Emotional Intelligence- The Closer Look

It’s not uncommon for many of us not to be able to connect in the modern world, whether it’s about ourselves or with people around us.

A very important factor in our ability to establish efficient connections is the emotional intelligence. If you don’t know by now, keep in mind that happiness and success in both career, relationships and personal goals depend a lot on the emotional intelligence (EQ) and it’s not only the intellectual ability that matters (IQ). In order to be prepared to make the right decision and to turn our intention into action, we need emotional intelligence. Connecting with others, developing efficient and nurturing relationships is always related to emotional intelligence.

What does emotional intelligence mean?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) relates to the ability to recognize, use, understand and handle your very own emotions in positive ways in order to lower stress, increase communication, overcome challenges, empathize with others and  deactivate conflict. Emotional intelligence is what we also use when we’re identifying and understanding what others go through, on emotional level. This understanding and recognition is mostly nonverbal, informing thinking and affecting your connection with people around you.

Emotional intelligence doesn’t have much in common with intellectual ability as the first one is learned, and not achieved. The learning happens in any time of one’s life and, therefore, the social and emotional skill set (also known as emotional intelligence) is something that anyone can achieve in life.

However, learning about the emotional intelligence and applying that knowledge into day to day life isn’t quite the same thing. Knowing what you should do in a specific situation is one thing and actually acting accordingly is a different thing. Stress may be too high, making it impossible to you to proceed as you know you should. We all need to always change our behavior so that we can handle stress when in need so that we do remain emotionally aware.

Why is emotional intelligence important?

Reality shows that it’s not the smartest people in town that become the most successful or fulfilled in life. We’ve all seen the academically outstandingly smart people that are quite social inept and also unable to achieve success in personal relationship or even at work. Intellectual intelligence (IQ) doesn’t do it on its own to ensure success in life. It may get you into college, but it’s the emotional intelligence (EQ) that helps you handle efficiently stress and emotions during your final exams. IQ and EQ always go hand in hand and they give the best results if are both high and sustain one another.

Here’s where emotional intelligence counts the most:

  • Your mental health

High level of stress and uncontrolled emotions have a big influence on your mental health, raising your risks for developing anxiety and depression. When you have difficulties into understanding, handling and being comfortable with your emotions, you’re more likely to develop powerful relationships, causing you to feel isolated and all alone.

  • Your performance at school or work

Going through the challenging situations within workplace, social environment, leading and motivating the people around you and excelling in your career is impossible to accomplish without emotional intelligence. As a matter of fact, when companies are looking for people in important positions, they consider the emotional intelligence as important as other technical skills, using EQ testing as part of the selection process.

  • Your relationships

When you’re understanding your own emotions and get how you should control them, you’re getting better to expressing your feelings, but also of picking up other people’s feelings. This helps you better communicate and develop more powerful relationships, at work and on personal level as well.

  • Your physical health

If you’re not able to handle your emotions, chances are that you don’t manage your stress efficiently either. This may cause important health problems. Uncontrolled stress may increase your blood pressure, raise your risk of heart attack and stroke, undermine your immune system, but also to cause infertility, speeding up the aging process as well. How to relieve stress is one of the most important things you need to do when you’re determined to improve your emotional intelligence.

What attributes define emotional intelligence?

Here are the four attributes that define emotional intelligence, in most cases:

  1. Self-awareness

You’re able to identify your very own personal emotions and how they influence your behaviors and thoughts. You’re aware of both your strengths and weaknesses, having a healthy self-esteem.

  1. Self-management

This means you’re able to manage your impulsive feelings and behaviors, handling your emotions in efficient ways, keeping your promises and commitments, taking initiative and adjusting to the changing circumstances.

  1. Social awareness

You manage to understand the needs, emotions and worries of people around you, recognizing the emotional cues that they give, while feeling comfortable on social level. You’re also able to identify the power dynamics within an organization or in a group.

  1. Relationship management

This means you know how to create and keep efficient relationship, inspire and influence others, communicate clearly, working nice in a team and handling efficiently conflict.

