Emotional Intelligence and Its Components

It is essential that we are able to express and control our own emotions, but it is also equally important to be able to understand, interpret, and respond to other people’s emotions. Montreal psychologists refer to this ability as emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in a person’s well-being and experts even suggest that EI may be more important than IQ. This is because emotional intelligence is linked to everything that we do. There are some who believe that EI is an inborn characteristic, but there are also some who believe that it can be learned and strengthened through education, training, and guidance.

Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence

Two of the leading researchers of emotional intelligence are Peter Salovey and John Mayer and they have been studying EI since 1990. They have developed and proposed a model in which EI is divided into four branches. These branches are arranged from basic psychological processes to more complex and psychologically integrated ones.

  1. Perceiving Emotions

This is the first step in understanding emotions accurately. This also includes non-verbal signs such as facial expressions and body language.

  1. Reasoning with Emotions

This step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. We respond emotionally to the things that catch our attention and they also help identify the things that we prioritize and pay attention to.

  1. Understanding Emotions

The emotions that we experience can have a variety of meanings. In order to understand, we must apply critical thinking to fully comprehend the source and the meaning.

  1. Managing Emotions

The last branch focuses on one’s ability to manage emotions effectively, including regulating your own emotions and appropriately responding to the emotions of others. This is a crucial part of emotional intelligence and management.

Now, that you know these things, you may be wondering, what does it take to be emotionally intelligent? Below are some of the components that are critical to emotional intelligence:

Components of Emotional Intelligence

  1. Self-Awareness

This is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions which is a basic, yet critical part of emotional intelligence. To have this component, you must know how to monitor and recognize different emotional reactions.

Usually, people who are self-aware have a good sense of humor, are confident, and know how other people perceive them.

  1. Self-Regulation

Having emotional intelligence also requires you to be able to regulate and manage your emotions. It means you need to express your emotions appropriately even if it means waiting for the right place, time, and opportunity to express your emotions.

People who know how to self-regulate are more flexible and adaptable to change. They are also good at managing conflicts and diffusing tension in difficult situations.

  1. Social Skills

Another aspect of emotional intelligence is being able to interact well with other people. After all, true emotional understanding should involve being able to use emotions and information in interacting and communicating with others.

  1. Empathy

The ability to understand how others are feeling is critical to emotional intelligence. Showing empathy allows people to understand the power dynamics which influence social relationships. Also, when you know how someone is feeling, your response to that particular individual will be based on that knowledge.

  1. Motivation

Lastly, intrinsic motivation also plays a vital role in emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent people are motivated by their passion to fulfil their goals, instead of external rewards. Those who are highly motivated tend to be action-oriented and are always looking for ways to improve themselves. They are also committed and take initiative in performing tasks that are assigned to them.

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