With so much focus on intellectual ability (IQ) in our society, emotional intelligence (EQ) does not get talked about as much. Yet studies have found that emotional intelligence is linked to personal achievement, happiness and professional success, even more so than IQ. And, unlike IQ, it is a flexible skill, which means that no matter what our EQ is currently, we are able to raise it and increase our chances for personal and professional success and happiness.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)? It is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as those of others in positive ways, so you can relate better to people and create better relationships.
There are 4 skills that make up Emotional Intelligence:
1. Self -Awareness: The ability to identify your own emotions and understand how they affect your thoughts and behavior.
2. Self- Management: The ability to manage your emotional reactions.
3. Social Awareness: The ability to pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is going on with them.
4. Relationship Management: The ability to manage your interactions carefully, using clear communication and managing conflicts positively.
So what are some things we can do to raise our Emotional Intelligence?
1. Practice becoming aware of your emotions
As emotions arise, notice and name them. Then practice being with that emotion. For more details, see: Get Unstuck Through Acceptance
2. Calm yourself down in the heat of the moment
Find a technique that works for you, depending on how you react to stress and what senses you are more attuned to: Listen to a favorite piece of music or the sound of water. Take a quick walk. Look at uplifting images. Smell some lavender. Breathe deeply. Engage in positive self-talk. Try out different things and notice what you respond to best.
3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues you are sending and receiving
Practice paying attention in all your interactions with others. Make sure you are engaging with the other person by turning toward them, making eye contact and really listening to what they are saying (not planning what you are going to say next). Notice their facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, gestures and pace of conversation.
4. Resolve conflicts in a positive way
Stay focused on the present (this is not the time to bring up old hurts and resentments, to seek revenge or punish the other person). Pick your battles: Consider if this is really worth arguing about or not. If it is, look at the bigger picture and find something you can agree on first. For example, you both want the project to succeed. Use that as a starting point to come up with different possibilities.
Becoming more aware of my emotions and trying to understand why certain situations upset me so much has been invaluable in creating less stress and more happiness in my life. We all have our triggers, and the more we can explore and manage our emotions, the less we get upset by them in the future.
For more ideas and resources on Emotional Intelligence, check out: Emotional Intelligence