How to build the 4 key skills in EQ?

Let’s go over the 4 key skills of EQ and see how you may develop each one of them.

  1. Self-awareness

When you’re able to experience true feelings like sadness, fear, anger, joy, it means that you did have constant and rich emotional experiences during your early life. As your emotions were understood and validated, your emotions did became important assets later in life.

On the other hand, if your emotional experiences were confusing, painful and even threatening, chances are you tried in time to get as far away as you can from them.

Getting in touch with your emotions, on regular basics, is the secret into getting how the emotions affect your actions and thoughts.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself in order to understand which kind of relationship you have with your emotions:

  • Do you have individual feelings and emotions, like fear, joy, anger? Are they obvious in subtle facial expressions?
  • Are your emotions coming with physical sensations in your stomach, chest or throat?
  • Did you ever experience feelings that flow, coming across one emotion after another when the situation you’re in changes?
  • Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they count when you’re making a decision?
  • Do you ever have strong feelings that are able to get your attention and other’s attention too?

If your answers are mainly negative, chances are that your emotions are turned off or somehow turned down. You need to reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, get comfortable when experiencing them in order to become emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent.

It’s very important for you to handle stress as once you know how to do it, you are more comfortable reconnecting to powerful/unpleasant emotions. You’re going to change the way you’re experiencing your feelings, reacting more efficiently to your feelings too. You may improve your emotional awareness by trying some meditation, getting in touch with difficult emotions and handling uncomfortable feelings.

Another practice you may try for building self-awareness is mindfulness. This practice means you’re focusing your attention on the present moment, with no judgement whatsoever. The cultivation of mindfulness comes from Buddhism, but most religions include some sort of similar prayer or meditation technique. Mindfulness allows you to shift your interest toward appreciation of the moment, bringing physical and emotional sensations and offering you a wider perspective on life. Mindfulness helps you focus and calms you down, turning you into a more self-aware person.

  1. Self-management

Being emotionally self-aware isn’t enough. You’re going to be able to engage your emotional intelligence when you’re also able to use your emotions for constructive decisions related to your behavior. When you’re too stressed, you’re going to lose control of your emotions and the ability to act efficiently and right.

Emotions do count as information, telling us about ourselves and others, but in a stressful situation that gets us out of the comfort zone, we may be led by them, losing control of ourselves. Enriched with the ability to handle stress, we remain emotionally presents and able to get disturbing pieces of information without allowing it to win over our thoughts or self-control.

The moment you control your impulsive feelings and behaviors, you’re able to make the right choices. Managing your emotions in healthy ways, keeping your promises, adjusting to the changing situations and taking initiative show you manage effectively your emotions.

  1. Social awareness

This is the skill we need for picking up the nonverbal cues that people around are always sending. These cues tell you about other’s emotions, offering you a cleared idea about their experience and what importance that experience has for them. Sometimes, groups of people send similar nonverbal cues so you may read and understand their joint experienced. You do need to turn off your thoughts for that so that you experience the nonverbal cues that may change quire rapidly. Funny or not, you need not to think about your goals and objectives when you’re trying to progress with your common objectives.

Social awareness doesn’t happen if we’re thinking about something else. You can’t be present in the moment if you’re in your own head, planning the future or going over your past. It’s impossible for you to pick up the subtle nonverbal cues if you’re not in the moment. Multitasking is a myth, indeed. We may be able to switch from one subject to another, but we’re going to lose the subtle emotional shift and this puts us in the situation of not being able to understand people around us.

  • As you’re following the flow of one’s personal emotional answer, you need to pay attention to the flow of your own emotional experience
  • We may actually easier achieve social goals and objectives when setting our intentions, thoughts and goals aside in a social situation. We need to focus on the interaction itself. Moment-to-moment social awareness is a resourceful personal process.
  • Many fear that paying attention to others is going to minimize our self-awareness, but it’s quite the opposite. We achieve self-awareness by spending time and effort to pay attention to people around us.

