What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent and why is it important?
People with high emotional intelligence have a strong ability to identify, manage, and process their own emotions as well as the emotions of those around them.
Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware. They recognize the meaning of their emotions and are equipped to use them as a guideline for the way they approach and respond to situations.
So, why should you be emotionally intelligent? Emotional intelligence can make you a better student. When you are able to control your emotions under academic stressors, such as preparing for an exam or finishing a project, your response during these events produces a more positive outcome. In contrast, having little to no emotional control during these circumstances may cause an adverse response and lead to underperformance.
Developing your emotional intelligence also supplies you with the skills to make rational decisions now, and later in life. It will make you a better friend, family member, employee, and leader.
So now that you know what emotional intelligence is, and why it’s important, you may be wondering how you can become more emotionally intelligent.
Here's how you can start building your EQ.
- Demonstrate empathy. Be observant and view circumstances from other people’s perspectives. When you are aware of others’ emotions and have a strong understanding of how other people’s emotions affect them, you can communicate more effectively and form stronger relationships. Determine what makes people behave in certain ways, and as a result, you’ll improve your emotional intelligence and strengthen your communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
- Be self-aware. Understand what your own emotions are telling you. Your self-awareness will help you identify your strengths and weakness when you communicate. Try filling out a self-evaluation questionnaire that may be a helpful resource for developing your self-awareness and improving your communication with others.
- Reflect on past experiences. Can you think of a time where you responded to a situation irrationally? Maybe in the heat of the moment, your emotions caused you to react negatively? Look back on any of these past experiences and ask yourself how you could have avoided that reaction to produce a more positive outcome.
- Socialize. Talk to people. You are going to have a hard time doing anything of the things mentioned above if you do not develop social skills. Being social is the stepping stone for strengthening the way you communicate with others. It will provide the experiences necessary to look back and learn from. In turn, you’ll possess the qualities of a great leader, like being approachable and having the ability to work well as a team.
Building your emotional intelligence through self-awareness, empathy, reflection, and socialization will help you reach a high EQ. Next time you catch yourself in a stressful situation, you may just find yourself already responding differently!