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Emotional Intelligence matters, as much as Intelligence Quotient (IQ), when it finding fulfilment in life. IQ can help you get that coveted promotion, but your emotional intelligence determines your leadership qualities which include collaborating and managing teams.

In other words, without emotional intelligence, one is not complete. So, what is emotional intelligence and how does it affect our overall wellbeing?

Find out when you read this article.

What is emotional intelligence?

Mental Health America (MIA) defines emotional intelligence (EI), also known as emotional quotient (EQ), as the ability to manage both your own emotions and understand the emotions of people around you. Emotional intelligence helps you connect with your feelings, build stronger relationships with others, communicate effectively and achieve your goals.

There are five key attributes to EI and they include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

  • Self-awareness: This means you understand your emotions and how they affect your thoughts and actions. You also understand your strengths and weaknesses which can help you boost your self-confidence.
  • Self-regulation: This is when you can control impulsive feelings and behaviours and manage your emotions in healthy ways. You also take initiative, fulfil your obligations or commitments and can also adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Motivation: This means your drive to improve and achieve your goals. You have to be ready to act on any given opportunity, be consistent no matter the adversities and be optimistic that you will overcome.
  • Empathy: This means an awareness of the needs and feelings of others both individually and in groups. You can put yourself in other people’s shoes to understand things from their perspective. It is a particularly difficult emotional intelligence to achieve as it requires humility which many do not have. But when you can achieve it, you can acknowledge and respect their feelings and opinions even if you disagree.
  • Social skills: This has to do with building and maintaining relationships with others. It includes being easy to talk to, a good listener,  sharing and trustworthy. You are also more charismatic and attractive to others. Social skills make you stand out better than one who has only a great IQ. It makes you a great boss and teammate, qualities that you need to achieve your personal and career goals.

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Emotional intelligence importance

Being smart does not determine whether you are happy and successful. All around us, we see people whose IQs are off the charts. They are so academically brilliant that they seem ahead of their peers. They are often the hotcakes among important organisations who cannot wait to have them.

However, these same people often struggle with their social life or personal relationships. They rarely hang out with others and struggle with communication. They are often seen as weird geeks and sometimes, morons. With a high emotional intelligence, you are complete.

Here is why EI is important.

Better performance at school or work

Better performance at school or work
Photo credit: Unsplash

High emotional intelligence helps you navigate through the complexities of school or workplace. You will establish contacts and relationships that will help you rise through the ranks and achieve your set goals. There will be minimal awkward moments and you do not have to be scared to express yourself to get what you want. In other words, your high emotional intelligence boosts your self-confidence. This is why many companies now require candidates to undergo EQ tests before hiring.

Helps you manage your physical health

Helps you manage your physical health
Photo credit: Getty Images

If you struggle with managing your emotions, your physical health will be affected negatively. Health problems like stress can lead to even more serious problems like high blood pressure, low immune system, heart attacks and strokes, infertility and even speed up the ageing process. Emotional intelligence helps you manage stress.

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Improves your mental health

Improves your mental health

Mental health issues arise from uncontrolled stress and emotions. They make you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you cannot understand others, communicate or build relationships, your mental health will be seriously affected. This is why learning how to improve your score on emotional intelligence is important to help you work through any issues you may have and live a happier life.

Helps you connect with others

Helps you connect with others

You must have heard this saying: “No man is an island.” Building relationships is important for your overall well-being. You can only learn to connect with others when you can communicate effectively and have empathy for other people’s situations. These are key elements that make you attractive to others in school or at work.

Helps you develop social intelligence

Helps you develop social intelligence

It is not enough to know how to make friends. You should be able to tell friends from foe, measure another person’s interest in you, reduce stress and balance your nervous system through social communication. Also, you should be able to stay in tune with your emotions and social life to make yourself loved and happy.

Emotional intelligence test

The emotional intelligence test measures a  participant’s ability to perceive, use, understand and regulate emotions through a series of questions. There are numerous assessments you can find online and offline. The most common are self-report tests, which are easiest to answer and score. In this test, you can respond to questions or statements by rating your behaviour. For instance. a statement like “I sometimes find it hard to figure out how people around me are feeling” will provide you with an option to disagree, somewhat disagree, agree, or strongly agree. You can take this test here.

On the other hand, ability tests involve having people respond to situations and then assessing their skills. In this case, you have to demonstrate your abilities for a third party to rate. The most common ability test is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). The test was constructed by academics John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey and David R. Caruso at Yale and the University of New Hampshire, in cooperation with Multi-Health Systems Inc. The test measures the four branches of Mayer and Salovey’s EI model where you are expected to perform tasks designed to assess your ability to perceive, identify, understand and manage emotions.

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