When you pay attention to what you’re going through on an emotional level as you listen to people around, may help you improve your beliefs and values as well. It’s easy to receive values and ideas that don’t really match your identity. When you do, however, feel discomfort listening to other expressing their views, you have learned something essential about yourself.

  1. Relationship management

The process of working well with others starts with emotional awareness and the ability to identify and understand what others may experience. When emotional awareness is active, you may actually develop more social/emotional skills that increase the efficiency of your relationship, making them fulfilling and meaningful.

Here are some efficient ways to better manage your relationships:

  • Use humor and play to minimize stress

Laughter, play and humor are natural remedies for stress. They make things easier and give you a nice perspective on things.  Laughter gives your brain balance, lowering stress, calming you down, helping you become more empathic and sharpening your mind.

  • Take note on how to use nonverbal communication

Ignoring nonverbal messages to others about how we feel and think is almost impossible. There are many muscles in our face that surround our face, nose, forehead and mouth and none of them are weight-bearing. They do, however, help use turn our emotions into meaningful clues.

The emotional part of our brain is always active and even we don’t realize it, we do pay attention. Identifying the types of nonverbal messages that we send to others is a big part of increasing the efficiency of our relationships.

  • Use conflict to get closer to others

No matter how much you’d struggle, you simply can’t avoid conflict and disagreement. It’s impossible to find two people that have the identical needs, expectations and opinions at all times. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Getting to a solution in a healthy, constructive way may increase trust between people. As long as conflict isn’t perceived as punishing or threatening, it may actually foster creativity, safety and freedom in relationships.

What does an emotionally intelligent person look like?

We don’t always have the Personality tests with us to see if one is emotionally intelligent. We do, however, know what skills, abilities or traits should one have in order to have a good level of emotional intelligence. Here are seven of them:

  1. You are curious about people

Emotionally intelligent people are curious about anyone around them, no matter if they’re introverted or extroverted. This curiosity comes from empathy, which is one of the most important assets for someone with high EQ. the more you care about others and what they’re experiencing, the more curious you’re going to be about them.

  1. You have a solid emotional vocabulary

We all “feel the feels”, but only some of us may actually identify them as they happen. It seems that only 36% of people may do it, which is a sad news since unlabeled emotions are going to be misunderstood, causing irrational choices and bad decisions.

It seems that people with high EQs are in charge with their emotions as they understand them and have the words for describing them too. Some may simply say they’re feeling “bad”, whereas emotionally intelligent may use specific words as “frustrated”, “anxious”, “irritable” or “downtrodden”. The more specific your word is, the better the chances for you to know exactly how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it and what can you do about it.

  1. You know your weaknesses and strengths

An emotional intelligent person doesn’t just understand emotions, but he/she also knows what they’re good/bad at. They know exactly what irritates them and which environments help them succeed. A high EQ means not only you know your strengths, but you also know when to rely on them and get the best out of them, while keeping the weaknesses under control.

  1. You welcome change

Emotionally intelligent people are always adjusting and are very flexible. They are aware that fear of change is toxic and minimizes their chance for success and happiness. They’re always looking for change and also plan their actions so that they also get success.

  1. They’re not easy to offend

When you know exactly who you are, you getting offended but what someone said isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Emotionally intelligent people are open-minded and self-confident, which gives them a rather thick skin. Other people’s jokes don’t take you down as you’re smart enough to value what you’re worth.

  1. You overcome mistakes

Emotionally intelligent people take distance from their mistakes, but don’t d forget about them. They keep a good distance from the mistakes as they want to adjust for later on success. They turn failure in chances for improvement and get right back on their feet after they fall down.

  1. You know how to say no

Emotional intelligence also means you master self-control. Studies show that the more difficult it is to you to say “No”, the higher the risk for you to develop stress, burnout and depression. Saying no is an important self-control challenge for many of us. However, when it’s time to say no, an emotionally intelligent person isn’t going to say “I’m not sure” or “I don’t believe I can” either. They refuse a new commitment only to honor the current ones.