Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - HelpGuide.org (2023)

emotional intelligence

When it comes to happiness and success in life, EQ is just as important as IQ. Learn how you can increase your emotional intelligence, build stronger relationships, and achieve your goals.

Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - HelpGuide.org (1)

What is Emotional Intelligence or EQ?

Emotional intelligence (also known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your professional and personal goals. It can also help you connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  1. self management– You are able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in a healthy way, take initiative, keep commitments and adapt to changing circumstances.
  2. self awareness– You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses and you are confident in yourself.
  3. Social conscience– You have empathy. You can understand other people's emotions, needs, and concerns, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize power dynamics in a group or organization.
  4. relationship management– You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

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(Video) How to Improve Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

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Why is emotional intelligence so important?

As we know, the smartest people are not the most successful or the most accomplished in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant, yet socially inept and failures at work or in personal relationships. Intellectual ability or your intelligence quotient (IQ) is not enough on its own to achieve success in life. Yes, your IQ can help you get into college, but it's your EQ that will help you manage stress and emotions as you tackle final exams. IQ and EQ exist together and are most effective when they complement each other.

Emotional intelligence affects:

Your performance at school or work.High emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to evaluating candidates for top jobs, many companies now rank emotional intelligence as important as technical ability and employ EQ tests before hiring.

Your physical health.If you can't control your emotions, you probably aren't controlling your stress either. This can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, contributes to infertility, and accelerates the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is learning to manage stress.

Your mental health.Uncontrolled emotions and stress can also affect your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you can't understand, feel comfortable with, or control your emotions, you'll also have a hard time forming strong relationships. This, in turn, can make you feel lonely and isolated and further exacerbate mental health problems.

[Read: Building better mental health]

Your relationships.By understanding your emotions and how to manage them, you will be better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and build stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

Your social intelligence.Being in tune with your emotions serves a social purpose, connecting you with other people and the world around you. Social intelligence allows you to tell friend from foe, gauge another person's interest in you, reduce stress, balance your nervous system through social communication, and feel loved and happy.

Building Emotional Intelligence: Four Key Skills to Improve Your EQ

The skills that make up emotional intelligence can be learned at any time. However, it's important to remember that there's a difference between simply learning about EQ and applying that knowledge to your life. Just because you know you should do something doesn't mean you'll do it, especially when you're overwhelmed with stress, which can override your best intentions. To permanently change behavior in ways that resist pressure, you must learn to overcome stress in the moment and in your relationships to remain emotionally aware.

(Video) Strategies to become more emotional intelligent | Daniel Goleman | WOBI

The key skills to build your EQ and improve your ability to manage emotions and connect with others are:

  1. self management
  2. self awareness
  3. Social conscience
  4. relationship management

Development of Key Skill 1 of Emotional Intelligence: Self-management

To engage your EQ, you must be able to use your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behavior. When you're overly stressed, you can lose control of your emotions and the ability to act thoughtfully and appropriately.

Think about a time when stress got the best of you. Was it easy to think clearly or make a rational decision? Probably not. When you're overly stressed, your ability to think clearly and accurately assess emotions—your own and other people's—is compromised.

[Read: Stress Management]

Emotions are important information that tell you about yourself and others, but in the face of stress that takes us out of our comfort zone, we can become overwhelmed and lose control of ourselves. with the ability tomanage stressand staying emotionally present, you can learn to take in disturbing information without allowing it to override your thoughts and self-control. You will be able to make decisions that will allow you to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in a healthy way, take initiative, keep commitments and adapt to changing circumstances.

Key Skill 2: Self-Awareness

Managing stress is only the first step in developing emotional intelligence. the science ofaccessoryindicates that your current emotional experience is likely a reflection of your past life experience. Your ability to manage core feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy often depends on the quality and consistency of your emotional experiences early in life. If his primary caregiver as a child understood and valued his emotions, his emotions are likely to become valuable assets in adult life. But if his emotional experiences as a child were confusing, threatening, or painful, he may have tried to distance himself from his emotions.

