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What is Emotional Intelligence (10+ Benefits & 15+ Ways to Improve It)

What is Emotional Intelligence (10+ Benefits & 15+ Ways to Improve It)

Updated on May 27, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

What is Emotional Intelligence - 10+ Benefits & 15+ Ways to Improve It

We all know about IQ or Intelligence Quotient but how many of you have heard about EQ or Emotional Quotient (also called Emotional Intelligence)?

I am sure the number is very small.

But now that you are here, reading this, I am assuming someone told you that it’s a thing.

But did they tell you that some studies reveal that it is even more important than IQ?

Yes, you heard that right!

Emotional intelligence might be a modern concept, only developed in the mid-1990s by Daniel Goleman, but it’s proved to be extremely important – a lot more than me or you ever imagined.

Excited to know more?

So, let’s first begin with.

Emotional Intelligence Infographics

EQ vs IQ
EQ vs IQ
Emotional Intelligence Benefits
Emotional Intelligence Benefits
Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence
Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence? 

Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is defined as the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own as well as others’ emotions.

Imagine this: Your friend is sitting right beside you, sad and depressed but due to your lack of emotional competence, you fail to understand it.

Or, you are in a meeting room with your boss but your ability to understand emotional states is not absent.

Feels absurd, right?

The concept that plugs this absurdity is emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence allows you to effectively manage your emotions in ways that it helps you to resolve conflicts, build stronger relationships, achieve set goals, communicate effectively, and also empathize with others.

Now that you are aware of the concept of emotional intelligence, let’s help you define the differences between them.

EQ vs IQ

EQ or Emotional QuotientIQ or Intelligence Quotient
EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, perceive, control, evaluate, and express emotions.IQ or Intelligence quotient refers to an individual’s cognitive intelligence.
It represents emotional abilities such as identifying emotions, developing social skills, evaluating how others feel, etc.  It represents abilities such as working and short-term memory, the reasoning of situations, knowledge of the world, etc.
IQ score is measured by standardized intelligence or IQ testsEmotional intelligence skills are measured by self-report and ability tests.
EQ vs IQ

IQs were the primal determinant for success in life. But after the emergence of the concepts of emotional intelligence in the workplace, it has been recognized as a more important trait.

Even more than IQ and EQ, social and emotional intelligence is often used interchangeably especially because of a similar nature. However, in reality, both are different concepts even when they overlap on some grounds. Let’s find out what are they…

Social Intelligence vs. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional and Social intelligence both have to do with similar situations but like discussed, EI is more about the present relating to the emotional competencies of individuals.

While social intelligence that involves the same abilities and skills is more focused on the future. It helps you to understand the wide range of feelings, behaviors, and personalities of yourself and others in order to seek positive outcomes.

But what was the story behind “emotional intelligence” or How did it come into existence?

Let’s find out…

History of Emotional Intelligence

First coined in 1990, Emotional Intelligence has been a great point of discussion since then. In the 1930s, psychologist Edward Thorndike defined emotional intelligence as “social intelligence” or the ability to socialize. 

This was followed by psychologist David Wechsler in 1940 who said that emotionally intelligent people are most likely to succeed in life.

In the 1950s, Abraham Maslow discovered the concept of humanistic psychology which was more focused on building emotional strength.

In the mid-1970s, Howard Gardner introduced the idea of multiple intelligences saying that intelligence was more than just a single ability.

However, the term “emotional intelligence” was first used by Wayne Payne in a doctor’s dissertation. Later, psychologists like Peter Salovey and John Mayer (Salovey P.& Mayer) published an article on emotional intelligence in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality.

They finally put light on the topic and explained it as the “ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”

Before we deep dive into the concept, let me first answer the most asked question: Why is Emotional Intelligence important?

Importance of Emotional Intelligence (Benefits of Emotional Intelligence)

Here’s a bitter truth: Smartest people are not always successful in life. If you are socially inept and emotionally unavailable – you just can’t reach your maximum potential, personally or professionally.

That’s when Emotional Intelligence comes into the picture.

But that’s not it. EI helps you flourish in different aspects of life, including

1. Self-Management

People who don’t understand or manage themselves will never be able to manage others. The primary reason why emotional intelligence is important is that it teaches you the art of self-management.

