Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a level of emotional awareness that goes deeper than our instinctual flight, fight, or freeze response in stressful situations and allows us to identify, regulate, and express emotions in balanced and beneficial ways.
While intellectual intelligence, or IQ, can get you into college or an interview, EQ allows you to manage the stress of a demanding schedule, final exams, a taxing work environment, and all of life’s challenges. A strong EQ opens you to a wider range of emotional options, and so you are free to choose wiser and more balanced behaviors in various situations.
The reasons for doing so are many. A strong EQ correlates with the ability to control, direct, and regulate the self, and is essential to realizing and maintaining independence from drug addiction and addictive behaviors. EQ allows us to think before acting in order to assess a situation more accurately, and emotionally intelligent people need not act impulsively because they’re good at contemplating before behaving. They are skilled at preparing for and adapting to unexpected situations. They also think more creatively when solving problems and take initiative to do so rather than waiting to be told how to think or act.
Emotionally intelligent people consequently have higher self esteem because they are more aware and thus in control of their thoughts and behaviors. Rather than experiencing an emotional rollercoaster, they are able to maintain emotional balance and transition between moments with ease. People with EQ are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and are not ashamed of either. Growth and maturity, rather than victimhood and fear, drive emotionally intelligent people.
An emotionally intelligent person is misunderstood less frequently and finds it easier to communicate more clearly because they are confident that they will be received by others. They are able to discern their own emotions as well as those of others and to generate appropriate, constructive responses accordingly. A person with EQ is perceived as trustworthy because they follow through on their commitments and are able to extend empathy toward others. Their relationships are stronger with clearer boundaries, and conflict is managed with positivity. Emotionally intelligent relationships last longer and often inspire and encourage others.
Becoming emotionally intelligent means acknowledging, comprehending, and healing from old wounds. When we release our grudges, we clear space for new ways of thinking and therefore new, more positive ways of behaving because our motives are no longer driven by suffering and destruction but a desire for healing and creativity. Once we are able to identify our own emotions, we can act with compassion for ourselves and others.
EQ promotes personal growth in every area of our lives:
Workplace: A high EQ allows you to better navigate the social complexities of the workplace, thereby increasing your chances of leading and motivating others. You also make a stronger team member, decision-maker, and negotiator. Some companies even consider EQ as important as technical ability and often test a candidate’s EQ as part of the interview process.
Physical Health: Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system T-cell function, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. By managing your emotions, and therefore your stress, you increase your optimal health.
Mental health: When you are able to identify, regulate, and express your emotions, you are less vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and mood swings because you are more capable of forming stronger and lasting relationships that buffer you from feeling lonely and isolated. You are also more apt to use humor and play to stay connected in challenging situations.
Relationships: EQ grants you insight into how others are feeling, which allows you to communicate more effectively and to forge stronger and more mutual relationships both at work and in your personal life. You are better able to connect emotionally with others by using nonverbal communication and are better equipped to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence!
By increasing your EQ, you will no longer feel overwhelmed by powerful emotions; rather, you gain control of your emotional habits so that you can be a more effective communicator with yourself and in relationships, a more confident and creative team member & leader at work, and a more positive influence on those around you. Emotional Intelligence gives you the necessary skills to navigate gracefully & consciously through life so that you may achieve your optimal success and independence!
If you are then Dr. Avart can help! In addition to making Emotional Intelligence a key focal point in our addiction recovery programs, My Addiction Physician has outlined the skills necessary for cultivating a strong EQ right here on the web site as a blog series. Just click on the button below to get started.