At A Glance:
- Emotional Intelligence enables to understand ourselves and people around us.
- EI/EQ can always be worked on, built with various techniques.
- Self-awareness, self-management, empathy, motivation and social skills are the 5 pillars of EI.
When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life. ~ Tara Meyer Robson
Is being a topper in your entrance exam enough to land and maintain a good job? Or a high-flying MBA enough to build and expand a business?
If yes, then what makes high-rankers mid-level managers and enables many achievers to rise from humble beginnings and grow into business stalwarts? What is it because of which a famous personality could go into depression while a poor man could smile all the time?
As most of us know, our cognitive gifts and deficits are based on – our Intelligence Quotient. This ability remains fairly consistent throughout our lives. But IQ by itself isn’t enough.
That primary element that allows us to achieve all-round success and build good relationships is our Emotional Quotient.
A Snapshot – The Emotional Quotient Explained
Emotional Quotient (EQ) or Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand what people around us think, how they develop and what influences their thoughts and beliefs. It is the art of reading people and understand our own selves.
Our Emotional Intelligence impacts the quality of our lives, behaviour and relationships. What makes it more special is that we can always cultivate our EQ through various techniques. An efficient EQ allows us to pause before taking an important decision, builds more autonomy into our lives and empowers us to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.
What are some of the practical benefits of EQ?
- Better interpersonal relationships
- Make conscious decisions with a calm mind
- Heightened self-awareness
- Better problem-solvers
- Make incredible leaders
- Make better life choices
- Communicate confidently
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Overcome challenges efficiently
The 5 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence
The key to opening the treasure of inner strength that EQ provides is self-awareness. It is being aware of our emotions and how it affects our thoughts and behaviour. It is not avoiding negative emotions like anger and sadness, instead accepting them and understanding their consequences. Self-awareness is tuning in to our inner self. It is being confident of our capabilities.
This is the ability to manage strong emotions by not acting on them impulsively or destructively. Often we can do little to control the experience of the emotion itself. But we can decide how long the emotion lasts in our minds by sitting down with ourselves and reflecting upon the cause of that emotion and the solution and using healing methods such as taking a long walk or meditating for some time to alleviate emotions such as stress and anger.
It is being able to use our intellect to direct the power of that emotion positively and not react from an emotionally charged state of mind. For instance, anger at our mistake can be directed to actually reflecting upon what went wrong and how we can solve it.
It is also being responsible for our performance, being open to new ideas and the flexibility with which we adapt to changes. For instance, being alert to monotony setting in our work and taking steps to add innovation into it.
Being empathic allows to cultivate deep and intimate relationships in our lives. It equips us to understand what others are going through and why they do what they do. When we are able to read and understand others, we can also monitor the signals we send out to them.
It is being able to understand the reasons behind our own thoughts and actions. Being empathic to ourselves translates to not being too harsh on ourselves and minimizing negative self-talk.
Empathic people excel at anticipating, identifying and meeting a client’s needs in a professional setting. They recognize others’ strengthens and motivate them to progress. They can easily leverage the abilities of a diverse group of people and sense the emotional undercurrents of a group, thereby steering it in the right direction.
Empathy greatly enhances our relationships, experiences and our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
To motivate yourself, you have to be clear about your goals, what you want to achieve and why you are aiming for something. A vital element is a positive attitude. You can always work upon cultivating a positive mindset. When negative thoughts crop up, try reframing them in a positive manner. These steps help you achieve your goals.
Motivation stems from a drive to excel at what you do, a strong commitment to your dreams, a never-give-up attitude no matter what the obstacles and acting upon opportunities that come your way. The passion you feel for your goals is critical when it comes to motivating yourself.
5. Social Skills
Good people skills is an important factor which determines your success in your life and career. Especially when the borders between countries are blurring rapidly. It is a broad term which consists of many skills. In a nutshell, it is the ability to communicate clearly and courteously, nurturing relationships, initiating change and leading people efficiently. It includes all the components of EQ – self-management, empathy, motivation and most of all – self-awareness.
The Impact of EQ on:
- Physical Health – Uncontrolled emotions can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety. This can have serious consequences. Stress not taken care of increases risk of heart attacks and strokes, rise in blood pressure and weakens the immune system. Being able to manage emotions keeps you significantly healthy.
- Academics and Work – A mind overwhelmed by untamed emotions is an unfocused mind while a composed mind does wonders. High EQ is a prerequisite to handling exam stress or managing conflicts at work, being able to lead and inspire a team and make a niche for yourself in your field.
- Mental Health – Our mind is the seat of all our emotions. Thus emotional health and mental health go hand in hand. Being unable to control your emotions, especially the negative ones like excessive fear can leave you vulnerable to depression and stress. The inability to understand and accept your own emotions will leave you feeling lonely which can further aggravate mental health concerns.
- The World Around You – Not being in tune with your emotions can have you struggle to forge strong relationships. On the other hand, your ability to understand and manage how you feel can help you express yourself better, understand and be accepting of how others feel thus equipping you to build deeper relationships. Bein tuned to your inner emotions can also help you serve a larger social purpose, read people right, feel loved and happy!
