s 2003 book The Present Moment.
Regardless of which one is correct, what we can agree on is that emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use your own emotions along with other people’s emotions. This seems fairly straightforward, but there are several reasons why this idea has recently become so popular.
First, research shows that having high levels of EQ is linked to a number of positive outcomes. These include higher job performance, lower rates of illness and depression, better relationships, and even increased life expectancy. Therefore, developing your EQ could have significant benefits for you long term!
Second, studies indicate that most successful leaders exhibit a certain level of empathy. In fact, researchers have found that being able to identify and describe feelings is one of the key predictors of leadership effectiveness.
Third, while not always considered a strong skill, many believe that being aware of your own negative thoughts and feelings is important in helping you achieve personal growth and wellness.
Factors that affect our emotional intelligence
One of the most important things in life is understanding how emotions work.
We all have certain feelings, and we’re always experiencing some kind of emotion – whether it’s joy or sadness, anger or fear. We usually know what causes those thoughts and feelings.
For example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, your perception changes and you feel angry. When you find out there was no reason for the other person to be rude, you may get sad.
But, what happens if you don’t understand why you’re feeling one way? Or what to do with these new feelings once they arise?
That’s where emotional intelligence comes in. You see, just like with any skill, emotional intelligence can be trained. And while everyone has a limited amount of emotional intelligence, you are never too old to develop it.
In this article, we will discuss what emotional intelligence is, how to improve yours, and the five main factors that influence it.
Ways to improve our emotional intelligence
One of the most important things you can do to strengthen your emotional intelligence is recognize when someone else is experiencing a feeling or emotion, and what aspect of their personality they are showing.
This is called identifying their ‘mood’ or'state of mind'. By understanding what mood or state people are in, we are able to determine if they are in a good place or not, as well as whether something seems out of place for them.
By using these tools, you will be able to notice changes in other people's emotions and how they behave towards others which can help you develop relationships.
If there was one thing that everyone had low levels of it would be anger. We all have feelings, but some of us use those feelings more effectively than others to regulate their own emotions.
Ways to be more emotional intelligent
A lot of people think that being smart means not having emotions, or even believing that you can’t control your feelings.
That assumption is wrong!
Intelligence includes understanding other people, knowledge, and logic. It also includes knowing how to manage yourself and what things are important to you.
But it doesn't include feeling emotions. That's a part of human nature.
So, thinking that you don’t have emotion is kind of dumb. Because you do!
You feel pain, joy, happiness, sadness, gratitude, jealousy, surprise, anger, hope, fear, love, and so on. Some people refer to these as emotions, but they're really just experiences.
It’s why we laugh, cry, and enjoy life.
Take care of your mental health
Too often, people ignore their mental health because they believe that there are no easy ways to manage their emotions. While it is true that some skills for managing your emotional life come more easily to some than others, you can learn them!
You do not have to feel that you are “deficient” in emotion regulation if you struggle with this area of your personality. There are many strategies you can use to improve your emotional intelligence (EI).
Research shows that just like with any other skill, EI can be improved through systematic training and practice. This means you don’t have to feel bad about yourself if you find it difficult to regulate your emotions. On the contrary, you can see progress being made even if you still need help at times.
There are several different approaches to developing your EI, so which one should you choose depends mostly on what types of behaviors you would like to change and how much time you have to devote to professional development.
Learn to laugh
A lot of people get stuck in a pattern of thinking that includes many negative thoughts. They may go through life with very little joy or happiness, which can have lasting effects.
Research shows that people who are able to regulate their emotions tend to enjoy their lives more than those who cannot.
By learning how to reduce your stress levels and deal with difficult situations effectively, you will also learn how to enjoy yourself more.
It is important to recognize that not everyone experiences positive feelings all the time, but most people experience some level of pleasure at least several times a day.
If you want to increase your emotional intelligence it is helpful to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and work on improving both areas.
Learn to be assertive
Being able to recognize your own emotions is a key part of developing emotional intelligence. You’re probably already aware of some of these, like when you feel angry or hurt.
Having more awareness of your feelings can help you control how much they affect you. And for anyone who has ever tried to talk someone out of something, this may seem obvious, but knowing what makes someone else lose their cool can help you keep yours in check.
There are several types of people who lack emotion-aware. They may worry about things without feeling really anxious, be intolerant of others due to a limited sense of empathy, or be easily agitated with little reason.
These traits are not good ways to exist as someone else’s partner, parent, friend, or employee. In fact, research suggests that having low levels of emotional intelligence is a risk factor in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Develop your self-awareness
One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with their emotions is because they are not aware of them.
We tend to think that our feelings come from external causes, such as something someone said or done to us. But while this may be the case for some experiences, most experiences trigger an emotion inside you.
The reason for this is because you have built up expectations over time.
For example, if someone does something pleasant for you, it can create happiness and joy. If someone does something unpleasant, like ask you about how hard your job search was, it can make you feel bad.
But what happens when someone does something neutral – like hold open a door for you? This doesn’t necessarily mean anything special to you, but you recognize it as yours.
That person has acknowledged you as an individual, which creates a sense of inner calm and security. In other words, they have paid attention to you, which makes you feel important.
So how do we develop emotional intelligence? By being able to identify our own emotions and understand why we are feeling a certain way.
Self-reflection is one of the key components in developing your emotional intelligence. You will want to try practicing these every day.
You could write down examples of situations that made you feel a particular way and see if you can determine why.
Alternatively, you could talk out your thoughts and feelings with a friend or family member.
Many people get emotional intelligence confused with “self-control” or even “emotion control,” which is not the same thing at all. While both are important to have, being able to identify your emotions and manage them effectively is not the same as controlling how you feel.
This can be tricky because most of us use emotion in relation to life experiences — something that has been difficult for some to relate to. There was a time when we didn’t know what it felt like to be hungry, so we don’t understand why someone else gets upset about food.
However, if you ever noticed that there were times when you weren’t hungry and you would start feeling hungry, then you learned how to recognize an emotion. You now know what it feels like!
Emotions also play a big part in how well people interact with others. If someone makes you angry, they will probably learn about your personal emotional boundaries before trying any kind of conversation.
On the other hand, if they make you happy, then you may want to talk more about things they said and see what they have to say back. This way, you can improve your own emotional literacy and apply those skills to everyday situations.