Increasing Emotional Intelligence Through Mindfulness

Increasing emotional intelligence through mindfulness

Can you imagine a situation in which a person is extremely intelligent and extremely devoid of emotions at the same time? It isn’t possible, right? We can only perceive such a situation in the case of robots! The subject of emotional intelligence remained outside the scope of serious intellectual inquiry until a few decades ago. With the advancement of technology, and the rise of corporations, the subject of emotional intelligence came to prominence. The importance of emotional intelligence has increased manifold.

The reason for the increase in the importance of emotional intelligence is also caused as a result of relationship management in our complex society.  

It is not that emotional intelligence did not have any role to play in societies back in the past centuries. It was also important in earlier centuries. In fact, the practice of mindfulness meditation in the east played a very important role in promoting emotional intelligence in ancient times.

In today’s world, great psychologists and neuroscientists have admitted the importance of emotional intelligence in the well-being and success of a person. In the strife stricken complex world, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques are applied worldwide for emotional wellness across the world. It is heartening that the techniques of mindfulness are majorly applied in most mindfulness-based stress reduction programmes. In the United States, Jon Kabbat-Zin started such a programme which has become well renowned in that country.

Mindfulness helps us prevent releasing stress hormones and facilitates the secretion of the hormones responsible for ecstasy which make a person feel happier than ever. This is just an anatomical aspect of emotional wellness among the numerous aspects of the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

Emotional Intelligence Meaning 

Before we should start talking about the meaning of emotional intelligence, we should throw some light on cognitive intelligence. It is the faculty of reasoning and logic in understanding or evaluating a problem or situation. It is the cognitive ability of a person as far as his or her usage of intellect is concerned. In short, this is the meaning of cognitive intelligence. It can be measured by psychologists, which is expressed as IQ or Intelligence Quotient.

On the other hand, emotional intelligence definition is the emotional maturity of a person which enables him or her to use or understand emotions in a balanced way so as to understand oneself and others. It enables a person to interact with others in a stress-free mind reducing tension and conflict. This is the concise emotional intelligence definition.

What are the components of emotional intelligence?

Empathy is one of the components of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence has a very broad connotation as cognitive intelligence. Therefore, we should discuss the topic in some detail. 

According to the renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are four components of emotional intelligence. These are self-awareness, empathy, self-management, and relationship management. 

Self-awareness is the consciousness about the self. It means what a person thinks about himself or herself. Self-awareness helps a person to assess oneself. It indicates whether a person has high self-esteem or low self-esteem. The more self-aware a person is, the higher is the chance for him or her to determine the course of action. It enables one to know who they really are. (To know more about the mystery of self-awareness, click here.)

Empathy is the ability to stand in another person’s shoes. It is the ability to feel the way other people feel. The more empathetic we are towards others, the less conflict there will be in our collective behaviours. There are three kinds of empathy, namely, cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and empathetic concern. 

By cognitive empathy, we understand a person and empathize with him or her. Emotional empathy empowers us to feel empathetic towards a particular person or persons at an emotional level. When we have the quality of empathetic concern, we feel an urge to express concern to a person or group of persons we feel empathy for. 

The third component of emotional intelligence is self-management. If we are emotionally intelligent, we have an upper hand in self-management qualities. We can identify our negative emotions, and can easily let go of destructive emotions only to reserve our reactions to positive and creative subjects. Meditation helps us to observe every negative emotion and thought in a non-reactive way. Greater ability of self-management makes us better and mature persons. 

The fourth component of EI is relationship management. When a person is emotionally mature with all the power of self-awareness, empathy, and self-management then he or she is able to maintain a better relationship management quality. He or she will not be judgmental towards other persons. Non-judgmental nature is the reflection of emotional maturity. If one attains emotional maturity then he or she can be called an emotionally intelligent person.

Importance of emotional intelligence

Importance of emotional intelligence

As said above, emotional intelligence is what makes us truly human being. Otherwise, we would have been like human robots.

Robots have a very high level of intelligence but robots do not have emotions. We humans have emotions. To be fully alive as a human being, it is not at all enough to have emotions. What we need is a balanced set of emotions. Cognitive intelligence enables us to solve a problem by adopting rational means. It helps us to utilize logic to solve complex problems. But the interesting thing is that we can programme logic into a supercomputer or a quantum computer! The subject ‘we’ is super important here. We are logical conscious being. We may not be super fast in solving a very complex problem like a supercomputer but we have balanced emotions. 