Here are some fabulous tips to enhance your Emotional Quotient:
The most important aspect of EQ is learning to manage our negative emotions so that they don’t overwhelm our mind and intellect. When you find yourself feeling frustrated over a friend not returning your call or your boss delegating some of your work to others, pause and take a step back. View the situation from multiple perspectives.
Possibly your friend could have been busy or your boss might just be practicing foresight and wanting to take some burden off you. Most likely their actions are a part of a much larger situation.
It is mostly not all about you. Practice de-personalization. It helps you look beyond yourself and understand various point-of-views.
Keep your options open. If you’re looking for a dream college or job, don’t just stick to one institution. Keep two or three back-up options. In this way you ready yourself to face a failure and still have a choice ready.
2. Be Assertive
Standing up for ourselves, for what is right even if that is difficult, forms a critical aspect of being true to ourselves. There will be times when you have to set appropriate boundaries in relationships to know where you stand. Setting priorities for ourselves and learning to say “no” without feeling guilty, being confident about your abilities are all a part of this skill. Avoid using statements like, “You should”. It carries an accusatory tone. Instead try saying, “I felt bad because you decided to invite them over without asking me even once.”
3. Cultivate Resilience
All of us encounter challenges and go through stress at different points in our lives. How we act in such situations, how we choose to think often determines the difference between calm and frazzled, optimism and frustration, hope and despair. If you feel stressed, go out for a walk, sit silently for a while or splash cold water on your face. It helps cview a stressful situation with a composed mind in a wider perspective.
With every challenge you face in life, ask questions like, “How has this helped me grow? What have I learnt from this experience? What is the next step?” The deeper you dig, the more you tune into the answers your intuition provides. Asking the right constructive questions based on how much you want to learn and grow, can help you eke out the best from even a challenge.
4. Nurture Relationships –
Start by nurturing your relationship with yourself first. When you catch your mind engaging in negative self-talk, pause right there. Try to reframe it into a positive and empathic statement. Pay attention to your behaviour and feelings. To nourish relationships with people around, emotional awareness is the first step.
A thoughtful note on a friend’s birthday, empathetic listening, smiling and wishing your colleagues, a “how are you feeling?” when you know someone’s been through a rough phase can help build positive and intimate connections.
Pay attention to the many non-verbal cues you give others. The way your face muscles react conveys your thoughts without any words. Being aware of this can help you improve and strengthen relationships.
Learn to look at conflicts and disagreements that crop up in any relationship as a means to grow closer and strengthen trust in a relationship. Accepting that conflicts do take place fosters a sense of safety and peace.
5. Practice self-awareness
In constantly moving from one goal to another, meeting deadlines and managing schedules, we forget to pay attention to many of our emotions. Your emotions are messages your mind has for you.
The ability to handle your core emotions such as anger, happiness and sorrow stem from early life experiences. If your emotional experiences as an infant were secure, you are probably able to analyse and manage your emotions better.
However, if your experiences as a child were confused and traumatic, you probably become withdrawn when faced with an emotional challenge. When we have emotional reactions, we often act unconsciously missing out on valuable information that our emotions hold. It could be from a current situation or an unprocessed deep-seated memory producing this emotion.
In your day, set alarms for different timings. At such a time, take a deep breath, step aside from whatever you are doing and notice how you’re feeling at the moment. Notice how your emotions affect your behaviour. Do they have an impact on your productivity or communication with others? Keep practicing this until it comes naturally to you. This tuning into emotions, being aware of our emotional experiences from moment to moment, observing the ebb and flow of emotions is the key to emotional and self-awareness.
6. Respond rather than React
Reactions are unconscious, often set off by emotional triggers. For instance, our first reaction to a difficult situation where we haven’t succeeded previously could be, “This is impossible!” A response is calculated and given after careful observation of possibilities. A response would be, “I failed last time. Why? What can I do better this time?” Getting into a habit of responding gives us a calmer and detached perspective of looking at things and making decisions.
7. Take responsibility
Your feelings and actions are yours alone. They don’t belong to any other person. They come from you, hence you’re responsible for them! When we are stressed, we often end up losing the ability to think rationally. Emotions are valuable messengers through which we know our own and others’ needs and preferences. Once you take ownership of your feelings, it will leave a lasting positive impact on your life.
The ability to manage stress, to calm yourself down and stay emotionally present can help you take in upsetting information more easily and not let your emotions overwhelm you. You’ll be able to make choices with poise on managing emotions in healthy ways, adapting to change, being open to innovation and control impulsive behaviors.
8. Build Social Awareness
With the practice of self-awareness, social awareness comes gradually. Being in the moment, focusing on what is going on in the group at the moment by keeping aside all other thoughts from your mind is the key to tune into subtle non-verbal cues and the underlying emotional dynamics of the group. By truly paying attention to what others’ are saying, you also invest in learning more about your own values and beliefs. For instance, feeling discomfort at someone using the phone during a meeting or raising their voice to place their opinion will give you valuable insights about what you stand for.
We hope this piece helps you build stronger emotional intelligence and awareness into your lives!
Love, Team Trijog. 🙂
Key Takeaways :
- The most part of EQ is to be able to manage our negative emotions in a way that they do not overwhelm our mind and intellect.
- EQ has an impact on almost all spheres of our lives.
- Practicing self-awareness and taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions are two key components.