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What is Emotional Intelligence?

The term emotional intelligence was created by researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. It was then made popular to the masses in the mid 90’s by a book called Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman. Many people believed that intelligence, or IQ, was what determined success. However, researchers were perplexed when studies found that people with average IQ’s outperformed those with a higher IQ 70% of the time. Finally, after decades of research, researchers found that emotional intelligence, referred to as EQ, was the missing link—the critical factor in determining a person’s long-term success.

Emotional intelligence has two major components:

1.Intrapersonal skills (personal competence)

2.Interpersonal skills (social competence)

Intrapersonal intelligence is your ability to be aware of your own moods, emotions, and motives and be able to manage or redirect them and your behaviors. This also requires your ability to be flexible, think before reacting, be open to change, and know how your emotions affect others.

On the other hand, interpersonal intelligence is comprised of your social awareness and ability to manage relationships. In other words, it i s your ability to understand others’ moods, behaviors, and motives to develop an understanding of what is at the core of an issue. It also refers to your ability to manage and influence others’ emotions and interact successfully by empathizing with people and being able to react and treat people according to their reaction. Interpersonal skills help people build rapport, find common ground, and connect with others. Keep in mind that 80% of communication is non-verbal, so our ability to read the subtle nuances of others’ actions gives us a better understanding of their thoughts and feelings.

Some people are born with a higher degree of EQ; however, anyone can learn the skills and develop higher emotional intelligence throughout their life. What allows us to learn and integrate emotional intelligence skills is brain plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adapt by growing new neural connections. In fact, you can lose half of your brain, and with training and treatment, the other half of your brain can rewire itself to re-establish most of the abilities that were lost.

However, rewiring your brain takes time and your ability to practice new skills repeatedly.

Developing your EQ requires communication between two parts of your brain: your limbic system, or emotional center, and your prefrontal cortex, or rational thinking center. It’s important to know EQ is like a muscle—the more you use the skill, the more it will develop. By developing your emotional awareness, you’ll develop your ability to control your own emotions as well as influence the emotions of others. This will lead to an improved ability to problem solve, think creatively, develop relationships, avoid stress and conflict, and best of all, enjoy life more.

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