Emotional intelligence impacts how you feel, what you think and how you behave. It determines how you relate to others – at home, at school, on teams or in clubs, at work, etc.
If you have high emotional intelligence you will be able to recognize your own emotional state as well as the emotional states of others – and you can relate to people effectively. People are naturally attracted to people with high emotional intelligence.
What Emotional Intelligence Looks Like – Me and Others
Some people seem to come by emotional intelligence naturally, but most of us have to work to develop it. It’s like learning a sport or new language – there are some skills to develop and practice is the path to success. There are several models of emotional intelligence. This is the most basic
- You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behaviors
- You know your strengths and weaknesses
- You have confidence in your ability to be aware
- You have the ability to control impulsive feelings vs. being controlled by them
- You make choices about your behaviors – managing, not just reacting
- You can adapt quickly when circumstances change around you, surprises happen or major threats appear
- You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns or interests of others
- You recognize others’ emotional cues and can respond appropriately
- You can recognize the emotional and behavioral dynamics in groups
Emotional Intelligence Affects Almost Everything
Your life at school & your performance at work.
Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of school, lead and motivate others, and excel in your school life.
This will also be the case in the work world you will inhabit. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability.
Your physical health.
If your emotions are managing you, it is likely that your stress levels will be unhealthy. Stress is damaging when it is either too high in a particular situation or it is ongoing with little or no relief. Unhealthy stress can wear you out and it can lead to destructive reactive behaviors. Under too much stress people sometimes just react to try to interrupt it and those behaviors can have serious consequences.
Your mental health.
The inability to manage your emotions can also impact your mental health. Depression, and anxiety are the most common consequences. Mood swings and chronic anger are also common. Developing emotional intelligence doesn’t mean you won’t feel depressed, anxious, scared, frustrated or angry, but it does mean that you will be better able to manage those emotions vs. being managed by them.
Emotional intelligence also helps you stay calm under pressure and recover from setbacks – not feeling panic in a crisis and having a sense of resilience vs. brooding for too long.
By understanding your emotions and being able to manage them, you will be better able to express your feelings (positive and negative) and be open to understanding and responding to others’ emotions.
This not only provides a solid foundation and path for developing relationships, but it also gets rid of a lot of the pitfalls that can undermine relationships when people are just reacting or being managed by their emotions. This is true at home, at school, at work or in other activities.
“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.”