In recent times, the topic of emotional intelligence has become increasingly popular. Many people have invested in courses, training and therapy to achieve it. This is because it can, in fact, bring about positive changes in personal and professional life.
Therefore, it is worth knowing a little more about what it really is and how to develop it!
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s feelings, as well as the ability to deal with feelings and emotions in a healthy way.
Someone with good emotional intelligence knows how to use emotions to their advantage, without letting them control their life.
The first person to realize the importance of emotions for survival was Charles Darwin, the “father of evolution”, a biologist who described the process of natural selection that completely changed the way we view the evolution of species.
The concept, however, only emerged in 1966 from an article published by Hanskare Leuner and, since then, several psychologists have dedicated studies to the concept, such as Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. However, the term only became popular because of Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book , called “Emotional Intelligence”.
According to Goleman, the pillars of emotional intelligence are:
- Emotional self-knowledge: recognizing one’s emotions;
- Emotional self-regulation: dealing with emotions appropriately for the situation;
- Self- motivation: using emotions to serve personal goals and achievements;
- Recognition of other people’s emotions: recognizing what others are feeling and empathizing;
- Ability in interpersonal relationships: interact with people using social skills.
In short, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and use emotions to your advantage, without letting them interfere negatively in interpersonal relationships.
Because it is a skill set, emotional intelligence can be developed, even in individuals who do not have a very high emotional coefficient (a kind of emotional IQ).
It is important to remember that personality traits are very influential in this regard. One of the main traits that impairs emotional intelligence is neuroticism, characterized by a greater propensity for moodiness, anxiety , worry, frustration, among other symptoms seen as negative.
Issues such as temperament also affect mood and, consequently, emotional intelligence. Fortunately, neither personality traits nor temperament are really decisive – the human brain is plastic and, therefore, capable of learning a number of skills throughout life.
That is, even with all these factors influencing the way that a person processes and deals with his emotions, they are not decisive and the person is able to develop a higher emotional intelligence.
It is also linked to greater well-being, better interpersonal relationships and better conflict resolution skills.
Tips on how to develop emotional intelligence
Contrary to what some people may think, emotional intelligence can be learned and improved. Through activities, practices and self-understanding, it is possible to work on this point. Some tips on how to develop emotional intelligence are:
Investing in self-knowledge
Knowing yourself is the best way to understand how your emotions work.
It is not possible to talk about self-knowledge without talking about vulnerability. In order to know yourself, you have to be vulnerable, allow yourself to feel all the good and bad things, allow yourself to assume all your qualities and defects.
It can be a not very smooth process, but certainly very rewarding, because if you know yourself well, you know what are the situations that affect your emotions, and know how to set limits in those cases.
In the same way, you know how your emotions work and, with that, you can learn how to deal with them properly.
Write down your emotional state
A good way to understand your emotions, how they manifest themselves and when they arise, is to write them down.
You don’t need to make a very complex note. It is enough, when perceiving a specific emotion, to write down the emotion and what was happening at the moment it arose: your thoughts, what you were doing, what environment you were in, etc.
This helps to identify how emotions arise and, if necessary, it is possible to avoid situations that give rise to very negative emotions. Of course, it is not always possible to avoid – we cannot escape from our problems – but through this knowledge it is possible to reduce exposure to negative emotions without the need.
Learn new ways to express yourself
Often, negative emotions can arise, and they need to be expressed. Emotional “control” is not about not allowing this type of emotion to exist, but knowing how to deal with it so that it does not harm your life.
Some healthy ways to express emotions are through art, doing physical exercises, writing, listening to music, dancing, among others.
Expressing emotions, especially negative ones, is extremely important for emotional regulation, because repressing them in reality only results in the opposite: the more an emotion is repressed, the more intense it becomes.
Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in other people. Contrary to what may seem from logic, having a good ability to understand one’s emotions does not necessarily increase empathy.
It is necessary to learn to listen to the other, let him express himself, without judging or invalidating what he feels. That is, it is a skill that does not occur naturally and must be worked on.
One tip is, the next time a loved one comes out, try to just listen to them instead of thinking and offering solutions. While listening to what the person is saying, avoid thinking about what they are going to answer, or thinking that you understand exactly what they are going through just because they have been through something similar.
Remember, emotions manifest themselves in different ways in different people, so your emotional experience and that of the other person will always be different.
Sometimes, it is possible to have a lot of self-knowledge, but still not have the necessary skills to express yourself properly.
That is why, at one time or another, psychotherapy is necessary. If you feel that you cannot regulate your emotions, even when trying new ways to express yourself, it may be a good idea to contact a mental health professional .
This does not mean that you have a mental disorder, just that emotional regulation is a skill that needs to be worked on.
Why is it important to have emotional intelligence at work?
Emotional intelligence is extremely important for interpersonal relationships, and this has an impact on work as well.
Knowing how to receive constructive criticism, not being carried away by praise, being able to have skills to resolve conflicts when they arise are just some examples of moments when emotional intelligence is necessary in the professional environment.
The demonstration of positive emotions in the work environment is also related to greater cooperation in teams, as well as an increase in group performance. There is also a greater concern with what is fair, preventing any teammate from feeling helpless in the face of adverse situations.
The most important interpersonal skills in the workplace are communication, cooperation and the ability to form bonds.
Good emotional intelligence positively influences all of these skills, as it allows emotions to be used appropriately for contexts, avoiding the losses of bad emotions and maximizing the benefits of positive emotions.
Working on aspects of emotional intelligence and developing it can have very positive impacts on daily life, whether at work or in personal life. Therefore, more and more attention is being turned to her.
There are effective ways to develop this skill, and the Healthy Minute helps you with information for a more balanced life!