The Perks of Being Emotionally Intelligent

Intelligence Quotient’s (IQ) have been around for 115 years, yet it wasn’t until this past decade that the spotlight shifted away from IQ and toward a more thought-provoking concept: Emotional Intelligence (EQ). IQ tests aim to measure how effectively you think and perceive or how well your frontal cortices are doing their job. EQ on the other hand assesses both personal and social competencies such as self-awareness and social awareness. Although IQ and EQ are both classifications of acumen necessary for interpreting the world around us, emotional intelligence is unequivocally vital to personal and interpersonal success, especially for a college student who’s finding their way through life. 

Emotional Intelligence refers to one’s ability to effectively govern both reason and emotion. It may sound like a simple process; however, being the subconsciously-driven beings that we are, it can be surprisingly difficult to be conscious of ourselves and evaluate our actions. Research suggests that the average person has approximately 50,000 thoughts per day and around 400 emotional experiences. As a college student, your IQ only attends to a fraction of those thoughts and emotions (hence the reason why every decision you make may not be the most rational). Emotions are powerful forces present in our daily lives, which is why anyone would benefit from emotional intelligence to be better problem-solvers, listeners, partners, and roommates. 

How can you become more emotionally intelligent? 

Self-awareness is the first step in adapting a new and improved, emotionally intelligent you. In terms of EQ, self-awareness refers to being able to accurately perceive your emotions and overall tendencies in any given situation. Do you repress uncomfortable emotions like sadness and jealousy? Or perhaps you have a hard time handling stress during finals week. These are all scenarios where a little self-awareness would be an effective tool to help you understand where your emotions come from, and why they are unique to you and no one else. 

It’s a lot easier to be socially aware and navigate other’s emotions when you are first aware of your own

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The second half of self-awareness is self-management. Self-management revolves around knowing when or when not to act. It’s the difference between remaining calm, cool, and collected and exploding with emotion when a person or circumstance really gets on your nerves. One of the simplest if not the simplest way to practice self-management is by taking deep breaths to slow down your heart rate. This also gives you time to identify your emotion(s) and plan accordingly. 

All of the competencies that embody emotional intelligence are building blocks of one another. So it’s a lot easier to be socially aware and navigate other’s emotions when you are first aware of your own. Social awareness is a fancy way of saying you understand the people around you and the kind of relationship you have with them. Because all of us are half of any relationship we are in, we will always have half the responsibility of managing that relationship. For some, this could be a hard pill to swallow, indicating that you may want to re-evaluate some relationships and ask yourself if they are worth putting time and effort into. 

Altogether, the more emotional intelligence we acquire, the easier it is to "read" people and extend grace toward them, thus making our lives a little easier.