You are aware of your strengths, weaknesses, feelings, emotions, and even your trigger points. This self-awareness helps you create a filter and not act with impulse.

While others give in to the provocations caused by others and retaliate, you practice self-regulation and do not say what can hurt others even in anger.

The good news is that you can learn EQ with time and develop your self-regulation skills.

2. Relationship Management

Among all the benefits of EI, relationship management has always been at the forefront. Emotionally intelligent people don’t just know to communicate effectively in all situations but also know how to put their own point across.

This not only helps them create healthy relationships but also persuades people in a manner that is beneficial to all. Further, they also value honesty and transparency and make people believe with their social skills that they want nothing but their betterment.

If you are still wondering why emotional intelligence is important, I should “ideally” say keep reading – but I will instead say read the first two points again.

3. Work Performance

An organization whose team members are equipped with greater emotional intelligence can work with increased productivity. This is because EQ makes your team members capable of understanding the client’s emotions and using them to craft an empathetic response.

Further, they also excel in leadership, teamwork, partnership, and vision alignment with the organization. EQ also makes them able to identify and capitalize on their relationships with staff, clients, competitors, and redirect their efforts depending on the insights.

Emotional intelligence is important in the workplace for improved job performance as it brings the ability to sail through difficult times, resistance, negative judgment, and all the other roadblocks.

4. Physical Health

We all deal with stress in our lives but people who can manage their emotions, know their way out of these dark times. But those who don’t, keep drowning in it, leading to serious health problems, like increased blood pressure, fast aging, suppressed immune system, etc.

The skills associated with emotional intelligence can help you cope with all the negative emotions and pilot situations to a positive outcome.

High EQ also results in greater satisfaction and happiness in both, professional and personal life which further leads to lower levels of stress and greater physical well-being.

5. Mental Health

The importance of emotions in the human body is very less talked about. Even though uncontrolled emotions can lead to so many health problems both psychological and physical.

It is no secret that high levels of stress make you vulnerable to mental problems, like anxiety, depression, mood disorder, etc. Further, when you struggle to understand your own emotions, you feel isolated and lonely.

However, when you decode the mind tools of emotional intelligence, you don’t let your emotions overpower you. Instead, you are the pilot of your own thoughts further ensuring that you are comfortable with your own self.

6. Relationships

No wonder people with high EQ will have better relationships. They not only understand others’ emotions but also control their own.

Plus, we all know how communication is the key to a healthy relationship irrespective of the kind of bond you share – lovers, friends, family, or even a coworker. A person trained to facilitate their thoughts knows how, when, and what to speak.  

They also possess higher understanding skills as they know why a human reacts a certain way and try to reason with it instead of reacting immediately.

7. Communication

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are the most sought-after strength of an emotionally intelligent person. They know the art of thinking before speaking and practice it vividly.

Aside from that, they also know how to empathize and relate to people in the conversations. This further helps them develop trust and create stronger relationships.

On the other hand, people with low levels of EQ react defensively in stressful situations which further leads to conflicts and rifts.

EQ also enables them to read between the lines, interpret non-verbal cues, and also analyze verbal cues better than people with less EQ. They prevent any misunderstandings or arguments from cropping up in the relationships.

8. Social Intelligence

Yes, even though emotional and social intelligence are based on different concepts, EI can help you develop social skills and establish you as a friendly person.

 When you set priorities, it determines the hierarchy of your goals but as a social being, you redesign your goal strategy in a way that benefits one and all.

Further, it also helps you identify your friends from foe, evaluate their interest in you, and also tune your emotions to serve a social purpose.

Since EQ also develops your communications skills, it further adds to your social intelligence and makes you feel happy and loved.

9. Decision Making

Emotional Intelligence makes you a lot more aware of yourself and other people. With time, you also start understanding people’s trigger points, responses, reactions, and the reason behind them.

This power allows you to keep an open mind, weigh in all the options, look at the pros and cons on a very human level, and then make decisions.

This doesn’t mean people with high EQ remove emotions from the decisions, they just don’t let negative emotions like anxiety interfere in the process. This allows them to be more objective and less affected by the impact.

