Emotional Intelligence has become an up-and-coming buzz-word therapists, life coaches, personal development experts, and teachers have begun to utilize as a part of their everyday language. The actual meaning and importance of the phrase can get muddled and ambiguous when used so frequently by so many different people. We’re here to set the record straight and help you understand what Emotional Intelligence is, why it is important, and steps to start tackling your own EQ.
By definition, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, understand, and use your emotions to navigate through life. Understanding your emotions allows you to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, defuse conflict, focus on positivity, relieve stress, manage anxiety, make smart decisions, and more.
Emotional Intelligence matters because it is a set of skills used in everyday life to manage, regulate, and understand your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Increased Emotional Intelligence allows you to better relate to those around you and help yourself feel calm and confident. Focusing on Emotional Intelligence work can help you feel more connected to people you interact with, leading to a capacity to give more of yourself to others.
Multiple academic studies show a correlation between heightened Emotional Intelligence and psychological well being; meaning those who develop their EQ are more likely to experience a positive mental state. To better understand how to develop your own Emotional Intelligence, let’s break down exactly what the term encompasses:
There are 5 pillars of Emotional Intelligence:
- Social Skills
These pillars are all connected to relational skillfulness, or how you interact with other people (and with yourself).
- Self-awareness is the ability to recognize what you are feeling and how your emotions may affect those around you.
- Self-control is the ability to regulate and manage the emotions you feel and understand how to appropriately express those emotions.
- Empathy is the ability to understand how those around you are feeling and relate to their experience.
- Motivation is related to feeling energized by the prospect of self-growth and self-improvement.
- Social skills are how you put all the other pillars of Emotional Intelligence together – it is when you are able to identify how you are feeling, and how others are feeling and communicate effectively around others.
We are all capable of being Emotionally Intelligent and growing our EQ. Through self-development, these skills can be honed and enhanced. Developing your EQ skills can help you feel more in control of your emotions and more equipped to handle stressful situations. Those who routinely practice Emotional Intelligence experience high levels of emotional regulation and resilience – meaning they often feel at peace and prepared for any challenges.
How Do I Learn Better Emotional Intelligence?
Learning increased Emotional Intelligence has a ton of benefits:
- Increased ability to manage stress
- Helps conquer fears, uncertainty, and doubts
- Helps with receiving criticism and feedback
- Improves social skills
- Helps deal with change
- Helps increase accountability
- Allows a lens for empathy
- Increases listening skills
These are just a few of the many gains you may notice when investing in your Emotional Intelligence. So, how do you do that?
It’s easier than you may think. Here are the steps to get started:
- Accepting that there is always room to grow AND it is a never-ending process
Emotional Intelligence is a journey of self-awareness, acceptance, and personal growth that will continue for your entire life. You will get better at it, but there is no ‘end-destination.’ It’s about incorporating behavioral and mental habits that help you respond and react to the world around you in a positive and healthy manner.
- Do a check-in
Start by asking yourself where you think you are currently regarding your Emotional Intelligence. Are you confident in your skills, but want to learn more? Are you aware that you need some help and guidance to improve? Are you constantly struggling with Emotional identification and regulation? No matter where you are, there is a starting point. Start paying more attention to your emotions. If you don’t know how to describe what you’re feeling with a word, try identifying where you feel it in your body. Practice identifying your emotions as they come.
- When you are ready, take responsibility for your actions
If you blow up at your Mom when you have a disagreement, apologize. If you shut out your best friend because they didn’t text you back, tell them you were hurt. Start finding ways not only to identify your emotions but to feel them to completion. Allow yourself time to feel that emotion, and then seek a path forward to let go of it.
- Enroll in the Positive Presence Digital Degree in Me Program
This program uses a mix of group and independent learning to help you grow your Emotional Intelligence and other valuable mental health skills. With guidance from an expert Positive Presence coach, you will navigate various activities, discussions, and examples to help you learn the tools and skills you need to grow your Emotional Intelligence