When Does Emotional Intelligence Begin To Develop
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most popular leadership theories in business. It looks at how well you manage your own emotions and those of others to achieve success.
Many believe that having strong emotional skills will help you succeed in all areas of life, not just at work. You can be successful without much money, but still have healthy relationships and do good things with your time.
But what makes someone have high levels of EQ? Is it something people are born with or does it take longer to develop them?
This article will look at some potential ways to increase your level of emotional intelligence. However, before we get into specific strategies, let’s talk about two important concepts when it comes to understanding emotion. These are cognitive bias and psychological flexibility.
So, stay tuned and read on! If you would like, you can also check out my related articles below this one. Happy reading!
A cognitive bias is an unconscious tendency we have as humans. Depending on the situation, our brains may create biases towards interpreting information either positively or negatively.
These interpretations often influence how we feel about certain situations and/or individuals. Some examples of cognitive biases include:
All-or-nothing thinking – This happens when you make very broad assumptions about someone or something.
Then, it's about how to be emotional
The next component of EQ is what we refer to as being emotion-aware or aware of your emotions. This seems simple enough but I've seen many people struggle with this one.
Many people believe that once you realize you're feeling something, you should just go ahead and feel it.
That isn't necessarily wrong but there are some things that can make you think twice before letting yourself feel all those feelings.
For example, if someone you know makes a comment that hurt you deeply, maybe instead of giving them their deserved revenge, you could hold off for a few days and try to work through your reactions in silence.
You may also want to consider taking a break from talking about an issue so that you don’t keep rehashing everything inside of you.
This way, you give yourself time to process what happened while also preventing any kind of snowball effect. It also helps prevent overreaction, which only adds to more stress.
It's also about how to be empathetic
A lot of people think that emotional intelligence is only understanding your emotions, but being able to recognize what emotion someone else is feeling and why they are feeling it is called empathizing.
This is important because we live in a culture where other people's emotions often get distorted due to media or personal experiences. For example, if you read about a murder in the paper every day for weeks, when somebody actually does die – even if it is years later – you will probably have mental pictures in your head of the murderer killing the person.
Because of this, their emotional state may not match up with reality which can make them feel bad or even guilty. This might influence how well they trust others and what they believe people mean to say.
Emotions connect us as humans so having strong ones helps us form relationships and understand things from other people's points of view.
Learn to be authentic
Another important aspect of emotional literacy is being “authentic” or knowing who you are as someone else sees you. This can mean anything from changing your hairstyle, to switching jobs, to finding new things you like and letting yourself do them.
By being aware of what makes you feel happy and relaxed, you can then apply that to different situations. For example, if you know that watching football games makes you smile, go watch one!
You will also have to learn when it's time to hide your feelings. If you spend half the movie with your hand over your mouth because you're crying, that's not very effective learning.
In fact, studies show that people who fake their emotions in stressful times don't recover as well as those who aren't.
Understand your emotions
A key part of emotional intelligence is understanding your own emotions. You will find that most people are not very good at this. This can be tricky, however!
Many professionals talk about what they call ‘emotion literacy’ – being able to recognize, describe and regulate your own emotions. But actually having these skills comes down to how you use the word'regulate'.
I won't say that everyone has low levels of emotional intelligence, but we all have something different when it come to regulating our feelings. Some take longer than others to feel like they've "won" their fight with sadness or anger, for example.
It's important to realize that there is no right way to feel, and that anyone who says there is doesn't understand human psychology.
You also need to learn which emotions are productive (for example, happy feeling feelings of gratitude) and which ones aren't (like letting yourself get upset because someone else made a mistake).
Look at your reactions
Recent studies suggest that emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is often referred to) comes down to something much more fundamental than just knowing what emotions are and being able to identify them.
In fact, some experts believe that EQ can be described as someone’s ability to regulate their own emotions in order to function effectively in everyday life.
This seems pretty straightforward, but there are several reasons why this idea has become popular.
Firstly, many of us go through our lives without ever really understanding how we feel. We may know that people make us feel happy or sad, but aside from that we tend to keep ourselves separate from other people.
We may understand why we’re angry with a friend, but beyond that we stay tightly wrapped up in our feelings.
Secondly, when we are trying hard to avoid an emotion, such as sadness, we may forget about the rest of our body.
For example, if you’ve been having a tough time, you might stop eating so quickly because you don’t want to waste any calories. But if you're hungry, you could end up suffering physically due to lack of nutrition.
Thirdly, researchers have noticed that people who seem to have low levels of EQ actually behave in ways that show they don't care very much about anything – whether it's others or even themselves.
They may spend money frivolously, for instance, living well outside of their means.
Learn to be assertive
First, you need to learn how to speak your truth with confidence and without using hurtful language or behaviors.
Many people are not comfortable being direct because they worry about what other people might think of them or their actions. They also may feel guilty for doing things that they know are wrong even if it is only slightly wrong.
Instead of saying something, they choose to do something instead. Or they say nothing at all, which often creates more problems in the long run.
If someone does something that makes you angry, spend some time thinking about why it made you mad before responding. Was it due to fear or jealousy? Were they just trying to be funny/tickle you?
Hopefully you will recognize the behavior for what it was but if you can’t then move onto step two.
Learn to be honest with your peers
As we know, empathy is one of the most important emotional skills. But there’s a big difference between having empathy for someone and acting upon it.
It takes a lot more than just feeling something to do something meaningful about it. That’s why being able to identify when another person is experiencing an emotion can help you activate your empathetic skill.
You see, when people are under stress they sometimes say or do things that seem less like they’re trying hard to feel distressed and more like they’re trying hard to appear normal.
This may be because they don’t want to make anyone else feel bad by showing how much their job made them nervous or because they don’t want to acknowledge how stressed out they are themselves.
But unless these things are worked through, this internal turmoil will keep piling up and taking its toll on you both physically and emotionally.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to work on empathizing with others, start by looking at the things that other people in the same position have done before.
Then, ask yourself what might give you some clues as to whether these actions were motivated by emotions or not.
Learn to be honest with your family
As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence (EI) is like plain old IQ – it’s inborn, but you can learn how to manage your emotions and understand what motivates others.
So when does EI begin to develop? The age depends on who you ask!
Some experts say that kids under six years of age don’t have much empathy so they can’t really tell if someone else is happy or sad. Therefore, their ability to recognize other people’s emotions doesn’t get graded out until later.
Other experts believe that true understanding of emotion emerges around ages seven to ten, depending on the child. This includes being able to identify your own feelings as well as those of other people.
But no matter which theory you choose to believe, one thing is clear: whether you have low EQ or high EQ, everyone has something inside them. It just differs from person to person in how much there is and what kind of emotions they possess.