10. Resilience

In life, resilience is what makes you successful. Failure is a part of life but if you let it overpower you, there’s no way you will be able to reach where you desired.

Young people with high EQ develop greater resilience than others. That is, when they are faced with tough times, they know how to get back up and fight again.

There are also several types of research that have proved a direct connection of resilience with EQ. The achievement motivation in emotionally intelligent people is comparatively very high and they are more likely to strive for success, no matter the circumstances.

Now that you know the innumerable benefits EI has to offer, I am sure you are curious about your own EI… are you?

So, most of you must be asking…

Can EI be Measured and Tested?

People’s emotional intelligence can be measured since its inception and there are many tests and scales designed to help chart it.

Here’s a detailed dig into it.

Emotional Intelligence Tests

There are different kinds of self-assessment tests that help measure emotional intelligence. They are broadly divided into two subheads: Self-report tests and Ability Tests.

Self-Report Tests

The most common type of emotional intelligence test, a self-report test is very easy to administer and score. The respondents are expected to rate their own behaviors based on several questions.

These questions can be anything like “I can understand what others are feeling” or “I have the ability to control my negative emotions”. You need to answer them on a scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Ability Tests

Ability tests measure the emotional awareness of an individual based on their response to a situation. These tests ask the respondents to demonstrate their abilities which are most often rated by a third party.

If you are working with emotional intelligence and willing to take a test supervised by a mental health professional, these are the popular measures often used.

1. Emotional and Social Competency (ESCI)

ESCI is a self-assessment questionnaire that evaluates the person based on the ratings offered by the people on his/her emotional competencies. It was primarily designed to distinguish people with high emotional intelligence and recognize them as strong leaders.

2. Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)

Designed to test the four branches of Mayer and Salovey’s EI model, MSCEIT is an ability-based test. Tasks are designed to help assess the test-taker’s ability to manage, perceive, control, or identify emotions.

On that note, let’s find out the four branches of EQ

Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence

The founding fathers of EQ have revealed that Emotional Intelligence operates on four different branches or dimensions that form a hierarchy of skills and abilities. Let’s understand each one in detail:

1. Perceiving emotions

The first step is to recognize or perceive emotions accurately. This may involve understanding facial expressions, eye movements, or other non-verbal signs to decode both the physical and psychological states of other people.

At this phase, you should also be able to express your own emotions and also distinguish between honest and dishonest feelings.

2. Using or Reasoning with Emotions

The second step is to use these emotions or feelings to redirect your thoughts and cognitive activity. Emotions help you prioritize, accept multiple points of view, react calmly to emotional reactions and promote better judgment.

If you pay attention to your emotions, it will also help you manage conflicts and improve your problem-solving skills.  

3. Understanding Emotions

Different emotions have different meanings. At this stage, you are expected to understand the cause and consequence of the emotions. For instance, if one of your team members is showing angry emotions, you as an observer must be able to interpret its meaning.

Stressful situations act differently on different people and only when you can understand the relation and transition among these complex feelings, you will be able to master Emotional Intelligence.   

4. Managing or Regulating Emotions

Finally, the fourth dimension, managing emotions requires you to accept and reflect on both pleasant and unpleasant feelings. Being able to regulate and respond to emotions appropriately is one of the most important aspects of emotion management.

The 4-step model is arranged on the basis of complexity. For instance, the first two levels are comparatively easier for advanced processes at high levels. So, if you are a beginner in exploring emotional intelligence, it’s best to start with perceiving and understanding emotions.

Now that you have understood the model of EI, it’s time to know the different/…

Elements of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman enlists components of emotional intelligence under two broad subheads, i.e., Personal and Social competencies

Personal Skills or Competences

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts. It also involves recognizing your emotions. Recognizing your emotional strengths and weaknesses falls under self-awareness too.


“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.” – Tara Meyer Robson. Self-awareness helps in –

1. Understanding how your emotions affect others around you. Further, this transcends into effective communication.

2. Recognizing your own limitations. Thus, one can use constructive feedback to his/her benefit.

3. Developing the ability to recognize and understand your strengths and weaknesses. For example, you may hire experts in the areas that you struggle with.

