Why Improve your Emotional Intelligence?

It’s no secret there has been a rise in seeking counsel since 2020. Fear, sadness, frustration, angst, and anger being just the beginning of what started to loom in the air. That was not the hardest part of it, the difficult issue at hand was not knowing how to cope with all those feelings. The question that started to plague minds was “What do I do with these experiences, thoughts, and feelings?”. Often, the famous coping method is to wrap an anchor around your problems and throw it into the sea, pretending like nothing happened. The issue with that is, pain and wounds fester. Somehow that anchor gets undone and bubbles up to the surface showing up in different areas of our lives if not given attention after a period of time. 

Emotional intelligence plays a key part, even more so than intelligence quotient (IQ) in our daily lives. Emotional intelligence has been taking a back seat to IQ in a sense, because what has usually been ingrained in many of us for a longtime has always been doing well with academics, being book smart to get good grades, to get accepted into good schools, in hopes of having a decent job that pays well one day. While those things are a significant part of life and do matter, it does not teach you how to form and sustain relationships while trying to build your career or become financially free. IQ does not help you communicate you need help when you’re having a difficult time with academics and are feeling frustrated and defeated.  

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?  

Emotional Intelligence is defined as the ability to create self-awareness, engage in self-regulation, or in other words manage and process your emotions in healthy ways. EQ is being able to extend empathy toward others including yourself, communicate effectively, deal with conflict, and overcome challenges that present itself. 

Some characteristics of individuals with low EQ tend to be those who get upset quicker, feel misunderstood or judged repeatedly, and have issues dealing with overwhelming emotions which can result in frequent outbursts. Individuals with high EQ often remain calm when faced with a rush of emotion because they are able to identify how they are feeling and take a step back and analyze how to behave. These individuals can remain calm in pressure situations and navigate dealing with difficult people (ex: those in authority positions).  

Now what does all this really mean and what are the practical steps toward increasing your EQ?  

EQ can help you climb what you view as a mountain in your life. A big part of being able to climb these mountains is learning how to connect with your feelings and be able to sit and observe them.  

The mountain in your life may resemble for example feeling stuck in your current job where you feel unappreciated and under compensated for the work you produce. You are unaware how to ask for an increase in pay because you have never been taught to ask for more than what you’ve been given or to go after what you thought you deserved. It seems like an inconceivable thought.  If you’ve learned or been taught through your environment to deal with the cards you been dealt, then that has a lot to do with how you view yourself and how you perceive your worth.  

In 2020, a significant amount of individuals lost their loved ones. This had a huge impact on the world being that so many were robbed of being able to say goodbye due to hospital restrictions. If you were able to say goodbye it was through video means but equally as emotionally frustrating. Losing a loved one is already a painful experience in itself but adding on having to experience being told you cannot physically come and kiss your loved one or be able to provide physical comfort in holding their hand through scary moments. That can be traumatizing.  

Maybe you are one of those people who had to go through this or currently are. I am sure you experienced amongst many other emotions: rage, deep sadness and frustration and shock. Where did those emotions go? How did you process your grief? What may have you channeled these emotions/feelings into? Most people commonly channel uncomfortable emotions into their work as a way of distracting themselves and keeping busy. This can result in overtiring the body, experiencing frequent headaches and not having mental space for relationships or other conversations. Other’s may drown in their feelings being that it may feel so overbearing they become numb and sleep the days away finding it difficult to come back to the surface.  

Take a brief moment to answer those questions in the paragraph above. If you resonate with this at all I recommend seeking counsel if you’re having a hard time processing however I am going to list a few practical ways in the next paragraph to start slowing down and working toward your EQ.  

EQ in a more practical way can be broken into a few parts: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship managementSelf-management can look like bringing your focus to how you react/respond to others. Notice your vocabulary and your body language. Do you get defensive? Do you think before you speak or blurt out the first thought you have? In addition to noticing this, a practical step you can take is to log your negative thought patterns in a journal, computer or phone device when you experience strong emotions or physical reactions throughout the day. This will help you identify patterns within yourself.  

It is important to be mindful of your own behavior because another method that will help you increase your EQ is to know how to adjust your behavior based on how others are affected by you. Being able to recognize how other’s are feeling or how they may receive you is a form of self and social awareness. You can carry this out by taking conscious breaths and focusing just for 5-10 seconds on your hands and feet to ground yourself to give yourself that pause to reconnect with your body before continuing to engage in the public setting or one on one with another person.  

A principal part of increasing your EQ is asking for feedback from those closest to you. If you feel you don’t have someone reliable to ask feedback from then seek out a boss, supervisor, life coach, therapist or some sort of counsel to invest in. I recommend this because auditing yourself in every season is vital to measuring growth. We all need a little course correction and reminders from time to time regarding things we are not able to see in ourselves. It is difficult to examine yourself alone because others may notice things in us that we may not be looking for because our attention is on hundreds of other things we’re working through or toward.  

Emotional Intelligence is a key element in navigating our lives. Keep in mind how you work towards bettering yourself in this area may not mirror the next person. This is an ever-growing journey and what you do towards this will change from season to season and as your life changes.  

© Copyright 2024 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.


* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.