Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence site

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Emotional intelligence involves the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use one’s own emotions and those of others. Its strong relationship with mental health lies in its capacity to mitigate the risk of mental health issues, enhance coping mechanisms, and foster positive interpersonal relationships.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions 1 Drigas, A. S., & Papoutsi, C. (2018). A New Layered Model on Emotional Intelligence. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)8(5), 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8050045 and empathize with others, facilitating effective interpersonal relationships. It encompasses a set of skills and competencies that enable individuals to navigate the complexities of interpersonal relationships, make sound decisions, and cope with the challenges of daily life.

Emotional Intelligence: Evolution Of A Theory

The conceptualization of emotional intelligence has evolved over time, with its roots traced back to early psychological theories. In the 20th century, psychologists like Edward Thorndike 2 Robinson, M. D., Asad, M. R., & Irvin, R. L. (2023). Emotional Intelligence as Evaluative Activity: Theory, Findings, and Future Directions. Journal of Intelligence11(6), 125. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060125 introduced the idea of “social intelligence,” emphasizing the importance of understanding and managing emotions in social contexts.

However, it was the work of psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer 3 Romanelli, F., Cain, J., & Smith, K. M. (2006). Emotional intelligence as a predictor of academic and/or professional success. American journal of pharmaceutical education70(3), 69. https://doi.org/10.5688/aj700369 in the 1990s that formalized the term “emotional intelligence” and proposed a model outlining its key components. The concept gained widespread popularity through the best-selling book by Daniel Goleman, further solidifying emotional intelligence as a vital aspect of human functioning.

Characteristics Of Emotional Intelligence

The common characteristics 4 Fiori, M., Agnoli, S., & Davis, S. K. (2023). Editorial: New trends in emotional intelligence: conceptualization, understanding, and assessment. Frontiers in psychology14, 1266076. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1266076 of emotional intelligence include:

  1. Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions.
  2. Self-regulation: Effectively managing and controlling one’s emotions in various situations.
  3. Motivation: Being driven by internal goals and staying resilient despite setbacks.
  4. Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others, demonstrating compassion.
  5. Social Skills: Building and maintaining positive relationships, effective communication.
  6. Adaptability: Being flexible and open to change, adapting to different circumstances.
  7. Emotional Self-control: Maintaining composure and responding thoughtfully in challenging situations.
  8. Conflict Resolution: Handling interpersonal conflicts with tact and understanding.
  9. Emotional Expression: Communicating emotions appropriately, both verbally and non-verbally.
  10. Positive Influence: Inspiring and motivating others in a positive manner.
  11. Decision-making: Making sound decisions by considering emotional and rational factors.

Read More About Self-control Here

Why Do We Need Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is essential in navigating the complexities of human interaction and fostering personal and professional success 5 Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Extremera, N. (2006). Emotional intelligence: a theoretical and empirical review of its first 15 years of history. Psicothema18 Suppl, 7–12. . It enables individuals to understand and manage their own emotions effectively, fostering self-awareness and self-regulation. Additionally, emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in building positive relationships, as it allows individuals to empathize with others, communicate more effectively, and navigate social dynamics with finesse.

In the workplace 6 Srivastava K. (2013). Emotional intelligence and organizational effectiveness. Industrial psychiatry journal22(2), 97–99. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.132912 , emotional intelligence is a key factor in leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution. Moreover, it contributes to mental well-being, helping individuals cope with occupational stress 7 Urquijo, I., Extremera, N., & Azanza, G. (2019). The Contribution of Emotional Intelligence to Career Success: Beyond Personality Traits. International journal of environmental research and public health16(23), 4809. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234809 , job burnout and rust-out, and professional adversity.