4. Increasing self-confidence.

How to Improve Self-awareness:

1. Mulling over questions like “What are my emotional strengths and weaknesses?” can bring valuable insights. Once you know who you are, only then you can begin the journey of growth.

2. Keeping a journal to record any disruptive emotions like anger and grief. Trace the pattern of the situations that trigger the emotions.

3. Observing how people around you respond to your behavior.

2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation is the skill of managing your impulses, feelings, and emotions. That too, at any given time, place, and circumstance. Self-awareness without self-regulation is like a brand new car without a steering wheel.


1. Develops self-control and allows you to act rationally.

2. Earns your trust and respect. For example, you are in a restaurant. Somebody spills a drink on you by accident. Instead of getting stirred up with anger, you understand that it’s a mistake.

Manage to maintain your cool. Similarly, nobody likes a grumpy boss.

3. Makes you flexible to changes.

How to Improve Self-regulation:

1. Practice response instead of reaction. Reactions are often abrupt and unthought-of. But responses are well-thought-out, not just an outburst.

For example, a coworker might say something which triggers an unwanted emotion. But instead of an instant bitter reply, take a deep breath. This will show the quality of high emotional intelligence in you.

2. Accepting that some things are out of control. Let go of the sense of control, if you’re craving for one.

3. Taking responsibility. Instead of blaming the situation, accept your mistakes. Thrive on improving yourself.

3. Motivation

Another main element of EI is intrinsic motivation. This kind of motivation is not driven by external agents. For instance, money, fame, or acclaim. Instead, it is related to passion, commitment, and vision.


1. Make you resilient in the face of adversity.

2. Increases your focus.

3. Reduces the odds of procrastination.

How to improve

1. Remember your “why”.

2. Focus on what you like about your job. Paying attention to the things that you truly enjoy can change your attitude. For example, you may like helping your clients with a project.

3. Being positive will motivate you to look forward to another day. For instance, notice the contagious enthusiasm of optimistic people at the workplace.

4. Set small goals that add to the bigger goal that you have. Setting smaller goals will provide you with a sense of accomplishment. It will keep you motivated to keep going.

Social Skills or Competences

4. Social Skills

Research has shown that people who are socially skilled have a high EQ. According to Goleman, social skills are “friendliness with a purpose.”


1. Understanding the intent of people.

2. Makes you comfortable with negative feedback. You ponder over questions like “how can this improve me?”

3. Builds a rapport with people around you.

How to improve:

1. Be authentic. We are in a world where most people have pretense. Being genuine will earn you trust. It does not mean being polite day in and out to avoid conflicts. It just means that you say what you mean.

2. Praise others and provide constructive feedback. In order to pay genuine compliments, you need to observe people. That is to say focus on the good side of others.

3. Develop your communication skills. Effective verbal and non-verbal communication is crucial. It will help you resolve conflicts or even avoid them altogether.

4. Understand the point of view of others. Try to observe the problem from all possible angles. Seeing things from different perspectives makes you realize the needs of others. Try to arrive at a conclusion benefiting everyone.

5. Pay attention to non-verbal communication.

5. Empathy

We must remember that we are talking to somebody who has emotions. Empathy is understanding and recognizing those emotions. Furthermore, it includes your response based on this information.


1. You understand the reasons for which people behave the way they do.

2. Shows that you care to put yourself in the shoes of another. Abandoning your own point of view is rather difficult.

3. Rather than judging and labeling others, you identify the underlying issues. As put correctly by poet Stevie Smith, “not waving but drowning”.

How to improve:

1. Avoid distractions when somebody is talking. It is sheer disrespect to the person and time.

2. Understand their point of view. It is possible that you might not have been in a similar situation. But imagining a circumstance when you felt similar emotions helps.

3. Do not give opinions if they’re unsolicited. The person might just be looking for an ear that will listen.

4. If you’re an employer, do not ignore your employees’ emotions. For example, if an employee seems upset, address it. Don’t let it go unnoticed.

All that being said, I am sure most of you are still confused about its applicability in real-life.

So, to help you get rid of the confusion, here are some

Emotional Intelligence Examples

Here’s an honest revelation: Emotional Intelligence is the new “smart”.

