“Emotion is more powerful than reason. Emotion is the driving force behind thinking and reasoning. Emotional intelligence increases the mind’s ability to make positive, brilliant decisions.” – Dr. T.P.Chia
Most of us are familiar with academic, creative, or analytical intelligence, but more recently, emotional intelligence is gaining more attention. Emotional intelligence is a form of understanding that consists of four skills. The first is having emotional awareness. In other words, having the ability to identify and label one’s own and others’ emotions. This includes detecting emotions in the face and voice. The second skill is the ability to harness one’s emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking or problem-solving. Those with greater emotional intelligence are able to use their emotions to guide them toward their current tasks. The third is understanding emotions and having the power to be empathic and sensitive to the variations between emotions. Finally, the fourth is managing emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions and helping others regulate theirs. With this skill, emotionally intelligent individuals can not only harness positive and negative emotions, they can also manage them in order to accomplish their goals.
Much like strengthening a muscle with physical exercise, emotional intelligence can also be developed through practice and application. Ways to enhance EI skills include:
1. Work on increasing self-awareness by allowing negative feelings to arise without an effort to avoid them or judge them. The more you can be candid with yourself, the faster you can identify what you are experiencing from within. In other words, you are aware of your own “emotional bullshit”!
2. Manage your emotions by objectively reflecting to see if your emotions are suitable for the situation and then acting accordingly.
3. Practice empathy and recognize others’ emotional needs. You can do this by becoming conscious of verbal and non-verbal cues to try to understand others’ perspectives, and by putting yourself in their shoes.
4. Become aware of your stressors by keeping track of things that increase your stress level, and be proactive in taking steps to minimize them.
5. Find ways to handle adversity by practicing optimism, asking constructive questions, and taking initiative toward solutions.
Greater emotional intelligence is positively correlated with greater social ability and interactions. This leads to more positive interpersonal relationships. Individuals with higher emotional intelligence have greater academic achievements, work performance, and negotiating abilities. They are often more effective coaches and leaders as well as more successful in business. Overall, individuals with greater emotional intelligence display better psychological well-being from having more self-awareness, a greater ability to control strong emotions, and deeper, more intimate relationships from empathizing with others.