What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it important?
Not happy with your work? Not satisfied in your relationships? There are so many things we struggle with in our professional life, in our love life or friendships and a lot of our issues could be prevented if we simply knew more about our psychology. From self-awareness through empathy to communication skills. That’s what emotional intelligence is all about.
Why do we need emotions?
You see, without emotions connections between people would not be possible. Emotions are the very essence of what makes us human. Keep this in mind the next time you’re feeling sad or angry. Each emotion is an opportunity for connection. Either with other people or yourself.
What is the difference between low EQ and high EQ?
So what’s the difference between people with a high and low emotional intelligence? Let’s use an example of a break-up. When we go through a breakup with someone, we might experience emotions like: sadness, anger and disappointment. Now let’s take a look at how low EQ vs. high EQ person would deal with this.
Julie has been with her boyfriend for 6 months before the relationship came to an end. She doesn’t really recognize her emotions and becomes blinded by the feeling of rejection. This leads her to call her ex ten times per day, angrily swear one minute and cry in despair the next. She also starts to engage in self-destructive behavior like smoking and drinking. Anything to numb the pain. Anything to make herself feel good again.
In the other side we have Ana. She went through a similar situation when her relationship ended after 7 months. She is dealing with the same emotional mess but the way she manages her emotions and the expression of those emotions is different. She realizes that sadness is a part of the breakup process and gives herself time to mourn the relationship. Every time she begins to feel intense feelings of anger, she asks herself – how can I use this to my advantage?
Which post-breakup situation sounds better to you? I suppose I don’t have to tell you at this point that Ana was the more emotionally intelligent example.
Especially, when it comes to romantic rejection emotional intelligence is very, very important. Getting rejected can make us question our worth as a human beings. Our “good enoughness”. Yes, we are going to invent new words in this course.
High EQ individuals are more optimistic and even have better relationships. Because of this they not only receive even more social support, they are also more satisfied with the support they receive.
The best part about EQ? It can be developed! The ability to manage your emotions will lead to increased wellbeing and self-confidence. In other words, your life gets better. First thing to realize, emotions matter. What you’re feeling is a gift. Emotions are valuable.
Emotions can influence our physical health
But their power goes far beyond our mind responding to the environment. They also influence our physical health. Burn out is a great example of how the external environment can influence your physical health. You surely know this yourself. When you feel sad, you have less energy. When you feel scared, your body feels stressed. When you feel happy, your physical state seems to be reflecting whatever you’re feeling inside.
And IF we’re asking ourselves the question whether emotions influence our health, the answer is a definite YES.
For example, it’s been found that suppression of the emotion of sadness and inhibition of crying is connected with respiratory disorders such as asthma. While chronic inhibition of anger was found to be linked with cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension. Expressing emotions was found to be beneficial for the physical health in numerous studies. Emotional disclosure can even help you to boost your immune system.
The most important thing is that the emotion gets expressed somehow. If you feel like you can’t talk to any about what’s weighing you down, journaling is the perfect way to emotionally cleanse your mind, while receiving the benefits of emotion expression. Writing or sketching across the blank pages is a great way of acknowledging your state of mind and working with expressing your emotions in a constructive way.
It’s better to write “I am angry” than smashing a plate against the wall, don’t you think?
Emotional Intelligence Matters
Emotional intelligence has also been found to be linked with wellbeing, life satisfaction and happiness. Emotionally intelligent individuals report lower levels of stress or feelings of loneliness. In addition, they are less likely to engage themselves in health compromising or damaging behavior such as smoking or drinking alcohol like we already mentioned.
Emotional intelligence therefore not only improves your health because it allows you to constructively deal with your emotions but also because it decreases the chances that you will engage in activities that could damage your health even more.
Bea is a writer, speaker, YouTuber and believer in the power emotional intelligence. With a background in psychology and business, Bea seeks to bring insights about psychology and emotional intelligence to the millennial generation in an entertaining way.