The term “emotional intelligence” was first used in an article in 1990 by the psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer. Although this term is relatively new, the concept of emotional intelligence can be seen in the affirmation of Socrates (470-399 BC) “Know Yourself”. In the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, “Do to others as you would have them do” and “Love your neighbours as yourself” can be seen as elements of Emotional Intelligence.
According to statistical research, emotional competence is twice as important as technical or intellectual abilities. Developing emotional intelligence is understanding and managing emotions to create harmonious relationships with others.
Emotional Intelligence consists of 4 elements:
- Understanding your own emotions better
- Effective management of your own emotions and increase the quality of life
- Better understanding of others and create a high level of comfort
- Creating better relationships at all levels with others and increasing productivity and personal image
Effects of Low Emotional Intelligence
When we are incapable of controlling our impulses, when it is difficult to cope with frustrations, when we are aggressive, emotionally detached, inhibited, hypercritical, inexpressive, we start having a disharmony in the relationship with ourselves and with the ones around us; we become arrogant, scornful and snobbish, non-empathic, insensitive to the needs of others, which consequently leads to poor relationships, stress and depression.
How To Become Emotionally Intelligent
- Surround Yourself with Positive & Smart People
The people around you can greatly and unconsciously influence your existence and thinking, so it is very important to be very selective with the people you choose to be part of your life. Surround yourself with people who have a profound perspective on life, who actively choose to chase their dreams and who do not choose to be victims of their challenges. They will not only help you to give up on your unhealthy thinking habits, but they will always support you.
2. Listen More
“We have two ears and one mouth to listen more than we talk “- Diogenes. To communicate is not just about expressing your own ideas and emotions. It is also about listening to the emotions and stories of other people. Everyone carries problems or emotions that must be healed and giving them your time and attention is the best help.
This way you discover people, you will realise that there are issues bigger than yours and that people are more sensitive than they show.
3. Compliment People’s Qualities
It is easy to spot someone’s flaws, but it is harder to search for their qualities. Give up on being so analytical when it comes to other people’s behaviour, and see what they are good at. Compliment their success and accomplishments, their skills and positive behaviour. This why you find something to love in everyone while you help people become aware of qualities that they may have forgotten about.
4. Proactive, not Reactive
Being proactive means controlling a situation by acting and not waiting to react after it has taken place. Being proactive means to anticipate problems, changes and needs, preparing for what might follow.
In contrast, a reactive behavior is based on thinking always in crisis, looking for solutions after problems have already arisen. This type of people react to the situation after it happened instead of preventing it or searching for solutions. A reactive person is usually under constant stress. S/he spends a lot of time thinking of the crisis and is not an open person to change. Instead of taking control and doing things to change it, s/he just adjusts a situation or waits for the solution to come from somewhere else.
Thus, choose to be proactive and in charge of your life.
5. Remain Calm in Turbulent Times
Nobody can happily embrace a difficulty or issues, but we can choose how we overcome an obstacle. It is up to us whether we strengthen ourselves and develop strategies or if we dramatise the situation and become victims.
The key is to not react as soon as a problem appears. Give your mind some time to make order with your thoughts, let your spirit adapt and understand that there is a problem that must be dealt with and once you reached a neutral state, start looking for solutions.
6. Spend Time in Nature
The best way to calm yourself is to spend as much time as possible in open natural spaces.
Spending time outdoors helps lower cortisol levels, also called the stress hormone. Cortisol is also responsible for activating the instinct of fighting or fleeing, and nature helps us relax our minds & souls, disconnecting from the daily routine and ensuring an optimal cognitive functioning.
Whether you prefer hiking, camping or simply jogging in the park, make sure you do not let a week end without you spending me-time in the nature.
7. Accept Your Mistakes
We often blame others when the plan originally set does not come out as we hoped. We have the natural tendency to boast much easier for the positive results of our work, but when it comes to failure, we usually attribute it to the environmental factors: the system, the bank, the teacher, the school, the country, etc. Moreover, it is much easier to make a list of others’ mistakes than to recognize or deal with our mistakes.
We are not flawless, and accepting our mistakes can enable us to progress if we are ready to work on ourselves.
8. Be Thankful
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of the time, we are focused on the things we miss, on the things which we are not satisfied about, and forget to look at the beautiful and positive things.
When we can see what we have and we are grateful for all the wonderful things that surround us, we become more optimistic and happy.