We give programming instructions to a supercomputer even though we have less logical power than a supercomputer at the performing level. What beats the supercomputer is the quality of being emotionally intelligent. Today, scientists can easily prove that EQ is as important as IQ. Rather, EQ is the basis of IQ. Balance emotions can make us ‘superhumans’! Yet the good news is that we can increase the level of EI!

The analogy between supercomputer and human is an example of emotional intelligence. 

Whereas IQ helps us find an instant solution to a problem, EQ helps us determine the different aspects of a problem.

EI takes the futuristic approach to a solution. It balances every emotion during problem solution and implementation of a proposition. It also sees into a problem from different angles and positions.

The most important aspect of EI is kindness. It takes into account the aspect of kindness while considering anything in a bid to come up with a solution.

EQ gives us different perspectives. IQ is generally self-centred intelligence. That’s why emotional intelligence makes us benevolent. 

From our above account, we can come to the conclusion that even though IQ and EI are two different things, they are inseparably connected with each other. EI can be a highly contributory factor for a greater level of IQ. EI is the foundational thing in so far as human intelligence is concerned. Considering this truth, and above all, the role of EI in humans’ overall success, modern psychologists and neuroscientists tend to give more importance to EI.

The roles and importance of emotional intelligence should now be clear from the above discussion.

The importance of emotional intelligence can best be described by its application in the workplace, especially at the managerial or leadership level. This is called emotional intelligence in the workplace. Leaders have to be kinder to the subordinates. First of all, they have to be self-aware of who they are, empathetic towards the people falling in the lesser hierarchy, they should be able to self-manage by being aware of negative emotions. After all, they must be expert at relationship management for being better leaders. 

You can click here to know more about mindfulness guide for working professionals.

Even the subordinates of the managerial hierarchies must maintain a level of emotional maturity to climb the ladder of success and to maintain a positive environment in the workplace. 

I hope readers have got the answer to the question – what is IQ and EQ?

Mindfulness and EI:

The above reading must prompt the readers to ask this question – How can I become emotionally intelligent?

From a close analysis of EI, it becomes evident that the task of mindfulness is to streamline our thoughts and emotions in a positive way, in a creative way. If we arduously do this task, the end result will be that we will become more emotionally intelligent.

To understand our mind in its most pristine form, we must empty our mind from all thoughts. This also empowers us to examine our consciousness in its purest form. For this, we need to understand consciousness that is unmixed with thoughts is necessary so that we know who we really are (self-awareness). To achieve this state of consciousness, mindfulness meditation is the solution!

To speak in a general sense, we observe our thoughts, emotions, vibrations, sensations, pulses, and all other subjective subtle sensations without reacting while doing mindfulness meditation. In this exercise breathing is a natural medium. Non-reactive observation facilitates us to be self-aware which is one of the components of EI.

Mindfulness meditation is the training of our neural circuits. It harnesses positive emotions by controlling our destructive emotions. It’s a kind of cognitive control method which is an EQ booster. 

Research conducted in New Zealand on cognitive control among the children of 4-8 years old proved that those who received cognitive control training during that age range were more successful when they reached adulthood. That means they became more efficient at self-management skills. Mindfulness acted as a cognitive control method throughout life.

People going through self-management and cognitive control become calmer towards one another. In this regard, we can cite a case study conducted in the Max Planck Institute of Technology, Germany on the topic of EI. The study found that if we think of the people positively who had been kind to us, had done something good to us in the past then the neural connectivity of our brain increases. It makes us the persons with better cognitive ability. The same practice of thinking positively about all people is a part of mindfulness meditation too. The act of positive thinking passes over to all the people irrespective of whether they did something good or bad to us. Compassion becomes universal. This is called metta in Pali language.

Metta is loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is empathy and compassion.

There is a Tibetan saying which says that the first person who is benefitted from compassion is the one who feels it. Compassion is a healthy sign of EI. And this quality of compassion can best be developed by mindfulness practices.

Compassion can be developed through mindfulness.

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