Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is more important than IQ for our health, happiness, and success in life, a growing body of research indicates.
Emotional intelligence is our ability to identify, understand, and manage our own emotions. It also represents the ability to ‘read’ other people’s feelings and respond to them appropriately.
In other words, individuals with highly developed EQ know what they are feeling, why are they feeling a certain way, and how their emotional state affects people around them. Thus, it is not a surprise that for most people, emotional intelligence is actually more important than their intelligence (IQ) in achieving personal, social, and professional success.
Studies show that being smart about emotions can accelerate your professional success, boost your self-esteem, and help your relationships thrive.
It is commonly believed that emotional intelligence comprises the following attributes:
- Empathy (social awareness)
- Relationship management
Enhancing these skills might be key for your personal, social, and professional success.
High self-awareness means that you have a good understanding of your emotions, your strengths, and weaknesses. Self-awareness also enables you to understand and process how a certain situation makes you feel. In addition, being emotionally aware also means you can successfully recognize, understand, and respond to other people’s feelings and motives.
Highly developed self-regulation includes the ability to control and connect your emotions and then apply them to different tasks such as creative thinking or problem-solving to reach your goals. In addition, self-management means that you can influence other people’s emotions. It also means your ability to effectively solve conflicts and create positive, healthy relationships.
Empathy involves cognitive and emotional reactions to the witnessed experiences of other people. It represents your ability to recognize and understand other people’s emotions and use that understanding to improve your communication skills. Empathy is vital for healthy relationships because it helps understand the needs, perspectives, and motives of others.
Relationship Management (Social Competence)
This skill includes your ability to communicate with others and understand your own and other people’s verbal and non-verbal communication. Relationship management skills range from the ability to understand the feelings, thoughts, and communication signals of others to being an outstanding negotiator.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Better understanding and the ability to manage our feelings helps us express them in a constructive way. In addition, self-control and empathy enable us to better understand other people’s emotions, needs, and motives – which leads to thriving relationships.
Moreover, studies show that EQ is linked to our positive outlook on life. In addition, highly developed emotional intelligence can help minimize our mood swings and alleviate anxiety.
Also, emotional intelligence can affect your career and help you reach your professional goals. Highly developed abilities of self-regulation, social competence, empathy, and self-awareness are essential in relating to other people in the workplace.
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor, emotional intelligence plays an important role in a candidate selection process – through the hiring process, the employers are commonly looking for assets such as flexibility, adaptability, good listening skills, high self-control, and excellent relationship management skills.
How to Enhance Your EQ?
To make the most of your emotional intelligence, you need to nurture it. Here are some things that you can do to improve your EQ.
- Acknowledge your Emotions
Be mindful about your feelings – pay attention to them and analyze your thoughts behind experienced emotions. Also, be aware of the signals your body sends and learn to recognize them. For example, an increased heart rate and shortness of breath may be signs of stress and anxiety. Accept all of your feelings as equally important.
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Some of the great ways to learn how to regulate your feelings include mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, and other self-help methods.
Practicing to deliberately focus your attention on the present moment without any judgment can make you more self-aware and boost your social competence, self-control, and empathy. Also, mindfulness exercise can help you shift your attention from your thoughts toward gratitude instead. Studies show that mindfulness meditation helps you stay present at the moment, relax, and focus on your feelings.
- Follow Your Intuition
Your intuition is a powerful inner tool that can help you find new, creative solutions, attract opportunities, and help you see things from a different perspective. Intuition will increase your self-awareness and empathy and help you better understand yourself and other people.
Psychology shows us that emotional intelligence is a quality that can significantly improve our lives. High EQ helps us be more confident, build strong relationships, and reach our professional goals.