Read More About Burnout Here

Emotional Intelligence And Mental Health

The profound interplay 8 Sánchez-Núñez, M. T., García-Rubio, N., Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Latorre, J. M. (2020). Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in the Family: The Influence of Emotional Intelligence Perceived by Parents and Children. International journal of environmental research and public health17(17), 6255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176255 between emotional intelligence and mental health is evident in research linking heightened emotional intelligence to enhanced well-being. Individuals endowed with elevated emotional intelligence exhibit greater resilience when confronting adversity, showcasing effective coping mechanisms, and a diminished susceptibility to stress and anxiety.

Conversely, deficiencies in emotional intelligence correlate with challenges in emotional management, interpersonal conflicts, and an elevated vulnerability to mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety 9 Mortillaro, M., & Schlegel, K. (2023). Embracing the Emotion in Emotional Intelligence Measurement: Insights from Emotion Theory and Research. Journal of Intelligence11(11), 210. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11110210 . The significance of this connection between emotional intelligence and mental health extends to interventions and training programs focusing on nurturing mental health and well-being.

Read More About Anxiety Here

How Does Mental Illness Impact Emotional Intelligence?

Mental illness can significantly impact emotional intelligence by disrupting the fundamental processes 10 Khoshakhlagh, H., & Faramarzi, S. (2012). The relationship of emotional intelligence and mental disorders with internet addiction in internet users university students. Addiction & health4(3-4), 133–141. that govern self-awareness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal relationships. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders can distort an individual’s perception of emotions, making it challenging to recognize accurately and manage one’s own feelings. Additionally, mental illness may hinder effective communication and empathy 11 Barros, C., & Sacau-Fontenla, A. (2021). New Insights on the Mediating Role of Emotional Intelligence and Social Support on University Students’ Mental Health during COVID-19 Pandemic: Gender Matters. International journal of environmental research and public health18(24), 12935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412935 (key components of emotional intelligence) as individuals may grapple with distorted thought patterns or social withdrawal.

How To Measure Emotional Intelligence

Assessing Emotional Intelligence (E.Q) involves the evaluation of an individual’s ability to perceive, understand, manage, and utilize emotions effectively. Several assessment tools 12 Bru-Luna, L. M., Martí-Vilar, M., Merino-Soto, C., & Cervera-Santiago, J. L. (2021). Emotional Intelligence Measures: A Systematic Review. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)9(12), 1696. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9121696 have been developed to measure different facets of emotional intelligence. The measurement of emotional intelligence can take place in various settings, including educational institutions, workplaces, and clinical settings.

One widely recognized tool on how to measure emotional intelligence is the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal (EIA) 13 Srivastava K. (2013). Emotional intelligence and organizational effectiveness. Industrial psychiatry journal22(2), 97–99. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.132912 , based on the model developed by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Another commonly used instrument is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) 14 Fiori, M., Antonietti, J. P., Mikolajczak, M., Luminet, O., Hansenne, M., & Rossier, J. (2014). What is the Ability Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) good for? An evaluation using item response theory. PloS one9(6), e98827. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098827 , which evaluates emotional intelligence based on the four-branch model proposed by Mayer and Salovey.

Tips To Improve Emotional Intelligence Skills 

Boost emotional intelligence by regularly reflecting on your emotions 15 Gilar-Corbi, R., Pozo-Rico, T., Sánchez, B., & Castejón, J. L. (2019). Can emotional intelligence be improved? A randomized experimental study of a business-oriented EI training program for senior managers. PloS one14(10), e0224254. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224254 , actively listening to others, and improving communication skills. Incorporating mindfulness techniques can further enhance emotion regulation and overall emotional intelligence.

Takeaway

Emotional intelligence is a pivotal skill that fosters self-awareness, empathy, and effective interpersonal relationships. Its impact extends across various aspects of life, contributing to improved mental well-being, successful communication, and resilient coping in the face of challenges. Cultivating emotional intelligence proves essential for personal growth, positive interactions, and overall emotional flourishing.