People have been fostering it in different settings enhancing the ability to control the emotions of your clients, students, or employees.

Examples of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

If you already have an EQ-intelligent team, then you are lucky. If not, then it’s time to re-engineer the job criterion in your organization. To help you do that, here are a few real-life and ordinary examples of EW at the workplace that will help you determine:

1. Expressing views without any filter

Honestly, most employees lack the confidence to speak about their opinions or views. This is because of the ”traditional” hierarchical workplace culture where the superior is never wrong.

Try asking this question to your juniors: How am I as a manager? And look at their replies. I can guarantee none of them will be able to tell you how they feel demotivated by your criticisms. Remember, all superiors are not leaders, for a reason.

To lift up the boundaries and filters, you need to embrace the concept of EQ. So, appreciate their participation in any of the meetings and don’t dismiss their input on the topic no matter how silly it is.

2. Requesting feedback

Review or feedback can be viewed in two ways: a bane or an opportunity. It all depends on your level of EQ.

People with low EQ think that performance review at the end of each year is extremely discouraging and must be avoided. While on the other hand, people with high EQ see it as an opportunity to grow and become better.

However, to practice the latter, the feedback must also be given in a constructive manner and not as a critic. Remember, every shortcoming is an opportunity to become better only if you commit to seeing it that way.

3. Organizing stress relief activities

Stress is a part of everyone’s life. But with every passing day, stress levels are continuously rising in humans. To help cope with that, there’s just one answer: EQ.

When the office becomes unbearable and work becomes too much to handle, anyone can break down. But if you create a culture where EQ and IQ coexist, emotional breakdowns will be comparatively much less.

While EQ will help you be compassionate and empathize with others’ feelings, IQ will help your brainstorm solutions to relieve the stress.

These solutions can be anything like organizing meditation events, posting motivational quotes around the office, or encouraging a stress-free environment.

4. Participating in meetings

The dreaded “meetings” have always been a peace-eater in the workplace. Employees tend to spend long hours in it without really “being” in it.

To ensure high participation in the meetings, you need to capitalize on EQ. Train your employees in emotional intelligence if you are sure to see higher engagement in the daily office meetings.

Further, EQ also helps develop meeting ethics, like praising one another, not speaking while one is speaking, listening to each other, and also apologizing when necessary.

In a high EQ group, the team members don’t try to put their point across with a raised voice and also don’t speak to one another in a hush-hush voice.

5. Listening to Employees’ problems

Employees tend to become frustrated or upset at the workplace because of several reasons. Being upset is not the issue, how the superiors handle it makes the whole difference.

If you are superior who dismisses these emotions, you have to change your approach to introduce EI in your workplace. Lend a compassionate ear to your juniors and let them vent. 

This will not only help you see increased productivity in your office but you will also notice employees bonding with each other on a more human level. Plus, they will also see you as a leader who cares about them.

Examples of Emotional Intelligence in Education

Most students are wired to chase after IQ or intelligence quotients. Very few of them understand the concept of EQ.

But looking at the innumerable benefits of EQ, it’s high time that you must start making real efforts to include emotional intelligence as a part of the course.

Before that, here are some real-life and practical examples of using EI in education.

1. Communicating effectively with Students

Imagine a teacher who doesn’t know how to teach with the children and also fails to understand their concerns due to poor communication – isn’t it dreadful?

Of Course, it is. Learning is impossible without effective communication. Thus, you must teach your students effective ways to communicate which in turn will foster Emotional Intelligence among them.

Start with basic communication exercises and let them speak in whatever language they want. you can also ask them to practice writing on a daily basis. This will ensure a free flow of communication which will ultimately lead to a productive learning environment.

2. Fostering a culture of collaboration

Collaboration and cooperation are some of the key qualities in students to ensure their success as an individual.

To encourage cooperation in the classroom, you can create a chart of the desired cooperative behavior and when a student behaves in an expected way, mark a tick in the chart.

This way you can also establish weekly cooperation goals and celebrate after achieving a milestone. Your chart must contain cooperation qualities like sharing with others, listening, compromise during conflicts, taking turns, etc.

