"If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you aren't going to get very far." - Dr. Daniel Goleman
Emotional intelligence compresses 85% - 90% of success rate at dealing with your emotions, academics and work. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a threshold competence, it can get you inside the gates but can't make you successful. Emotional quotient (EQ) can. This blog will cover essential theories of EQ along with the characteristics, benefits and exercises to improve emotional intelligence in students.
Improving Emotional Intelligence in Students
What is Emotional Intelligence?
It is known as the ability to perceive, control and evaluate your own emotions in positive ways for relieving stress, communicating effectively, empathizing with others, overcoming challenges and resolving conflicts. These skills are the underlying feature of all the skills deemed imperative by the employers in this so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. Qualities like, critical thinking, problem solving, coordination and conflict resolving are nourished by an individual’s emotional stability.
Dr. Daniel Goleman, a renowned clinical psychologist describes emotional intelligence as a person's ability to manage his feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively. It is the area of cognitive ability that facilitates interpersonal behavior. This theory outlines five components of EQ:
Self-awareness Self awareness means you are aware of the emotions you are feeling, the impact your actions have on others. A self aware person has complete knowledge of his/her weaknesses and strengths. Things you can do to improve it:
Keeping Journal- Taking out time to write down your thoughts and feelings help you enhance your connection with your emotions.
Slow Down- Sometimes when you feel a rush of emotions like anger or frustration, rather than acting on it; try to slow down, take a step back and think. You may not have control on how you feel but you do have control on how to react in a situation.
Self-regulation The ability to regulate your reactions after recognizing your emotions. Having a healthy self regulation helps you in expressing your emotions appropriately. Methods to enhance your self regulation:
Own your mistakes- Start by holding yourself accountable for your mistakes, rather than blaming others. Begin admitting your mistakes and face its consequences.
Self talk- Give yourself a pep talk, when under extreme pressure or feeling strong emotions, before reacting.
Motivation It is our inner drive to improve and achieve, readiness to act upon opportunities, commitment to our goals, optimism and resilience. We can increase self-motivation by:
Optimism- There are two types of people in the world, ‘Winners’ and ‘Learners’. So rather than getting pessimistic about your loss, start being optimistic about the things that you got to learn. Try finding the best in a situation.
I Can- Start practising the ‘I can’, whenever you feel down or demotivated. Speak it out loud ‘I Can ……..’. Speaking and hearing these sentences will motivate you to be more productive.
Empathy Empathy is understanding someone else’s situation by putting yourself in their shoes. Comprehending the other person’s problems from their perspective is the main idea of being empathetic. Ways to improve empathy:
Observe Body language- Notice people’s gestures, body movements and expressions. If they are squirming, sweating, fidgeting, wringing their hands, you can conclude that they are probably nervous.
Acknowledge Feelings- You surprise your friend with two tickets to your favourite team’s football match, she/he agrees to come but you hear a little disappointment in their voice. Then you realise they aren't a big football enthusiast but have agreed to accompany you as you are very excited. Make it up to them with some of their favourite activities after the match or plan something they are keen about the next time you hangout.
Social-skills Social skills are a set of emotional skills to adequately connect, interact and work with others. This helps in managing one’s and influencing other people’s emotions effectively. One with a strong set of social skills can handle both good and bad news graciously. They know how to convey different messages in different circumstances in a proper way. Improve social skills by:
Asking open ended questions- It helps you to gain an insight about other people’s views. People often open up when asked about their opinions about things.
Complimenting- Start complimenting people freely around you. This not only brightens their day but the smile they offer also makes your day more positive. Complementing is scientifically proven to radiate positive energy to the giver and receiver both.
These are the central characteristics of emotional intelligence in students.
"In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and the one that feels" -Dr. Daniel Goleman
Benefits of Developing Emotional Intelligence
Better stress management
Being emotionally sound often helps you manage stressful conditions easily. You often find yourself controlling your nerves in stressful situations rather than being chaotic. You try to reason better plausible reactions to the situations instead of acting on impulse.
Easier to talk about feelings
When you are in touch with your psyche you find yourself strong enough to accept your shortcomings and to talk about them. People having a deep insight of their emotions find it easier to communicate them, than the people whose emotions aren’t in place.
Increased problem solving skills
We always find it easier to find things in an ordered environment instead of a disorganised one. Similarly, when a person's thoughts and emotions are correctly placed and comprehended, they find it easier to solve the problems that present themselves.
Increased self awareness
High emotional intelligence helps people to reduce anxiety and stress. People start connecting with their feelings more deeply than before and become aware of their emotions. Self awareness is both a component and outcome of a healthy emotional quotient.
Activities to Improve Emotional Intelligence
Once you start recognising different emotions you find yourself identifying what you or the people around you are going through. You can practice several activities to understand what you are feeling and how to manage it.
Eye Contact People often misunderstand the message that is being conveyed. Eye contact helps people to focus on the conversation and read facial expressions. The message is interpreted properly with better eye contact and the other person also feels acknowledged and valued.
Do you ever feel like someone is speaking but you don’t understand anything? That is because you are just hearing what the other person is saying rather than listening to her/him. Pay attention to what others are saying to perceive the message they are trying to deliver. Listening also helps to develop compassion and empathy in the listener.
We have always been advised to mirror practise our speeches or dialogue, ever thought WHY? Because when we mirror practise our speech or dialogue we see our body posture, expression and tonal quality which plays an important role in delivering our message. We understand what we are lacking in what we are trying to convey.
Half Glass Theory
When asked a bunch of people what they see in a half glass of water, some say a glass half full and some say a glass half empty. They all are seeing the same thing, but the difference lies in the perception. The people seeing the half glass full have a positive outlook on life whereas the people seeing half glass empty have a negative outlook. A person who sees and makes the best of a situation carries a positive energy.
Meditation helps you centre your energy by cleaning all your chakras and releasing tension. It helps to focus on your inner self and put your feelings and emotions straight.
Talk about your emotions
Speaking out loud about your feelings gives you a clarity of the situation. It helps you to see clearly. Talking about your emotions even helps you sort through them and get a better mindset.
We have incorporated characteristics, benefits and techniques to develop emotional intelligence in students via this blog. It is proven, naming an emotion can reduce its intensity.