Written by: Tabitha Opena

Albert Einstein had an IQ of 160. Isaac Newton had an IQ of 190. Leonardo Da Vinci had an IQ of 220.

The immense capacity of intelligence of the human mind has been measured and standardized over years of scientific testing and observation. Though a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) can be used as an indicator of the potential of an individual’s ability to reason and is often connected with how intelligent a person is perceived to be, what can be said of Emotional Intelligence (EI)? Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity may be correlated with his high IQ, but in the day-to-day life of cohesive business operations and office work, a higher EI may be essential to success.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to recognize, use, understand, and manage their emotions.

Studies have shown that individuals who display a high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills. The ability to not only understand your emotions, but also empathize and recognize the feelings of others without judgment, provides an opportunity for clear thinking, rational responses, and successful resolution. Individuals with high EI are often placed in leadership roles because they can remain calm and collected in stressful situations and may appear more approachableIn the setting of the typical business or office space, an individual with high EI would be able to complete tasks under stress in a timely manner, problem-solve effectively and efficiently, and maintain a positive work environment in which others can do the same.

There are many who believe that EI can be learned and strengthened, here are some suggested practices:

  • Practice mindfulness: Identity what you are really feeling. Be honest about how you feel.
  • Acknowledge, appreciate, and accept your emotions: Your emotions are not “wrong”. Approaching your feelings with an attitude of curiosity lets you interrupt your current emotional trajectory to solve whatever’s bothering you. When you’re open to your feelings, you’re better able to understand your own (and others) thinking and reasoning.
  • Develop confidence: You can successfully handle your negative feelings. If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. By thinking of previous successes, you’re able to navigate uncertain terrain with certainty. To prepare for facing your feelings in the future, rehearse how you’d like to handle difficult emotions. Use your previous successes as a resource for improving emotional intelligence.
  • Be aware of your body-mind connection: Staying aware of your mind-body connection helps you overcome stress and stay connected to others. If, after addressing your stress, you still need to release difficult emotions like anger, fear, or sadness, give yourself permission to take a break. As you develop emotional skillfulness, you’ll become better able to manage yourself and relate to others.
  • Practice mindfulness of others: Being attuned to your own feelings makes you more aware of other people’s emotions, which enhances your capacity for healthy relationships. Practice active listening, as listening involves acknowledging the other person’s opinion and seeking to understand it, rather than just responding with your own.
  • Assertive, not aggressiveAssertive communication means stating your opinion or emotions in a strong, confident way, while also respecting the opinions of others. Asserting yourself is part of learning how to improve emotional intelligence, since it requires communicating your perspective, wants, and needs directly while still respecting others.
  • Keep practicing!: In order to really master how to improve emotional intelligence, you need to get out there and practice. Set a new goal or milestone and track your progress. Get out of your comfort zone. Have more meaningful conversations with people in your life. Be more present.

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