3. Improving conflict resolution

It is very difficult to restore balance during conflicts, especially for students or teenagers when the adrenaline rush is high.

While better communications skills will also help you with conflict resolution, it might not alone be enough. Addressing conflicts for resolutions will help kids understand how to handle them.

If you are practicing in the classroom you can ask children to write their conflicts, instead of saying it. It not only helps them cool down but also allows them to accurately put across their opinion. Further, it also prevents any heated arguments and makes them feel heard.

4. Developing self-awareness

Self-awareness is so important to create a healthy and productive classroom environment. Self-discovery can help them walk out of troubling situations without having to explain it to anybody.

You can embrace it by creating a “take a break” corner in your classroom where students can visit any time of the day when their mind feels troubled. When they walk out of it, ask them what they discover.

This is not only beneficial for their educational career but also for their mental and emotional well-being. When young minds start to realize their own potential, their confidence gets a boost by multiple times.

5. Celebrating Empathy

Sympathy and empathy are two different things but often kids fail to recognize the differences and use them interchangeably.

While sympathy means to be sorrowful about someone’s situation, empathy is being able to understand their concerns. Encourage empathy in the classroom with various activities like asking the students to sit with someone new at lunch every day, working on a charity project, etc.

You should also boost random acts of kindness in the classroom under the supervision of an adult. But make sure the students know that kindness is also taking care of their own self.

Examples of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

New age leaders are widely accepting a human-centered approach to lead the organizations. They make efforts to align employees’ individual vision with the organization’s collective vision.

While you are at it, here are a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence is being used in leadership.

1. Maintaining Positive Mood

A good leader is one who can build and inculcate a warm and sustainable environment. A positive mood allows a leader to be comfortable and accurate while making important decisions and also paves the way for faster information processing.

While maintaining a positive mood can be difficult at times, it is one of the true challenges of leadership. Ensuring that changing situations don’t negatively impact the mindset of an individual is what makes a leader unique in their approach and value.

With high EQ, you are capable of controlling your emotions and thus stay positive at all times. This further ensures that your team is never in low spirits. 

2.Focus on processing emotions

A leader has to face various situations and be a part of a highly dynamic environment at work. Emotional intelligence means having the raw ability to control your responses and reactions and not let a situation control you.

When a leader knows the trick to anger management, they not only make the right decisions but also motivate their team better.

Goals aren’t achieved by reacting to every problem, they are achieved by processing both positive and negative emotions that emerge to focus on a solution.

Goals can only be achieved with the right balance of action and reaction.

3. Improving Communication skills

A true leader knows the importance of connecting with the team and the employees around them.

Communication is not just about tasks or assignments, it is about every minute detail ranging from perspectives, ideas, and sometimes a word of appreciation!

A deep understanding of communication while also rewarding learning behavior goes a long way in leadership. An enthusiastic leader is always around to help and connect with the emotions of the team.

A subtle pinch of clarity in words with the encouragement of independent work activity can build trust and a genuine bond of emotional connectivity between employees.

4. Boosting Enthusiasm

The passion and enthusiasm determine the focus of the organization. A leader with high levels of emotional intelligence will be able to boost the morale of the employees and also compel them to participate in group activities.

Especially in terms of creativity, a high EQ individual will encourage new experiences and flexible thought processes during meetings, to ensure that each member’s opinion is considered and nobody feels misunderstood.

Enthusiasm nurtures smart thinking and creates a significant bond among the team, making it a safe place for all sorts of opinions and discussions!

5. Growing Culture

A leader will have pure and genuine respect for his teammates while also maintaining integrity. Good momentum and positive synergy will bring a meaningful impact on the organization.

With the current network of events, happy customers and happy employees are an added plus. It is rightly said, culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner!

The boost in corporate culture is why some organizations flourish while some fail to climb the ladder. It falls on the leader to create this network, boost integrity and kindness amongst the people.

Examples of Emotional Intelligence in Movies

Movies are made to teach, share, and explore. From being a favorite pastime of many, movies are often used to bring out realities of life, to show the world to kids or to teens.

It is probably the reason why the best movies of all time are known to establish strong characters who have emotional intelligence on display. 

