In today’s fast-moving world the amount of free time is decreasing. There is an extreme shortage of leisure activities in families and for individuals. Although people are becoming smart with time in terms of technology usage, mastering their smartphones, but ignoring the very fact of being emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence has to do with one’s ability to both recognise and control their own emotions while harnessing said emotions appropriately to have the most optimum reaction as situations dictate. It also has to do with one’s awareness of and sensitivity towards others’ emotions.
The pioneering definition of emotional intelligence was coined by John Mayer and Peter Salovey in the 90s. Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the collection of abilities used to identify, understand, control, and assess the emotions of the self and others.
Categories of emotional intelligence
Daniel Goleman was an American psychologist who helped to popularised emotional intelligence, with five distinct categories:
- Self-awareness. It is the ability to recognise and understand one’s own emotions and their impact on others. Basically, it is the first and foremost step toward introspective self-evaluation and enables one to identify behavioural and emotional aspects of our psychological makeup which we can then target for change.
- Self-regulation. This is the ability to manage one’s negative or disruptive emotions and to adapt to changes in circumstance. People who are skilled in self-regulation excel in managing conflict, adapt well to change, and are more likely to take responsibility.
- Motivation. It involves the ability to self-motivate, with a focus on achieving self-gratification instead of external praise or reward. Individuals who are able to motivate themselves have a tendency to be more committed and goal-focused.
- Empathy. This entails the ability to recognise and understand how others are feeling and consider those feelings before responding in social situations.
- Social skills. This is the ability to manage the emotions of others through emotional understanding and using this to build rapport and connect with people through skills such as active listening, verbal, and nonverbal communication.
The categories show how these above skills determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.
Benefits of emotional intelligence
Eventually, we can say that emotional intelligence or EI is the ability to recognise, understand, and handle your own emotions, and those of the people around you. Being emotionally intelligent is important for each and every person. Although, being emotionally intelligent is not confined to a specific age but undoubtedly it is quite helpful if one gains intelligence in understanding and managing their emotions as early as at any stage of the life cycle.
Proficiency in EI is becoming a vital prerequisite in prolonged or intense areas of ‘emotional work’ such as nursing, social work, the service industry, and management roles. High EI improves the physical and psychological health of people and encourages academic and business performance.
Emotional intelligence is an integral part of forming and developing meaningful human relationships. Researchers found significant links between high EI and more successful interpersonal relations. Participants who exhibited higher levels of EI also showed a greater propensity for empathic perspective-taking, cooperation with others, developing affectionate and more satisfying relationships as well as greater social skills in general.
The benefits of EI are immense. Developing emotional intelligence encourages many positive traits, from resilience to communication, motivation to stress management, all of which can be seen as conducive to effectively achieving personal, physical, and occupational health and success.
EI is a useful skill to understand and facilitate the feeling, emotions, and thoughts in oneself and also in others. It is beneficial in maintaining social relationships. It makes us resilient to negative situations in our lives and simultaneously prevents us from the negative impacts of stressors.
Parul Kalia is a PhD researcher at the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Punjab Agricultural University.