What Is Emotional Intelligence And Why Is It Important
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is sometimes called) has become one of the most popular concepts in psychology. Many feel that this concept can help you achieve your goals and personalize your life by changing how you relate to people.
Some believe that it can even improve your job performance. After all, successful professionals are said to have high levels of EQ.
However, while some individuals may perceive their own level of EQ as already strong, many more could benefit from developing their social skills and control over their emotions.
This article will discuss what emotional intelligence is, why it matters, and strategies for improving your EQ. For additional tips on how to increase your empathy, read through our collection of articles here!
Keep reading to learn more about emotional intelligence and how to develop yours.
Why is emotional intelligence important
Over the past few decades, there has been an increasing focus on what we refer to as “emotional literacy” or “social skills training.” This trend can be traced back at least to the 1970s when psychologist Daniel Goleman first proposed his theory of emotional intelligence (EI).
Since then, many experts have expanded upon this initial work by defining specific traits of emotional intelligence and offering strategies and exercises for developing it.
Some emphasize self-awareness while others emphasize understanding emotions in other people. Some believe that emotion regulation is a key part of EI, whereas others include it under the same umbrella as empathy.
Emotional competence includes knowing how to identify one's own feelings and being able to relate them to something moral and/or logical. Most importantly, it means using your emotions to motivate yourself towards achieving your goals and helping others do the same.
While some research suggests that having higher levels of EI helps you achieve success in life, studies also show that someone with low EI may still succeed if they are good at putting aside their personal needs in order to help others.
There is no question that everyone experiences various types of emotions and uses these different tools depending on the situation, but just because you were never taught how to manage your emotions does not mean you don't have them.
You probably just didn't know who you were teaching them to. - Dr.
Ways to improve your emotional intelligence
Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest in what is referred to as ‘emotional intelligence’. Many believe that it can have profound effects on our lives, helping us achieve more effective relationships, work, and life overall.
Some even say that it is an essential part of leading a successful life. But what exactly is emotional intelligence? And how can you develop it?
Emotional intelligence refers to one's ability to recognize, understand, evaluate, and manage their own emotions as well as those of others. It also includes the use of emotion for motivation, self-awareness, and regulation.
Many experts agree that we all have some degree of emotional intelligence, but some people seem to have higher levels than others. This could be due to genetics or early experiences, but most think that talent is influenced by both.
A number of instruments are used to assess emotional intelligence. One of the most popular ones is The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQI). There are two versions of this tool: the short form EQ-i and the longer version EQ-IA.
While they do not take as long to complete, the shorter one does not include the same questions as the longer one. However, they are just as valid if not more so.
There are 6 levels of emotional intelligence
Level 1 is feeling emotions that occur naturally, without much effort. These are typically called basic or surface level emotions. You may have heard them referred to as “intra-personal” emotions because they happen within you – internal feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, joy, and so on.
Level 2 is experiencing one emotion for very long periods of time. For example, when someone makes a surprising statement, you might feel surprised for a few seconds, but then you would also quickly feel angry. Or maybe you’d be happy for a minute after hearing something funny.
At level 3, you’re able to identify your own emotions and what is causing them. If you can’t figure out why you’re feeling a certain way, you’ll probably look closer at yourself or things around you to determine the cause. This is called recognition.
The next step up is understanding your emotions. As mentioned before, knowing how you feel is a good start, but understanding the difference between normal reactions and more intense ones is where it gets interesting.
This is called differentiation. Once again, you’ve got to know what is normal for you and what isn’t, which helps with discrimination.
Once you reach this stage, you’re able to work out why you’re feeling a particular way and whether that response is appropriate.
Teach people to be honest with themselves
People are not very good at being honest with themselves. When things go wrong, they often try to distract themselves or make up reasons for why it happened.
They may even start blaming someone else for what they did. This is usually because we all have a bit of emotional intelligence (or EI). We’re familiar with our own emotions so we know how to put some distance between them and us.
But if you look around, you will see that most people aren’t too friendly towards others much of the time. And when they are, it’s mostly due to a lack of empathy.
So how can you develop your EQ? There are several strategies. For example, you could ask yourself how you would feel in certain situations. Then do the opposite — how would other people feel if…?
You could also practice acceptance and forgiveness. You get these by recognizing that things happen for reason that have nothing to do with you. A lot of times, people won’t agree with this but it helps break down barriers.
Look at your emotions and your reactions
Many people think that being smart means having an easy time controlling your emotions, but this is not true! In fact, it is exactly the opposite-being intelligent means learning how to control your emotions!
This is called emotional intelligence (or EI for short). People with high levels of EQ are able to recognize their own feelings and those of others, understand what influences moods, and regulate their emotions effectively.
It’s worth noting here that although most researchers agree that developing your EQ is important, there is no “effective” level or “threshold” for this quality. You either have it or you don’t.
Be honest with others
Being able to read other people’s emotions is one of the most important skills you can develop because it helps you understand what makes them feel good or bad about certain things.
This understanding comes not only from reading their expressions, but also by listening to what they say and how they say it.
By being aware of what makes someone else unhappy, you will try your best to avoid making them feel that way.
It may be because you said something that made them uncomfortable, asked them something that upset them, or done nothing at all but left them feeling bad.
Everyone feels emotional pain in different ways, so knowing how to identify these feelings and why people are suffering can help you make them less painful for them.
Understand your emotions
A large part of being successful in life is knowing what makes you feel good and how to use that information to motivate yourself.
This is called emotional intelligence or EQ for short.
Most people have an easier time achieving their goals when they are aware of their feelings. You may know this already- like when someone close to you has done something special, which made you happy and also worried because it could be a warning sign about future things.
You learn more about someone by how they handle these types of experiences than by what they say directly.
So, how do you develop your emotional intelligence?
It depends on whether you have strong social skills or not. Some people are naturally better at reading other people’s body language and tone of voice than others.
Developing your emotional intelligence is not something that happens overnight, but it can be steadily improved through practice. Consistently practicing meditation will help you to develop your ability to recognize and manage your emotions.
Meditation comes in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: silence. The way to improve your emotional intelligence is to expose yourself to situations that are rich with emotion.
You can do this by talking about important things in your life, reading books about relationships or empathy, watching movies or documentaries about social issues, listening to music that touches our hearts, etc.
By being aware of your surroundings and internal experiences, you’ll be more likely to understand what other people around you are going through. You’ll also know how you feel about different things which will help you regulate your own moods.
It's worth noting that although this article focused on developing your emotional quotient (EQ), there is another type of emotional intelligence that has been getting a lot of attention at present: moral EQ.
Moral EQ refers to someone’s understanding and control over their feelings towards other people and concepts like truth and honesty. This is arguably much easier to achieve than basic emotional IQ as it doesn't require you to identify with or understand your own thoughts and feelings.