Emotional intelligence (EI) involves the ability to identify, understand, use, and manage your emotions. Having high emotional intelligence skills can help you communicate better, resolve conflicts, empathize with others, and reduce anxiety plus stress.
Your emotional intelligence greatly affects the quality of your life as it influences your relationships and behaviors. EI is the same thing as self-awareness as it enables you to live your life with purpose and intention.
Many people move through life making vital decisions based on their current circumstances and sometimes the situations seem to be beyond change. However, this thought pattern limits your options and solutions to the problems you are facing. By taking time to examine and reflect on why you do what you do you become able to lead your life determined by your intentions rather than by your circumstances.
The Benefits of Building Your Emotional Intelligence
Increasing your emotional intelligence is vital if you wish to live a life where you are in control, not your emotions. There are four major benefits to building your emotional intelligence; you will:
- Have better self-awareness
- Have better emotional regulation
- Develop more empathy for others
- Increase your social skills
You have better self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your emotions. Self-awareness requires you to tune into your emotions and not avoid them facing them head-on. You can more readily identify if you are anxious, depressed, or experiencing a range of other emotions. Self-awareness also helps you to recognize your own emotional states and how they affect how you think, how you behave, and the decisions that you make.
Have better emotional regulation. Emotional regulation involves your ability to control your response to strong emotions and raw feelings. Developing the ability to feel unpleasant emotions gives you time and space to decide how to best alleviate or reduce the negative feelings that you may be experiencing.
Emotional intelligence will allow you to experience emotional regulation more readily because you will understand better what you are feeling and why.
Develop more empathy for others. Empathy for others involves a deep development of caring for the emotional states and feelings of those around us. Empathy allows you to anticipate how your actions impact other people as well as yourself.
Emotional intelligence allows you to develop empathy skills that enhance your experiences, relationships, understanding of who you are, and how you relate to the world.
Increase your social skills. Having good social skills means you have the ability to communicate clearly and concisely in a courteous manner. Good social skills are the synopsis of emotional intelligence which are self-awareness, emotional regulation, and empathy.
The Negative Consequences of Developing Emotional Intelligence
While emotional intelligence is touted as the most important skill one can possess by some, others do not agree. In a paper written in 2016 that examined the literature and latest research surrounding emotional intelligence, the researchers suggested that there may be a “dark side” to EI.
This dark side to emotional intelligence involves how emotional intelligence may contribute to negative psychological health and added stress. The paper also stressed that the literature suggests that emotional intelligence might contribute to some people developing manipulative and antisocial behavior.
Moreover, the paper suggests that the negative effects are found across many different contexts such as academics, health, and occupations. The negative effects of emotional intelligence appear to depend on a pre-existing quality that a person has at birth (Davis & Nichols, 2016).
How to Become More Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional intelligence is not just a fad as there is compiled statistical proof that not only do people’s lives improve but employees who have a high EI see better success than those who do not.
Below are six methods you can do to increase your emotional intelligence and make you a stronger person.
- Practice using an assertive communication style. Assertive communication means you get your point across in a respectful manner that is neither too passive nor too aggressive. Emotionally intelligent people know how to express their opinions and needs while still respecting those of others.
- Do not react to conflict, instead respond. The emotionally intelligent person knows how to remain calm during stressful situations including arguments. They do not make impulsive decisions and understand the goal in any conflict is resolved. Emotionally intelligent people focus on actions that align with their words.
- Practice and use active listening skills. Instead of waiting for their turn to speak in a conversation, emotionally intelligent people listen for clarity. They make sure they understand and may reflect back on what is being said. They also pay attention to the non-verbal language.
- Emotionally intelligent people practice methods to maintain a positive attitude. A negative attitude will spread to those around you so practice being aware of the moods of those around you and make certain your attitude is optimistic.
- All others to critique you. A vital part of increasing your emotional intelligence is to take critique and use it to your advantage. Instead of becoming offended, take a moment to understand what has been said and how you can change your behavior or attitude to reflect what you have learned.
- Be approachable. Emotionally intelligent people smile and exude a positive attitude and presence. They use their social skills in an appropriate fashion based on whoever they are around at the time.
The Benefits Far Outweigh the Negative Aspects of Emotional Intelligence
Although there are definitely some negative aspects to emotional intelligence, creating a new you through building EI skills is helpful in living a rich life. While one can get through life without emotional intelligence skills, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the negatives.
There are many ways to increase your emotional intelligence from seeing a therapist to joining a group. However, the most notable increases come from sitting alone and contemplating who you are and who you would like to become.
No one is incapable of growing in their emotional intelligence, so, keep reading the articles in this series for more information.
“To develop emotional and erotic intelligence we need to practice enlarging our inner passion at every moment. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in our world, or even how we feel about ourselves at the moment. In fact, the best time to accomplishing something maybe when we least feel like trying because of the hopeless part of ourselves most needs the light.” ~ Alexandra Katehakis
“Feelings trigger thoughts. Some thoughts drive actions. Being ignorant of what feelings are driving your thoughts and actions, is being emotionally unaware.” ~ Krishna Saagar Rao
Davis, S. K., & Nichols, R. (2016). Does emotional intelligence have a “dark” side? A review of the literature. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1316.
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The Healing Book Club
Today, CPTSD Foundation would like to invite you to our healing book club, reading a new book that began in September. The title of the latest featured book is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.
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My name is Shirley Davis and I am a freelance writer with over 40-years- experience writing short stories and poetry. It has only been the last two years that I discovered the world of writing articles for other people’s websites and have found it to be highly beneficial to my pocketbook. Living as I do among the corn and bean fields of Illinois (USA), working from home using the Internet has become the best way to make a living. My interests are wide and varied. I love any kind of science and read several research papers per week to satisfy my curiosity. I have earned an Associate Degree in Psychology and enjoy writing books on the subjects that most interest me. By the way, I am a published author of three books and am currently working on a fourth.