Emotional Intelligence – The intelligence of your emotions
Here is an extract from my book, Emotional Gravity, available on Amazon here.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to get your head to rule over your heart Emotional Intelligence is becoming quite a popular phrase lately although it really has been around since about 1995 when Daniel Goleman released his book called Emotional Intelligence. Wikipedia defines emotional intelligence as the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. It can be divided into ability EI and trait EI. I, however, have a simpler definition and that is that emotional intelligence is the ability to get your head to rule over your heart. The reason I say this is because when there is a conflict between your head and your heart, by nature you will find that your heart always wins. It takes emotional intelligence to get your head to win and emotional intelligence does not come naturally to most people, it is developed through training, dedication and practice.
When there is a conflict between your head and your heart, your heart always wins.
`High IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue. Goleman makes the case for “emotional intelligence” being the strongest indicator of human success. He defines emotional intelligence in terms of self-awareness, altruism, personal motivation, empathy and the ability to love and be loved by friends, partners, and family members.
I have observed that there is no connection between how emotional someone is to how high their emotional intelligence is. Someone can be very emotional and have high emotional intelligence while others can have fewer emotions but display little emotional intelligence.
Liggy Webb, in her latest book, Resilience, shared her thoughts on emotional intelligence which she has given me permission to share with you on the pages that follow.
The term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ was first used in the world of psychology in 1966. The earliest roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Charles Darwin’s work on the importance of emotional expression for survival. Emotional intelligence is essentially the ability to identify, understand and control your emotions and recognise how they can affect others around you. Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others and understanding how they feel.
Here is a framework that describes five key elements of emotional intelligence:
- Self Awareness.
Highly emotionally intelligent people are very self-aware. They are individuals who understand their emotions and, because of this, they don’t let their feelings overwhelm them. They also have higher levels of self–confidence because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control. They are willing to take a good hard look in the metaphorical mirror so that they can fully understand their strengths and weaknesses and seek to make self-improvements.
This is the ability to control emotions and impulses and, for highly emotional people, that can be challenging. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or too jealous and they don’t make impulsive careless decisions. Characteristics of self-regulation are thinking things through without being too rash, thoughtfulness, being comfortable with change and demonstrating the ability to be assertive.
People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are also usually self-motivated with a zest for life; they are willing to defer immediate results for long-term success and will put the necessary investment into everything they do. They are generally highly productive, enjoy challenges and are very effective and successful in whatever they do.
Empathy is about having some understanding of, and identification with, how another person is feeling. The metaphor of ‘being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is often used to describe this. People with empathy are good at recognising the feelings of others and, as a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening and relating to others. Empathetic people avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open and honest way.
- Social skills.
The final sign of high emotional intelligence is the ability to interact comfortably with others. People with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others to develop and grow. Emotionally intelligent people are good at managing disputes, are excellent communicators and are very successful at building and maintaining positive relationships.
So when you read through the key elements and the list of traits, it is all very positive behaviour and certainly developing all these traits will help you to be more resilient. There are many benefits to cultivating emotional intelligence and it is something that can help you in so many areas of your life.The benefits of cultivating emotional intelligence Tweet This!
Emotional intelligence will help you to understand and regulate your emotions which, in turn, will help you to respond to stressful situations in a much more positive way. By understanding how you are capable of reacting you can create personal strategies that will help you to control your negative emotions in a way that is more helpful for you and those around you.
Improved performance at work
Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace and help you to excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to assessing candidates for a role, many organisations now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability, hence the term ‘competency-based’ interviews.
Improved physical health
When you are unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems, raising blood pressure, suppressing the immune system and increasing the risk of heart attack and strokes. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress by regulating and controlling emotions so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
Improved mental health
Stress can also impact on your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you will also be more susceptible to mood swings. You will feel overwhelmed and out of control which can make you react in a way that you regret and also seek unhealthy coping mechanisms that will just compound the issue.
By better understanding your emotions, and how to control them, you will be able to express how you feel in a more articulate way. You will also, by developing empathy, understand how others feel and why they react the way that they do. This will allow you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships both at work and in your personal life.
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