Emotional Intelligence (known as EQ or EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
In his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, Daniel Goleman says “In a very real sense, we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” IQ and EQ.
Let’s face it emotions matter but most people struggle to master and understand the more complex and confusing emotions that we are faced with. The key is to become self-aware and learn techniques to raise your Emotional Intelligence.
According to Jeanne Segal, author of various literature on Emotional Intelligence, “Raising our emotional intelligence returns our ability to feel to its rightful place alongside our ability to think. “It is based on the belief that when we let ourselves feel our emotions fully and physically, as we were made to do, we tap parts of the brain that have been lying dormant and gain the potential for keeping our intelligence growing for life.
Our IQ helps us understand and cope with the world around us up to a point, but we need to be in tune with our emotions to understand ourselves and deal with other people. She says “Without an awareness of our emotions, without the ability to recognize and value our feelings and act in accordance with those feelings, we cannot get along with other people, we cannot get ahead in the world (no matter how smart we are), we cannot make decisions easily, and we are often simply at sea, out of touch with our sense of self.
The good news is that unlike IQ, which doesn’t change significantly over a lifetime, EQ can evolve and increase.
Here are some starting tips to start incorporating emotional intelligence into your everyday life:
- Put people first by taking the time to listen and understand what they feel and what drives them. Seek to understand the emotions, interests, values, needs and expectations that are influencing their behaviour and decisions.
- Treat emotions as data-they are not good or bad just information .This will increase awareness of feelings and give more choices on how to respond.
- Listen to your body-there are often physiological signs behind our emotions. Next time you feel angry, watch where you hold your tension.
- Shift your feelings -for example breathing gets oxygen to your body and brain and can change the intensity of an emotion, and consequently your response to a situation.
- Smile-Smiling encourages positive feelings all round and creates positive connections. Humans need to be social and smiling taps into the brains capacity for empathy and relationships.
June’s monthly mantra is by Aristotle:
“Anybody can become angry
That is easy
But to be angry with the right person
And to the right degree
And at the right time
And for the right purpose
And in the right way
That is not within
And is not easy.”
Start cultivating and raising awareness of your emotional intelligence. It is paramount to your well-being and can improve your performance in all areas of your life.