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Last Updated on September 4, 2019

What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

Many experts now believe that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) may be more important than their IQ and is certainly a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and overall happiness.[1]

    It’s interesting to note how the concept of emotional intelligence has evolved over the years, from its inception as something called “social intelligence” all the way back in the 1930’s, to “emotional strength” in the mid-20th century, to its current terminology, “emotional intelligence.”

    But what exactly is emotional intelligence and why is it important?

    What Is Emotional Intelligence?

    Emotional intelligence (EI) is, in layman’s terms, our level of ability to:

    • Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions (self-awareness)
    • Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses (self-management)
    • Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take appropriate action, commit, follow-through, and work toward the achievement of our goals (motivation)
    • Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions, and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively (empathy)
    • Build relationships, relate to others in social situations, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team (social skills)

    The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

    If you think emotional intelligence is only important for those who always have to interact or communicate with people, think it again. Emotional intelligence is a gateway to a balanced-life. It’s essential to basically every aspect of life:

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    Physical Health

    The ability to take care of our bodies and especially to manage our stress, which has an incredible impact on our overall wellness, is heavily tied to our emotional intelligence. Only by being aware of our emotional state and our reactions to stress in our lives can we hope to manage stress and maintain good health.

    Mental Well-Being

    Emotional intelligence affects our attitude and outlook on life. It can also help to alleviate anxiety and avoid depression and mood swings. A high level of emotional intelligence directly correlates to a positive attitude and happier outlook on life.

    Relationships

    By better understanding and managing our emotions, we are better able to communicate our feelings in a more constructive way. We are also better able to understand and relate to those with whom we are in relationships.

    Understanding the needs, feelings, and responses of those we care about leads to stronger and more fulfilling relationships.

    Conflict Resolution

    When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with their perspective, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts or possibly avoid them before they start. We are also better at negotiation due to the very nature of our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.

    Success

    Higher emotional intelligence helps us to be stronger internal motivators, which can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal.

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    It also allows us to create better networks of support, overcome setbacks, and persevere with a more resilient outlook. Our ability to delay gratification and see the long-term directly affects our ability to succeed.

    Leadership

    The ability to understand what motivates others, relate in a positive manner, and to build stronger bonds with others in the workplace inevitably makes those with higher emotional intelligence better leaders. An effective leader can recognize what the needs of his people are, so that those needs can be met in a way that encourages higher performance and workplace satisfaction.

    An emotionally savvy and intelligent leader is also able to build stronger teams by strategically utilizing the emotional diversity of their team members to benefit the team as a whole.

    Emotional intelligence is still not completely understood, but what we do know is that emotions play a very critical role in the overall quality of our personal and professional lives, more critical even than our actual measure of brain intelligence.

    While tools and technology can help us to learn and master information, nothing can replace our ability to learn, manage, and master our emotions and the emotions of those around us.

    How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional intelligence is not something inborn, there are ways to take control of your emotions. Here’s how:

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    1. Observe Your Feelings

    We easily lose touch with our emotions when we’re too busy worrying about what to do next and what can be done better. Instead of really taking good care of our emotions, we choose to ignore them most of the time. What we don’t realize is that suppressing our emotions only makes things worse. The more we try to put our emotions behind, the more uncontrollable our emotions become.

    When we have an emotional reaction to something, it can be due to the fact that we’re having some unsolved issues. So next time when you feel like having some negative emotions, calm down and think about why you’re experiencing this. Take a deep breath and write down the emotions you’re experiencing and the possible reasons.

    When you have things written down, you can identify your emotions triggers and think of ways to deal with each of them.

    2. Practice Responding, Not Reacting

    Reacting is an unconscious process where we behave in an unconscious way that expresses or relieves an emotion. Responding is a conscious process that involves paying attention to your feelings and deciding how to behave.

    When you’re more aware of your emotional triggers, you can always think about the way to behave in advance.

    For example, if you know that you get angry easily and throw temper to colleagues when you’re feeling very stressful at work, take note of that and think about what you can do next time when you’re experiencing the same trigger. Maybe you can try to tell your colleagues that you need some silent moments because you’re feeling stressful at the moment, or maybe you can get a few minutes of alone time just to calm down yourself first.

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    3. Stay Humble All the Times

    When you always believe that you’re better than others, you’ll not see your own faults, and you’ll likely to get emotional about things that don’t meet your expectation.

    Try to look at the same thing from a different perspective. Instead of judging someone or something, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to think or feel like them: would you do or feel the same too and why?

    In this way, you’re likely to understand other people’s thoughts and emotions more; and you’ll probably learn something new about how to deal with stuff in similar situations too.

    Be humble enough to know you’re not better than anyone, and wise enough to know that you’re different from the rest!

    Final Thoughts

    Emotional intelligence can be learned, it’s a lifetime process. It’s never too late to learn anything, it just takes continuous observation and practice. So no matter how old you are, you can still take up EI and make the rest of your life better and happier.

    More About Mental Strength

    Reference

    [1] Dr. Travis Bradberry: Emotional Intelligence Statistic

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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