Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been found to be related to all kinds of fabulous things like – better relationships (romantic and platonic), better academic and work performance, and fewer mental health issues.
There is even some research that suggests that EQ has more influence on success in life than IQ intelligence.
The good thing about EQ is that you can pretty much learn every aspect of it.
Daniel Goleman (who made emotional intelligence a household name) says there are 5 components to EQ.
- Self-awareness. This is being able to know what you’re feeling and being able to name your emotions as well as understanding how your emotional states affect other people. If you wanted to improve this area you might start developing a greater vocabulary of emotion words (here’s a link to some https://web.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/listemotions.htm) and begin checking in with your emotional state on a regular basis through the day.
- Self-regulation. This is your ability to think before acting, to make choices about whether you lose your shit or take a deep breath and address the situation calmly. The easiest way to develop this skill would be to learn mindfulness which trains you to be less reactive generally but also to give yourself a gap between a trigger and your response.
- Internal motivation. This is about having curiosity and joy in doing things. It helps you get into flow states (which are being totally and joyfully absorbed in what you’re doing). Having internal rather than external motivation helps you be more optimistic and not give up easily. If you wanted to develop this you might start to focus on enjoying the journey rather than the end result and on taking pride in doing things really well.
- Empathy. This is being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and show care and respect for their experience. If you wanted to improve on this area you might spend some time trying to imagine what someone else’s experience would be like. For example, think about what a refugee’s experience might be like. Draw on the times you felt scared and isolated and out of your depth and see if you can imagine them feeling like that. Try this with lots of different people and situations.
- Social skills. This is making and keeping friends, being able to build rapport with people, and communicating well. If you wanted to improve this area you might do an assertive communication course, or build your self confidence so you feel more comfortable talking to people.
Obviously there are plenty of other ways you can improve on your EQ but at least this is a start. Let me know how you go with it.
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