You’ve got brain power, but what about emotional intelligence? Emotional Intelligence, also known as EI or EQ (for Emotional Intelligence Quotient), describes a person’s ability to recognize emotions, to understand their powerful effect, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior.
According to Talent Smart, 90% of high performers at the workplace possess high EQ, while 80% of low performers have low EQ. Emotional Intelligence is absolutely essential in the formation, development, maintenance, and enhancement of close personal relationships. Unlike IQ, which does not change significantly over a lifetime, our EQ can evolve and increase our desire to learn and grow.
Since EQ helps you to better understand yourself and others; and increases your chances for successfully achieving goals. But is there a way to increase your emotional intelligence? Neuroscientist and psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett laid out three steps to boost your intelligence in her book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.
Recognize a Wide Array of Emotions
Lisa Feldman Barrett calls this “emotional granularity.” If people are able to identify “I am happy” and “I am sad,” then all you’ll ever feel is happiness and sadness. Researchers at University of Berkeley identified 27 distinct emotions, they are: amusement, awkwardness, adoration, admiration, joy, awe, craving, aesthetic appreciation, calmness, entrancement, nostalgia, confusion, anxiety, fear, horror, disgust, sexual desire, romance, anger, pain, sadness, surprise, relief, excitement, interest, satisfaction, and boredom.
Once you give the 27 emotions, the credit they deserve, you’ll begin exploring the granularity of the feels. In Barrett’s words, “your brain would have much more options for predicting, categorizing, and perceiving emotion, providing you with the tools for more flexible and functional responses.”
Learn New Words for Specific Emotions
Barrett writes, “You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health, but it follows directly from the neuroscience of construction. Words seed your concepts, concepts drive your predictions, predictions regulate your body budget, and your body budget determines how you feel. Therefore, the more finely grained your vocabulary, the more precisely your predicting brain can calibrate your budget to your body’s needs. In fact, people who exhibit higher emotional granularity go to the doctor less frequently, use medication less frequently, and spend fewer days hospitalized for an illness.”
If you’re thinking that words are a just fancy way to express your views and joy, then you’re wrong! You can never equate ‘regret’ with ‘heartache’, can you? Of course not. Yet both of those words roll up into ‘sadness’. Once you learn new words for specific emotion, you can keep expanding your emotional granularity.
Create New Emotions
A certain feeling you experience, is a new emotion right? Everyday experiencing new things, noticing new and exciting things, are our way of creating new emotions. Don’t go listening to people tantrums, explore the world. Learning and creating new emotions is good because you can learn to feel more subtle emotions that make you better at regulating your emotions. For example, you can learn to distinguish between distress and discomfort.
Creating or learning new emotions widens the horizon of control. You realize that if your brain is using your past to construct your present, you can invest energy in the present to cultivate new experiences that then become the seeds for your future.
So there you go! These were some few tips to boost your Emotional Intelligence. The above recommendations may be hard to follow all the time, you will still benefit if you can adopt them some of the time. It sure can help you boost up your Emotional Intelligence.
Got some more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.