What is Emotional Intelligence?

Here I'm going to explain what is Emotional Intelligence, where it came from, and help guide you on how to build your Emotional Intelligence.

Daniel Goleman was the one to have popularised the term Emotional Intelligence in 1995 with his book Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ.  And there have been plenty of others since then to highlight its importance.  However, it actually dates back to the 1960s, to a psychiatrist named Leuner, who said that women rejected their responsibilities because of their 'low Emotional Intelligence' - and then he prescribed them LSD would you believe!

What is Emotional Intelligence exactly?

There are endless discussions on what is Emotional Intelligence.  It is, quite simply, about being intelligent about our emotions.

It's commonly broken down like this:-

Self Awareness

Self Management

Social Awareness

Relationship Management

Recognising and monitoring our emotions

Controlling our emotions and behaviour

Being aware of others' emotions

Developing and maintaining great relationships.

When you think about it, almost everything we do involves communicating.  At work, at home, going shopping, in social situations, parenting children, the list goes on.............

Its the way we feel that determines the tone of our words and our body language, which significantly impacts our message to another, and our feelings are derived from - our emotions! 

Add stress to the equation (read more on that here) and it can be a time bomb just waiting to go off, tick tock, tick tock. 

How many times have we had a disagreement with our spouse, kids, friends, co-workers and said something we later regretted?  That's when we aren't in control of our emotions.

"People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel" - famous poet and author Maya Angelou (r.i.p.)

So how can we develop our Emotional Intelligence?

We can CHOOSE to develop our Emotional Intelligence, and there's no better place to start than by first becoming more self aware - by recognising and monitoring our own emotions.  The more we do this, the more the rest falls into place.  You see, if we are recognising and monitoring our own emotions, then we are better controlling them, which frees us up to be more acutely aware of others' emotions, which in turn creates better relationships!

As children, many of us were told to stop asking too many questions, so we stopped asking why.  I say 'bring it back!'

Be Your Own Scientist.  How?  Recognise what feels good - the positive emotions, and what feels bad - the negative emotions.  These positive thinking techniques will help tremendously. 

To find out more on the subject of Emotional Intelligence, have a read of Emotional Intelligence - Why it matters, the Purpose of Emotions, (how stress affects our emotions), (how Emotional Intelligence can build self esteem!)