Most people are familiar with I.Q. – Intelligence Quotient, which is a measure of one’s intelligence based on standardized scales and tests.
Emotional intelligence is seen by some to be a better measure of the overall person as it incorporates the individual’s overall state by recognizing emotion. Let’s face it, humans are all emotional creatures and people all feel, with all feeling differently.
Have you ever wondered why some people react differently than others to the exact same situation? Have you ever wished you possessed the same emotional strength as others do? What is emotional intelligence and where does it come from?
Daniel Goleman was one of the first theorists to examine emotional intelligence (EI) as having a wide array of competencies and leadership criterion based on four constructs; social awareness, self-awareness, self-management and relationship management.
Social awareness is one’s ability to understand and react to other people’s emotions according to societal norms. Self-awareness is one’s ability to read your own emotions, go by gut instinct when making a decision that will effect yourself and influence others. Self-management is one’s ability to control emotions and reactions as differing situations arise with others. Relationship management is influencing and facilitating amongst other people in the midst of a conflict.
Based on these four constructs, people possess varying levels of EI. Is there a way to increase emotional intelligence? If so, is it too late to become more “intelligent” in an emotional way?
There are several ways one can increase their emotional intelligence.
First off, a great place to start is reducing levels of stress, namely distress in one’s life. Reducing stress in your life helps keep you energized and more alert. This creates a greater sense of focus and mental harmony in your life which helps you act by thinking things through rather than reacting from emotions.
The second way to increase EI is to become in better tune with your emotions and know the difference between them. Many people are disconnected from their emotions, i.e. anger and sadness because at an early age they were taught that they were bad emotions and might have been punished for exhibiting them. Over the years, they have swept certain emotions under the rug or caused them to blend with other ones.
The third way you can increase EI is to work on your non-verbal communication skills.
Pay attention to what you are doing with your facial expression and gestures while talking, as well as looking at others and noticing their patterns and nuances. Learning body language communication skills teaches you how to trust the non-verbal communication in others.
The fourth thing you can work on is lightening up and expressing your emotions openly. They say laughter is the best medicine, so learn to laugh more. Laughter improves overall health! Also, a good cry has great emotional and mental cleansing abilities. When you express your emotions openly in appropriate situations, you learn to master your emotions better.
Finally, whenever faced with conflict or negative situations, always aim to achieve a positive resolution. This is the ultimate way to establish trust and respect in relationships.
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