What are the ingredients of life success?  Possibly, is there another standard of excellence other than IQ or intellectual intelligence?  Can emotion be considered another form of intelligence?  Can it be regulated, or made to work for the individual in positive ways?  Current research suggests that emotional intelligence or EQ is at least as important as IQ and that EQ can be learned and developed.

What Exactly is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to recognize one’s emotions and to understand how these emotions affect others.  It is the ability to empathize with others in order to achieve goals that aid in forming successful relationships.

The first concept of “emotional intelligence” was developed by John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990.  In 1995 Daniel Goleman published a book titled, Emotional Intelligence, which explored how the brain regulates emotions.  This growing field of affective neuroscience and the concept of emotional intelligence, EQ, has spread internationally.  Educators are using EQ to teach students the skills to master personal emotions which are necessary for successful living.  EQ can be successfully used in businesses as well, giving one the tools and skills necessary for a happy and successful career.

Your EQ is Brain Driven

Neuroplasticity plays a key role in understanding how emotional intelligence is controlled by the brain. The goal is to develop the brain’s neural circuitry, particularly in the executive functions of the prefrontal cortex which manages working memory.  Memory is what the brain holds as one learns and what inhibits disruptive emotional impulses.  This suggests that neuroplasticity plays a key role in the shaping of the brain through repeated experience.

SEL, or social and emotional learning, is taught to students at a young age, giving them the ability to recognize their own emotions.  In the later years, lessons in empathy are taught to aid in conflict resolution and to motivate the best performance in others.  Emotional intelligence helps us empathize with those who are anxious, depressed, angry and happy. Focus is also on the avoidance of stress by turning instead to the development of good negotiation skills.  In business, EQ is used worldwide in areas of leadership and employee development in order to achieve business goals successfully.

Qualities of High EQ

Who has it and who doesn’t?  In general, there are qualities that people with a high EQ share:

  • Ability to reduce one’s stress because of honest assessment of one’s own abilities
  • Accepting change as a part of life
  • Having empathy and respect for others
  • Self-motivation, goal oriented
  • Having a positive attitude

How Can You Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?

Fortunately for those with a low emotional intelligence, EQ can be learned and developed with certain techniques:

  • Improving the ability to make correct decisions by self-observation
  • Putting the focus on others
  • Self-evaluation to improve weaknesses
  • Keeping emotions under control in stressful situations
  • Taking responsibility to make things right
  • Ability to manage relationships

Discover Your Emotional Intelligence

Want Help Developing Your Emotional Intelligence?

If you feel that you would like to improve your emotional intelligence, you may find that working with a psychologist or counselor can help you develop these attributes. Although many people think that therapy is for those with a mental illness, it can also be a place to foster personal growth.

EQ can be a key to success in life.  By understanding these key elements, not only students but adults can share in their own personal emotional development.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.