Practicing Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

As humans, we are able to develop and use our emotional intelligence to problem solve, lead and have healthier relationships. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of “Emotional Intelligence” states it is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. 

Social scientists have studied emotional intelligence extensively in past decades, and in 1995, former NY Times author, Danial Goleman, wrote a book on this topic and brought the concepts into popular culture. In Goleman’s updated book he explains that Emotional Intelligence consists of competencies in five areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and sound decision-making. Self-awareness consists of awareness of one’s emotions. Self-management consists of emotional balance, adaptability, ability to achieve, and positivity. Social awareness includes empathy and organizational awareness. Relationship management includes the ability to influence, coach others, manage conflict, be a team player, and inspire others. The fifth component of sound decision-making occurs through use of a calm mind. 

Emotional Intelligence can be enhanced with practice. For example, practicing mindfulness techniques increases both self-awareness and emotional awareness, and as well, as assists us in our abilities to focus on more important points and not “sweat the small stuff”. We can learn to consciously feel our emotions and process prior to responding. When faced with challenging dilemmas and personalities, using our EQ along with our intellect and knowledge can often lead to more effective solutions. By pausing and taking the time to focus and reflect we can achieve more satisfying results.

Practice EQ

Pause - breathe/ground/provide space before responding in order to avoid reactivity

Reflect - use self-awareness of the emotions you are experiencing and why

Acknowledge - acknowledge the emotional components and the need for self-regulation

Clarify - be curious and make sure you have all the information before reacting

Think - as we think of possibilities, we find motivation to respond 

Insight - when we gain insight into our own feelings, we can better understand ourselves

Compassion - practice compassion for yourself and the other to formulate a healthier response

Explore - explore possible solutions; first with yourself, then with others

Solutions - find the best answer given everything

Shari R. Pearlman
Shari R. Pearlman joined LAPBC near the end of 2020.