Emotional Intelligence

Nikita Tandon writes about the characteristics of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and its significance in building interpersonal relationships.

“All learning has an emotional base.” -Plato

Each person around the globe has a unique personality and different ways of communicating one’s emotions. How successfully a person can handle and/or prevent an outburst of his/her emotions reveal their emotional intelligence. In the simplest terms, emotional intelligence can be defined as “the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.”

Two researchers, Salavoy and Meyer, coined the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and further proposed a model differentiating the 4 branches of their newly coined concept. Firstly, the talked about perception of emotions. Understanding emotions is particularly tricky and thus the first step is to perceive emotions. Emotions may be expressed in the form of non verbal actions including body language and facial expressions. These non verbal expressions at times give a deeper understanding of one’s emotions than his verbal talk. Second comes the reasoning with emotions. Once we perceive the emotions, we employ them to supplement our cognitive activity. Our emotions, if perceived correctly, help us prioritize our actions and pay attention to the priorities. Third, we understand our emotions. The emotions we perceive often have several meanings attached to them. A single emotion can be a result of a number of situations and thus understanding the reason and meaning helps get us a better insight of the emotion expressed. Finally, the most crucial part of emotional intelligence is the ability to manage emotions. Perceiving and understanding one’s emotions comes into help when we actually employ the understanding of our emotions to managing them.

Popularizing the concept of emotional intelligence and adding his understanding to the study, Daniel Goleman came up with 5 distinguishing characteristics necessary to achieve high levels of emotional intelligence.

  1. Self Awareness- It has been observed that people with a high emotional quotient (EQ) have high self awareness. They have an in depth understanding of their emotions which helps them accept their strengths and weakness and grow in to a confident and independent individual. Self aware individuals do not try to run away from their fears rather face them willingly embracing their fortes along the way.
  1. Self Regulation- This is the ability to control and regulate one’s emotions. People with the ability of self regulation are capable of increasing the flow of positive emotions. More importantly, self regulation prevents the outburst of negative emotions like anger or jealousy. People do not act on the impulse and give thought to their decisions.
  1. Motivation- Having a high emotional quotient adds to the motivation of a person. A motivated individual strives for greater excellence without giving up. Motivation increases the productivity of a person giving him a sense of guidance and direction towards his goal.
  1. Empathy- Being one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence, empathy is the ability of a person to identify with the emotions of others understanding their wants desires and so on. An empathetic person is sensitive to the feelings of others, recognizing their positive and negative emotions. Empathy empowers a person to be a good listener capable of maintaining and managing healthy relationships.
  1. Social Skills- People high on social skills are generally liked with everyone. Good social skills are another sign of high emotional quotient. Social skill help a person manage relations like an expert. Such persons are excellent communicators and often given importance to others’ problems before their own.

Psychologists often come across people doubting the importance and significance of emotional intelligence in a person’s life. What most people fail to understand is that high intelligence quotient (IQ) is not sufficient to ensure a successful life. IQ supplemented with equally high EQ is the secret ingredient for a happy and prosperous life. High emotional quotient boosts every sphere of one’s life. It helps accelerate the work progress by keeping a person highly motivated to strive for excellence. It helps a person take control over his mind preventing him to fall victim to emotional outbursts that may lead to anxiety and depression. The greatest benefit of having a high EQ is the ability to manage relationships effectively. Understanding the emotions of others and being empathetic towards them helps us understand their state of mind enabling us to deal with them in a well suited manner. Emotionally intelligent people develop holistically growing into confident individuals with a strong mental makeup and healthy inter personal relationships. In a nutshell emotional intelligence serves as a platform to understand the underlying meaning and emotion of one’s actions and their impact on the surroundings. It also enables a person to become sensitive towards others, understanding their value and respecting their emotions. Emotional intelligence is the key to a healthy and successful lifestyle.

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