Emotional Intelligence is defined as; the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically, also known as “EQ”. Emotions are part of human biology, they are chemicals that help regulate our minds and bodies, assisting us to cope with complexities of making decisions, interacting with people, and finding our way through life.
At the heart of the concept of emotional intelligence is the belief that emotions originate in primitive parts of the brain. Because of this, even though emotions can cause instinct-based changes in behavior, the newer parts of the human brain (in evolutionary terms) and the higher functions such as reasoning and decision making that came with them, can override those changes. This also leads to the idea that because it involves higher functions such as recognition, reason, and decision-making, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned and developed. We feel emotions to help us pay attention, and to focus our attention. While sometimes they’re confusing, emotions are part of us, so we might as well learn to use them well.
Daniel Goleman who wrote an International bestseller entitled “Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” states, “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
More and more scientists believe (EQ), not (IQ), is the most important factor in determining a person’s success. Peter Salovey, an American social psychologist and current President of Yale University says, “I think in the coming decade we will see well-conducted research demonstrating that emotional skills and competencies predict positive outcomes at home with one’s family, in school, and at work. The real challenge is to show that emotional intelligence matters over-and-above psychological constructs that have been measured for decades like personality and IQ. I believe that emotional intelligence holds this promise.”
In simple terms, “EQ” just means being smarter with feelings. It’s about putting together the rational and emotional so you can move forward effectively. In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people both positively and negatively, and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.
“Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.” In this quote, Aristotle perfectly sums up a concept that has become a hot topic in psychology, education, and business – emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence involves four major skills:
- The ability to perceive emotions
- The ability to reason with emotions
- The ability to understand emotions
- The ability to manage emotions
Our emotions serve a wide variety of purposes. Emotions can be fleeting, persistent, powerful, complex, and even life-changing. They can motivate us to act in particular ways and give us the tools and resources we need to interact meaningfully in our social worlds. Dealing with emotions certainly has important implications for social relationships, but emotions also contribute to other aspects of life. Each of us has a need to set priorities, orient positively toward future endeavors and repair negative moods before they spiral into anxiety and depression.
Marilynn Jorgensen is quoted as saying, “EQ is an “inside job” that begins with the foundation of enhanced self-awareness into your unique patterns of behavior that then fuels your choices with the goal of supporting your values and purpose in living. Turn inward, be curious about who you really are, and then show up to support the change you wish to be in the world. This self-study can encourage and support your tools of choice and then allow you to reach your potential in giving your best self!”
One of the most powerful ways to put emotional intelligence into action is to learn the difference between thoughts, feelings, and actions — and how these three interact and affect us. They’re all important, but they are different. Dawn Karner states, “Be an observer of yourself. Pay attention to what you feel and how those feelings contribute, distract, enhance, or challenge you. Awareness is the first step.”
Before I tell you the secret to raising your emotional intelligence levels, it is important to gauge your current EQ:
- Do you keep your cool and stay calm in stressful situations?
- Are you caring, compassionate, and considerate?
- Do you make great decisions?
- Are you a good listener?
- Is your intuition well developed?
- Are you flexible and adaptable in most situations?
- Can you read the emotions of other people easily?
- Can you positively influence people?
- Do you rarely give in to your urges?
- Are you generally optimistic and happy?
Answer “no” to many of the questions? It’s ok if you did, as most people do not have high levels of emotional intelligence – The good news is, your EQ is not set in stone!
So what is the secret to increasing your emotional intelligence?
There are so many ways meditation can increase your EQ, here are three:
Meditation helps you become aware of and detach from negative thoughts.
One thing a meditator learns is to simply witness and observe their own thoughts, without letting them create a whirlpool of anxiety. For example, the memory of a troubled past relationship might enter your consciousness, but instead of letting it take you on an emotional rollercoaster, you simply let the thought go, while staying in the present moment. This mindset helps you stay calm and balanced, and is integral to a high EQ.
Meditation helps you read the emotions of other people.
As meditation helps to increase self understanding, your awareness of other people’s vibes, energy, facial expressions, and body language becomes much more tuned. There are a few highly successful poker players (who often have advanced emotional intelligence) who attribute their success to meditation.
Meditation melts away layered anxiety, depression, dysfunctional thought patterns, and years of piled up emotional baggage.
When interacting with people, it is important to stay clear headed, never responding in a knee jerk or otherwise regrettable manner. Once meditation renews your thought processes, you will have super-high levels of self discipline, an overall broader perspective, an immunity to stress, higher reasoning skills, and well-tuned problem solving capabilities. The result? Super EQ.
I think Dr Deepak Chopra hits the nail on the head stating, “Emotional Intelligence grows through perception. Look around at your present situation and observe it through the level of feeling.”
And I’m going to suggest that you take your feelings into meditation!
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“There is a constant and dynamic interplay between our inner and outer worlds – a cause-and-effect relationship that ripples through every fiber of our being.” – Davidji
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