1. Inside Out

A movie that paints a very bright and colorful picture of the various dimensions of emotional intelligence, Inside Out, is a fabulous experience for any young kid who needs to understand the importance of EQ.

The movie revolves around a young girl whose life drastically changes but she learns to achieve a balance between five different emotions. With highs and lows, it teaches you the true reality of life and how your emotions will always be a part of you.

It proves how your emotions need to work together and you need to adapt to their existence. Emotions are a joyride that can take you to places, only if you let them!

2. Room

A critically acclaimed film, it proves the high emotional intelligence of a mother, who battles out all negativity for the safety of her child. It shows the stronghold of an individual who changes an entirely horrific environment to a warm and nourishing one for the benefit of her child.

Control, management, and empathy, the key features of EQ are emphasized shown in the movie. It talks about how nothing is impossible if you have high emotional intelligence, be it fighting inner demons or combating the evils of the world.

What’s your takeaway from the movie? That you always need to be strong from the inside.

3. Pursuit of Happiness

A power-packed movie that shows both aspects of EQ, an individual who is perseverant, happy, and committed on one hand and an individual with low emotional intelligence and lacks empathy.

The movie strikes a vivid contrast between someone who doesn’t let a crisis control his emotions with someone who becomes a part of emotional outbursts during difficult situations.

In the end, human relationships are tested but at the same time, deep bonds are forged. The movie was acclaimed because of the true portrayal of life in the city, the ups and the downs, the smiles, and the tears.

Emotional intelligence isn’t just always fixed, it varies based on experiences, learnings, and surroundings. Yet, if you can understand its true potential, you can be the best version of yourself.

4. Birdman

This movie teaches you the value of self-awareness as an important step towards personal development. Taking responsibility for your feelings and being in control allows the main character to finally take sensible decisions.

Moreover, it proves how stress and anxiety can torment a human and lead to negative occurrences in their life. However, high EQ pushes you to fight your demons and capitalize on the positive patterns in your life.

Birdman is raw and impeccable, leaving us with one truth: when you can be completely aware of your emotions, it is only then that you can make competent choices.

5. Whiplash

Andy, the main character of the movie, emerges victorious at the end due to his sheer self-motivation in achieving his dream. As a drummer, he trains and trains, without paying attention to the surrounding people and environment. His dreams? Fulfilled. His friends? Non-existent.

Whiplash doesn’t just teach you about figuring out a way to navigate through life whilst balancing your goals and your social life. It teaches you how even if you win at the end if it is you standing alone at the finish line, it just isn’t worth it.

Your emotions need to be well distributed and your attention well balanced. Focus on yourself but also focus on your relationships. A higher emotional intelligence will always keep you surrounded by people who care for you.

All that said and done, if you want to know how to recognize an emotionally intelligent person in the crowd… keep reading!

Emotional Intelligence Skills (Signs of an Emotionally Intelligent People)

EI or Emotional Intelligence can be seen in our daily lives only if you pay attention. So for people who fail to recognize emotional intelligence, here are some signs (or skills) that you are likely to notice in an emotionally intelligent person.

1. You have a good control on your thoughts

No one can control the kind of emotions you experience, but you can definitely control your reactions by focusing on your thoughts.

When you learn to control your thoughts, you prevent yourself from becoming a slave to your emotions. Instead, you can redirect your thoughts in a way that there’s harmony between your goals and values.

2. You empathize with others

Empathy, the ability to understand others’ feelings without judging them is very rarely found. People either show sympathy or be apathetic towards others.

Only people with a compassionate ear are capable of showing empathy towards others. Remember, empathy does not mean you need to agree to others’ opinions, it just means you need to understand them.

3. You don’t criticism at heart

Instead, you benefit from it.

Yep, not everyone can digest negative feedback. But people with high emotional intelligence know that it is a chance to learn only if you see it the right way.

So, while others are offended by the criticism, you seem to look for internal motivation to improve on the points.

4. You give constructive feedback

You know that negative feedback can hurt someone. So, you reframe it in a way that it is neither offending, nor biased. You provide constructive feedback so that no one is hurt and the message is also reached.

5. You are not afraid to apologize

Most people are so egoistic that the word “sorry” is dreaded. But you know that apologizing doesn’t always mean that you are wrong but means that you value the relationships more than your ego.

