Emotional Intelligence, Activities and Your Future
We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us – how we can take it, what we do with it – and that is what really counts in the end.” – Joseph Fort Newton
Emotional Intelligence is a term that most people have never heard of before…
Throughout the course of our daily lives, we, as humans, can experience an array of emotions ranging from mild to intense.
Depending on our family and the culture in which we were raised, we were taught how to manage or even avoid these feelings. No one ever introduced emotional intelligence activities to us.
In some cases, many of us were told that emotions show weakness, therefore, making it imperative that we hide and ignore them.
Whereas in other cases we were told that the display of some emotions would make us seem “tough” or “strong” but unless we had particularly enlightened parents or mentors, many of us struggled and may continue to struggle with our emotions.
One way that we can start to understand our own emotions and the emotions of others better is by practicing emotional intelligence or EQ. This article will explain what emotional intelligence is, four competencies of emotional intelligence, and also emotional intelligence activities so you can increase your abilities.
- What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
- The Definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Four Competencies of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Benefits of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Emotional Intelligence Activities
- The Future of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Self-Assessment Test (FREE Download)
What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.” — David Caruso
What does emotional intelligence really mean?
If we dissect the phrase we have to look at the implications of the words “emotional” and “intelligence”
If we think about the current societal connotation of “emotion” or the word “emotional.” Does it bring up positive and healthy connotations?
Presently, being emotional across most cultures is something that shows weakness, and we are taught that emotions are things you need to suppress.
For men, they’re told not to show their emotions.
For women, they’re told that they aren’t rational enough because their emotions take over their ability to think logically.
“Intelligence” also carries with it a certain meaning in today's society usually being related to a professional or academic with serious depth and breadth of knowledge pertaining to a certain field.
But in terms of today’s society, there are a limited few who know how to interpret, manage, and harness their emotions to help them lead better lives.
As we can see, the entire phrase then carries with it a lot of baggage from our culture and societies, but in an effort to strip away these pre-established associations we should try to start redefining the term and start making it an acceptable norm to be open about and analyze one’s emotions.
It is essential to not hide or bury the emotions that we feel but to seek, analyze and understand why those emotions are present.
The Definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
There are many different perspectives on emotional intelligence, and here’s a great definition that summarizes all of them:
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively identify, analyze, and manage the emotions of yourself and others.
Emotional Intelligence is an area of intelligence that has been sorely overlooked. Just now, people are realizing the benefits of emotional intelligence. From self-management skills to emotional intelligence and relationship management.
Emotional intelligence isn’t only about feelings, it also has also been linked to higher salaries and earning potential. That is because people with better emotional abilities, self-management skills, and interpersonal insights were able to successfully navigate the social world of organizations.
Four Competencies of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Daniel Goleman, is an author and journalist who has written many books on the subject of emotional intelligence, describes that in order to fully understand the concept of emotional intelligence it can be broken down into four competencies of emotional intelligence.
1. Self-management: This is a person’s capability to control his or her emotions. This can incorporate ideas of adaptability, optimism, transparency, and achievement.
2. Self-awareness: This relates to how a person then evaluates and analyzes their own emotions. To enable self-awareness we should consider developing time in our schedules to enable proper and sufficient self-reflection.
3. Relationship management: How people interact with others by acting as a catalyst to help others develop and understand one another better (This also includes how one handles conflict).
4. Social awareness: This encompasses a social consciousness as it relates to being empathetic as well as focusing on how you can be of service to others.
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” — Kahlil Gibran
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
The benefits of emotional intelligence are innumerable. It helps us develop an understanding of the motives or feelings that hide behind and fuel a certain emotion (in ourselves and others).
For that reason, emotional intelligence activities are if we want to find success in our ever-changing and globalizing world.
For example, we may see someone being judgemental and angry but it is only through analysis and empathy we can begin to develop an understanding that maybe that person is acting out loneliness, or that someone’s seemingly upbeat mood is covering an intense melancholy.
In these ways you can see that it is important to not always take ours or others’ emotions at face value, it is only through empathy and analysis that we can begin to dissect and understand the true feelings and reasons that hide behind emotions.
