Emotional Intelligence

Many consider emotional intelligence essential to success. (Photo: Flickr)
Emotions play an essential role in human development and society. Relationships and bonds formed between people or groups depend highly on experiencing, processing, and understanding the emotions involved. اضافة اعلان

The ability to understand your own emotions and the emotions of others is what is known as emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ). Some argue that emotional intelligence is more important than intelligence quotient (IQ) when it comes to success.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The concept of emotional intelligence is relatively new and complex; it’s comprised of four different components, which include perception of emotions, using emotions to facilitate reason, understanding emotions, and the ability to regulate emotions.

Perceiving emotions, also known as social awareness, goes beyond the vocalization of emotion. It is dependant on noticing subtleties in body language and behavior, and it depends mainly on non-verbal cues.

Being able to pick up on non-verbal cues and noticing slight changes in behavior is not foreign to people. In fact, the inability to do so is considered to be a disorder called social-emotional agnosia.

This component is fundamental for individual and social communication and growth. Emotions may be difficult to explain in spoken words, but body language transcends words and can be universally understood. An example of non-verbal cues perception of emotions is two strangers that speak two different languages meet; they both will not understand what the other is saying but can understand what the other is feeling.

The second component of emotional intelligence is using emotions to facilitate reason or self-awareness. This component uses emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity., which helps individuals understand and analyze emotional responses to navigate situations better.

Our minds naturally respond to things emotionally. For instance, having a particular thought that scares you, such as losing a loved one, should be explored. Instead of shutting down the idea, thinking and rationalizing why that thought caused an adverse reaction can help develop a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for yourself and those around you.

Similarly, emotional responses may also indicate what an individual considers important. For example, the thought of starting a family may excite certain people and, therefore, could be their subconscious desire. By becoming aware and understanding these thoughts, individuals can prioritize their wants, values, tasks, and more, which can assist them in being successful.

The third component is the ability to understand emotions or relationship management. This component goes beyond simply perceiving emotions. To understand emotions, the individual has to place themselves in someone else’s position and attempt to feel and understand what they are feeling.

Understanding emotions from another perspective help alter the way people approach situations. For example, if you cut someone off on the highway and hop out of their car to confront you, they may be angry and confrontational. Upon initial assessment of the situation, you may find their reaction to be a gross overreaction, and in turn, you become angry at the individual for behaving inappropriately.

However, if you take a quick moment to understand the other person’s perspective, you may react differently. Perhaps this time you notice a baby in the car, you consider that his anger did not come from you cutting them off, but the threat of their child being in danger.

Suddenly, their anger seems more justified and would likely cause you to approach the situation more tenderly even if you do not have a child. This justification or understanding of the underlying cause of emotions is called empathy and is a fundamental tool for understanding emotions and not just perceiving them.

The final component of emotional intelligence is regulating our own emotions or self-management. Managing our emotions tends to be the most challenging aspect of emotional intelligence. Feeling and expressing emotions such as happiness, sadness, or anger are healthy and normal in human behavior.

In contrast, when we express these emotions that are unregulated and uncontrolled, it can become unhealthy. Fortunately, through strengthening the other aspects of emotional intelligence, you can better manage your own emotions as well.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence:

There are many simple ways to improve emotional intelligence. The most significant factor to improvement is based on interpersonal reflection and an individual’s motivation to improve. The first step is analyzing how your emotions affect your behavior.

Chart that discusses how to improve emotional intelligence. (Photo: Flickr) 

Take time at the end of the day to consider the events that took place and investigate areas that you would like to improve on. Furthermore, tuning in to verbal and non-verbal cues is essential for social and self-improvement.

The final step is to practice empathy. No matter how mundane the situation, put in the conscious effort to understand the perspective of others and try to keep that perspective in mind when reacting to the situation.

Another option available locally is at AMIDEAST, an American nonprofit organization located in Abdoun. AMIDEAST offers courses in “soft skills,” which include emotional intelligence. Their goal is to improve communication, leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork for their patrons through courses, workshops, and seminars.

Additionally, there are many online self-help guides and tutorials that may have a more individualized approach.

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