Most of us have heard the phrase “success is about who you know,” and that couldn’t be more true. The people we surround ourselves with are a direct reflection of our life and success. One thing that affects this is emotional intelligence, or EQ for short. It’s not just about how smart you are; it also has to do with your ability to understand and manage your own emotions and influence others. So what exactly is emotional intelligence? Well, it can be defined in two ways — either high levels of EQ means someone has a high level of self-awareness coupled with an understanding of other people’s emotions, or it means someone has the skill set required to work on teams effectively. There are five key parts to emotional intelligence.
The first part of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and be aware of how those feelings might affect other people. Self-aware individuals are capable of monitoring their own moods and behaviors in a way that many others may not be able to do so easily; recognizing different emotional reactions or “emotions” from each situation they find themselves in; then accurately identifying which particular emotion it was (such anger or sadness). Becoming self-aware requires an individual who can maintain strong mental health by dealing with difficult experiences without becoming mentally drained.
The second part of emotional intelligence is self-regulation. Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of your own emotions and how you impact others and know when it’s best to express or manage those thoughts. Self-regulation means knowing what time and place are appropriate for different expression levels — not locking away all emotion like a caged animal. For example, if someone asks you about something personal in front of other people who may feel uncomfortable with that subject matter, then self-regulation would allow one such person to say, “I’d rather talk about this later.” That way, they can avoid creating any tension while still giving their true feedback at another time without offending anyone else.
Emotional intelligence is more than just understanding your own emotions and those of others. You need to put the information you have gained from this into daily interactions with people, encouraging them when they are down, or helping someone who needs a kind word. For example, if one person has been having a tough time lately because their spouse lost his job, then it would be important for other members of our emotional intelligence group that day not only to empathize with him but also give some ideas on how he can get through these tough times by talking about hobbies and finding different ways to make money at home so as not leave himself feeling defeated all the time.”
Empathy, or the ability to understand how others are feeling, is absolutely critical for emotional intelligence. And it requires more than just being able to recognize other people’s emotions; empathy also involves your responses based on what you sense they’re experiencing. For example: when someone is sad or hopeless about something — do you respond by treating them with extra care and concern? Or do you try making an effort at buoying their spirits? This way of understanding social dynamics allows us not only to understand power relationships between different groups (in a workplace setting!), but empathizing can help keep our own feelings in check too!
Emotional intelligence is an important skill that some people have naturally. Those emotionally intelligent are motivated not by external rewards like fame, money, recognition, or acclaim but by their inner needs and goals. Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to be action-oriented because they set high goals for themselves and always look for new ways of doing things better to achieve these targets more easily. On the other hand, those with a lack of emotional intelligence may never get started on something without being convinced externally as a recognized reward will motivate them when they need success.
So, now that you have a great understanding of emotional intelligence and mental health, what are you going to do? Strengthening your IQ will help strengthen your mental wellness. As I said in my previous articles/blog posts, strengthening our IQ doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be mentally healthy as well — there are many factors involved with it like job satisfaction or chronic stressors, so the solution is taking an integrative approach that takes into account all these different things.
Tomi Mitchell is a family physician.
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