This then becomes a crucial skill when thinking about our everyday relationships; with a romantic partner to friends, family, and coworkers. The ability to control and understand not only our own emotions, but also knowing that someone’s actions have a deeper and maybe unexplored meaning.
With the knowledge then we could extrapolate that the best way to understand another human being is to facilitate open communication where both parties can be open about their emotions and help in the analysis of those emotions.
Other signs of high emotional intelligence include being authentic and giving praise to others.
This is not an innate or inborn talent. Emotional maturity and intelligence requires patience and constant practice.
Just like any muscle, it has to be exercised if you want it to grow.
Emotional Intelligence Activities
Now that you know the benefits of emotional intelligence, you probably want to know how you can improve it.
Of course, as a member of Aristotle’s Cafe, we know that taking the time to have discussions can lead to greater self-awareness, which also leads to increased emotional intelligence.
But, there are many other techniques and strategies out there that work as well. So, when we think about emotional intelligence activities, it all starts with awareness.
Awareness and Empathy
Like any skill we want to incorporate in our lives we first need to become aware of and want a change. Then through this awareness, we can begin to look at ourselves and others with empathy for our emotions instead of judgment.
It is only through the analysis of our emotions that we can understand why we had a certain reaction.
The first step is to remain calm and to not take your initial emotional reaction at face value. Treat your first impulse with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Then, some psychologists suggest putting some distance between you and your emotions. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on what works best for a certain individual. This can be:
- Journaling (The book “Opening Up by Writing it Down” is a great book to learn expressive writing)
- Sports or exercise
- Talking it out with friends, family, or even strangers
Through these different techniques, we gain a distance from the immediacy of our first emotional impulse and we can look back on it with a sort of objectivity.
After removing ourselves from the immediacy and urgency of some emotions like anger or frustration (to name only a few) we then need to set ourselves up for moments of reflection.
Reflection can be done alone or with others if there is open communication on the subject and then some questions need to ask of yourself.
- Why am I feeling this way?
- Is there more than one reason? what else could it be?
- Is there another way that I could express my needs/emotions?
- Is there something that happened in my past that causes my initial reaction?
These are just a few questions but the more you invest in introspection, the more questions will start to emerge.
If you find yourself running short of questions, you can get some inspiration from our 150+ Icebreaker Questions for Amazing Group Discussion.
The goal is not to have immediate answers for all of the questions, but to begin a dialogue (even if it is internal) that allows you to begin a process of analysis and therefore your steps along the road of emotional intelligence.
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” — Robert Frost
Management and vulnerability
After we identify the why behind our emotions we can think about how we can manage these feelings. This can be achieved by knowing when and in what type of situation these emotions can be expressed or if communication with someone in your life needs to happen. This is where you need to be accepting of your own vulnerability.
Vulnerability is often erroneously confused with emotional weakness but once you develop enough emotional intelligence to know that there is nothing inherently wrong with your emotions, you can effectively face, analyze and communicate them with minimal fear. Closeness and openness inevitably leaves us vulnerable, but it is only through embracing these feelings that we can reach new levels of love and understanding in our relationships.
The Future of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Self-Management, Relationship Management for You
“Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance.” — Deepak Chopra
How do we ensure for a future in which the next generation is more emotionally intelligent?
As parents and educators, we could try to start discussions on the subject of emotional intelligence with children at a young age so that they can develop the skills earlier in their lives to where it becomes a lifelong competence.
Only by teaching children how to effectively communicate their thoughts and emotions in discussions and how to understand their own feelings can we begin to ensure that the next generation will have more fulfilling relationships and lives.
Your FREE Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Self-Assessment Test
In order to get better at anything, it’s good to have an understanding of the level that you are currently at and where you want to go.
There are many great emotional intelligence assessments, but this one is quick, accurate, and you can come back to it ever few months to recheck your score.
Click below to download the free emotional intelligence self-assessment test:
Did I miss something?
If you want to add some of your favorite emotional intelligence activities or insights on the topic, please comment below so that we can build an even better resource for anyone looking to improve their skills.