But being able to connect with your emotions, having a moment-to-moment connection to your changing emotional experience, is key to understanding how emotions influence your thoughts and actions.

You experience feelings that flow,encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment?

Your emotions are accompanied by the physical sensations you experience.in places like the stomach, throat or chest?

You experience individual feelings and emotions,such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions?

You may experience intense feelingsthat are strong enough to capture your attention and that of others?

(Video) How To Activate Your Emotional Intelligence | Sadhguru

Do you pay attention to your emotions?Do they influence your decision making?

If any of these experiences are unfamiliar to you, you may have "turned off" or "turned off" your emotions. In order to build EQ, and become emotionally healthy, you need to reconnect with, accept, and become comfortable with your core emotions. You can achieve this through the practice of mindfulness.

[Listen: Mindful Breathing Meditation]

full attentionIt is the practice of focusing your attention on purpose in the present moment, and without judgment. Cultivating mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some form of similar prayer or meditation technique.full attentionit helps shift your preoccupation with thought to an appreciation of the moment, your physical and emotional sensations, and provides a broader perspective on life. Mindfulness calms and focuses you, making you more self-aware in the process.

Develop emotional awareness

It is important that you first learn to manage stress so that you can become more comfortable reconnecting with strong or unpleasant emotions and changing the way you experience and respond to your feelings. You can develop your emotional awareness using the free Help GuideEmotional Intelligence Toolkit.

Key Skill 3: Social Awareness

Social awareness allows you to recognize and interpret key nonverbal cues that others constantly use to communicate with you. These signals let you know how others are really feeling, how their emotional state changes from one moment to the next, and what is really important to them.

[Read: Effective Communication]

When groups of people send similar nonverbal signals, you can read and understand the power dynamics and shared emotional experiences of the group. In short, you are empathic and socially comfortable.

Mindfulness is an ally of emotional and social awareness

To develop social awareness, it is necessary to recognize the importance of mindfulness in the social process. After all, you can't pick up subtle nonverbal cues when you're in your own head, thinking about other things, or just distracted by your phone. Social awareness requires your presence in the moment. While many of us pride ourselves on the ability to multitask, this means you'll miss out on the subtle emotional changes that occur in other people and help you fully understand them.

  • In fact, you're more likely to further your social goals if you put other thoughts aside and focus on the interaction itself.
  • Going with the flow of another person's emotional responses is a give-and-take process that requires you to also pay attention to changes in your own emotional experience.
  • Paying attention to others does not diminish your own awareness. By investing the time and effort to pay attention to others, you'll really gain insight into your own emotional state, as well as your values ​​and beliefs. For example, if you feel uncomfortable listening to others express certain opinions, you will have learned something important about yourself.

Key Skill 4: Relationship Management

Working well with others is a process that begins with emotional awareness and your ability to recognize and understand what other people are experiencing. Once emotional awareness is in play, you can effectively develop additional social/emotional skills that will make your relationships more effective, fruitful, and satisfying.

Become aware of how effectively you use nonverbal communication.It is impossible to avoid sendingnon-verbal messagesothers about what you think and feel. The many muscles of the face, especially those around the eyes, nose, mouth, and forehead, help you convey your own emotions without words, as well as read other people's emotional intent. The emotional part of your brain is always on, and even if you ignore its messages, others won't. Acknowledging the non-verbal messages you send to others can play an important role in improving your relationships.

(Video) 4 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

Use humor and play to relieve stress.Humor, laughter and play are natural antidotes to stress. They lighten your loads and help you keep things in perspective.Laughterbrings balance to your nervous system, reduces stress, calms you down, sharpens your mind and makes you more empathic.

Learn to see conflict as an opportunity to bond with others.Conflicts and disagreements are inevitable in human relationships. Two people cannot have the same needs, opinions, and expectations all the time. However, this does not have to be a bad thing.resolving conflictsin a healthy and constructive way can build trust between people. When conflict is not perceived as threatening or punitive, it fosters freedom, creativity, and security in relationships.

Autores: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson y Jennifer Shubin

Last updated: December 5, 2022

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