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Emotional Intelligence - Why is it so Important?

Updated on January 16, 2016
Photo by Masha Danilova
Photo by Masha Danilova | Source

What is Emotional Intelligence?

EI is the ability to identify personal emotions as well as the emotions of others and managing them in a way that is positive. This results in more effective communication, stress relief, empathy, dealing with challenges and conflict resolution skills.

Those with high emotional intelligence are able to engage with people in a way that attracts them. Understanding emotions will make it easier to relate to other people, develop relationships that are healthy, achieve much success in your work environment, and a more satisfying lifestyle.

[1]

Abbreviations and their Meaning

Abbreviation
Meaning
EQ
Emotional Quotient
EI
Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence Attributes

Attribute
Attribute Description
Self Awareness
Understanding, identifying and comprehending your emotions and the transition of one emotion to another; You are aware of your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. You have a healthy plan for self-sustainability of these items.
Self Management
The ability to use an emotion, reason with it and use it to direct thoughts and actions from emotions; You know how to manage your emotions and reactions to other's emotions and circumstances that are beyond your control.
Social Awareness
Recognizing another person's feelings and how they affect those around them. You are aware of how others' emotions affect one another and how to resolve conflict.
Relationship Management
Self regulating your emotions and the emotions of others; You communicate with your loved ones in a way that is respectful and understanding of their feelings.

My Experience

I once knew a lovely woman, who had her first child when she was 16. She dropped out of school and raised many children as a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, her emotional intelligence remained that of a 16-year old. She was unable to resolve conflict without either shunning people altogether, drinking or reacting violently. Not judging this woman, as she was otherwise a very loveable person.

I too found myself to be a young mother though I chose to be single for many years. I also chose to continue my education, studies, and social settings. I met and socialized with diverse people from many cultures as I spent most of my life in Los Angeles, CA.

I was not aware that I was building on my Emotional Intelligence, I didn't even know about the concept until a few years ago. Recently, I was in a study group and a whole week of study was devoted to the topic of Emotional Intelligence. We were instructed to take a quiz and I wasn't too surprised that I scored a high EQ.

Let me make this clear, I am not boasting. I have worked at an organization for the past 10 years that has invested a lot of money to develop our employees' EQ. So it has definitely paid off!

The Importance of EI for Mental and Physical Health

Mental Health:

Anxiety, depression, loneliness, and many compulsive behaviors are excellent examples of uncontrolled stress.

A person with fairly strong Emotional Intelligence is more than willing to work on their mental state. This person knows how to slow down their minds as well as expand them. A few good tools for strengthening and/or resting your mind are:

  • Reading fiction.
  • Studying philosophy and/or religion.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness - this includes the recent popular use of adult coloring books!
  • Puzzle games
  • Listening to music.
  • Watching a good movie or play.

Physical Health:

As with the mental results of uncontrolled stress, there are many physical distresses such as; digestive disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some even say cancer - though more inadvertently[2].

So while there is obvious need to care for our emotional state mentally, we must also focus on our physical bodies as well. You don't need to become an extreme athlete, however, unless you want to of course. Here are a few good physical options to help with your stress:

  • Walking (Mindfulness Walking is even better! [3])
  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Running or Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Dancing or Zumba
  • Martial Arts
  • House chores
  • Gardening

Quiz Results

How did you score on the quiz?

See results

The Importance of EI for Work and Personal Relationships

Work:

The truth is we spend most of our lives with our co-workers. A high EQ is vital in helping us cope with the various people we deal with on a daily basis. There are different cultures, sub-cultures, temperaments and personalities in every organization. Then there are water cooler conversations, groupthink and stories created.

If you have strengthened your Emotional Intelligence, you will identify each item and this will keep your stress level at low state. This will most likely create a domino effect with your peers. You will not only be seen as a valuable employer, but also a leader in your organization.

Personal Relationships:

I remember once having a difficult conversation with my husband early in our relationship. As I was speaking, he just rolled his eyes. I immediately stopped and calmly said, "When you roll your eyes while I am talking, it makes me feel that you have completely written me and what I have to say off and then I feel that I am wasting my time." He immediately made eye contact with me and replied that he was willing to hear me out.

So not only did I call him out, I also motivated him to change his behavior. This has been a wonderful learning point in our relationship and he has at times had to use the same reasoning with me about my body language.

When we understand our emotions and how to control them, we are able to communicate our feelings. In addition, we comprehend others' emotions. Communication becomes more solid, which in turn creates sustainable relationships. Who doesn't want strong relationships?

Photo by: KEVINSCHMITZ
Photo by: KEVINSCHMITZ | Source

Key Points to Consider

People who Possess a Solid Emotional Intelligence:

  • Perform better at work.
  • Have robust minds.
  • Are physically healthy.
  • Experience stable relationships.
  • Feel more fulfilled with their lives.

There are many resources to strengthen your EQ online or at several bookstores. Happy building!

References:

  1. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/emotional-intelligence-eq
  2. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet
  3. http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview

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    • livingelysian profile image
      Author

      Elysia Valdivia 20 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Brilliant! Thanks.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 20 months ago from Andalusia

      Good article. Interesting subject.

      I get confused between the terms EQ and EI.

      If IQ = Intelligence Quotient

      Then Emotional Intelligence is EI.

      and Emotional Intelligence Quotient EIQ surely.

      There are so many types of intelligences.

      Musical Intelligence

      Spacial Intelligence (being strategically aware of where you place yourself in a group environment)

      Manual Intelligence (dexterity)

      Verbal Intelligence (how articulate you are)

      Linguistic Intelligence (ppl who speak lots of languages)

      Listening Intelligence

      etc.

      I often speak of Physical Intelligence (PI)

      If there was a way to test PI, it would be PIQ

      Anyway, that's me being pedantic. Keep up the good work.

    • livingelysian profile image
      Author

      Elysia Valdivia 20 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Indeed Denise! Emotions are pretty darn fascinating!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 20 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is amazing what we can do when we understand where our emotions come from and how they work!