At A Glance

  • Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions.
  • It plays a crucial role in mental health, interpersonal relationships, and personal development.
  • Its conceptualization evolved through the work of researchers like Salovey, Mayer, and popularized by Goleman.
  • Key characteristics include self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and communication.
  • Tools on how to measure emotional intelligence, like EIA and MSCEIT, assess emotional intelligence in various settings.
  • Tips for improvement include self-reflection, active listening, and mindfulness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the 4 types of emotional intelligence? 

The four types of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

2. What are the 3Cs of emotional intelligence? 

The 3Cs of emotional intelligence are communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution.

3. What is EQ vs IQ?

EQ or emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and those of others. Contrarily, IQ or intelligence quotient focuses on cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills. 

References:

  • 1
    Drigas, A. S., & Papoutsi, C. (2018). A New Layered Model on Emotional Intelligence. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)8(5), 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8050045
  • 2
    Robinson, M. D., Asad, M. R., & Irvin, R. L. (2023). Emotional Intelligence as Evaluative Activity: Theory, Findings, and Future Directions. Journal of Intelligence11(6), 125. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060125
  • 3
    Romanelli, F., Cain, J., & Smith, K. M. (2006). Emotional intelligence as a predictor of academic and/or professional success. American journal of pharmaceutical education70(3), 69. https://doi.org/10.5688/aj700369
  • 4
    Fiori, M., Agnoli, S., & Davis, S. K. (2023). Editorial: New trends in emotional intelligence: conceptualization, understanding, and assessment. Frontiers in psychology14, 1266076. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1266076
  • 5
    Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Extremera, N. (2006). Emotional intelligence: a theoretical and empirical review of its first 15 years of history. Psicothema18 Suppl, 7–12.
  • 6
    Srivastava K. (2013). Emotional intelligence and organizational effectiveness. Industrial psychiatry journal22(2), 97–99. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.132912
  • 7
    Urquijo, I., Extremera, N., & Azanza, G. (2019). The Contribution of Emotional Intelligence to Career Success: Beyond Personality Traits. International journal of environmental research and public health16(23), 4809. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234809
  • 8
    Sánchez-Núñez, M. T., García-Rubio, N., Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Latorre, J. M. (2020). Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in the Family: The Influence of Emotional Intelligence Perceived by Parents and Children. International journal of environmental research and public health17(17), 6255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176255
  • 9
    Mortillaro, M., & Schlegel, K. (2023). Embracing the Emotion in Emotional Intelligence Measurement: Insights from Emotion Theory and Research. Journal of Intelligence11(11), 210. https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11110210
  • 10
    Khoshakhlagh, H., & Faramarzi, S. (2012). The relationship of emotional intelligence and mental disorders with internet addiction in internet users university students. Addiction & health4(3-4), 133–141.
  • 11
    Barros, C., & Sacau-Fontenla, A. (2021). New Insights on the Mediating Role of Emotional Intelligence and Social Support on University Students’ Mental Health during COVID-19 Pandemic: Gender Matters. International journal of environmental research and public health18(24), 12935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412935
  • 12
    Bru-Luna, L. M., Martí-Vilar, M., Merino-Soto, C., & Cervera-Santiago, J. L. (2021). Emotional Intelligence Measures: A Systematic Review. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)9(12), 1696. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9121696
  • 13
    Srivastava K. (2013). Emotional intelligence and organizational effectiveness. Industrial psychiatry journal22(2), 97–99. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.132912
  • 14
    Fiori, M., Antonietti, J. P., Mikolajczak, M., Luminet, O., Hansenne, M., & Rossier, J. (2014). What is the Ability Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) good for? An evaluation using item response theory. PloS one9(6), e98827. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098827
  • 15
    Gilar-Corbi, R., Pozo-Rico, T., Sánchez, B., & Castejón, J. L. (2019). Can emotional intelligence be improved? A randomized experimental study of a business-oriented EI training program for senior managers. PloS one14(10), e0224254. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224254
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