Plus, the humility that it shows automatically draws others towards you.

6. You think before you speak or act

If you know how to pause and reflect on your thoughts before saying or reacting to any situation in life, you are already an emotionally intelligent person.

It may seem easy to hear, but in practice, it is very difficult. However, once achieved, you will save yourself from making permanent decisions on temporary emotions.

7. You know how to “forgive and forget”

Resentment has the ability to kill you from inside. Even when the person at fault is happy and moved on, you keep on suffering.

People with high EQs understand this and thus practice the art of letting go. It gives you inner peace and the capability to forgive others.

8. You offer help

None of the accomplishments in life matter if you are not willing to invest them in others. As a social individual, you must be willing to help each other and contribute to society.

When you are always ready to offer help to the needy, you are already in a very good place to be able to build trust and establish healthy relationships.

9. You acknowledge

Humans crave appreciation. You recognize this craving and hence always make efforts to praise others’ efforts.

This way you also build trust in the process and also inspire them to be the best version of themselves.

10. You protect yourself from manipulation

Like everything, emotional intelligence also has a bad side – people who excel in it can manipulate others’ emotions for several selfish reasons.

You understand that and thus try to sharpen your own emotional intelligence and protect yourself from emotional sabotage.

11. You keep your word

“I am sorry, I won’t be able to come for dinner tonight” – relatable much? Of course, so many of us break agreements and commitments on a daily basis but only a few realize its impact.

Those who do try to keep their commitments – big or small – as it reflects a major part of your personality.

12. You value authenticity

Authenticity here means genuineness. You must always stick by your values and principles, irrespective of any situation in life.

If you are true to what you say, not everyone will like you. But people who matter you will.

13. You listen to others

Most people use hearing and listening, interchangeably. But here’s a revelation for you: they both are entirely different.

Listening is when you are actually processing all the thoughts and feelings the person is communicating to you while hearing is just the act of perceiving words by ear.

…and people who know how to manage their emotions, LISTEN.

14. You understand others perspectives

Every human is different with different perceptions, thought processes, and behaviors. In fact, sometimes emotional expression also varies from person to person.

People who are open to accepting this difference always find a common ground with others. It also helps them to make rational decisions while seeing all situations through the same glass.

15. You know how to facilitate thoughts

Facilitating thoughts is the art to generate, use, feel, and reason with emotions.

Recognizing, understanding, and choosing emotions and then adapting to the communication strategy helps you to manage others in a more humanized way.

It is extremely difficult to practice it but once done, you will be able to reduce complaints from others and become a people’s favorite.

So, this was about emotionally intelligent people. But those who are not so adept emotionally must be asking…

Can Emotional Intelligence be Taught and Learned?

Since EQ or Emotional quotient has to do with emotions, most people think that it is inborn. Whereas, the answer is completely opposite. You CAN learn and strengthen your ability to manage emotions.

A study revealed that almost 50% of kids in Social and Emotional Learning Programs scored 40% improved grade-point-average. Further, these programs also showed lower suspension rates, reduced disciplinary problems, and better achievement scores.

Long story short, with continuous efforts, EQ can definitely be taught by parents, teachers, coaches, and other practitioners.

Now that you know it can be learned, you know it can also be improved. Here’s how!

How to Improve Emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence and its management is a diverse yet crucial spectrum of human life. Yet only a few can master it.

From developing a deeper insight into your feelings while also committing to the process, I have enlisted a few ways with which you can improve your emotional intelligence for lifelong benefit!

1. Let the music guide you

Music has been found to enhance the perception of emotions and stimulate the brain in a positive direction. Different tunes trigger different memories and reactions, letting you know yourself better and dive deep into your past.

Emotional intelligence is all about accepting your past, focusing on your present to experience freedom in your future. Let music find its way to the secret places of your soul, letting you breathe in the warmth of happiness that it brings along!

2. Take inspiration from movies

With zillions of movies out there, each film can teach us a lesson on its own. From being emotionally attached to a character, crying during a character’s wedding, laughing during a funny sequence, or just finding yourself in a story, movies inspire you to contemplate and connect.

It makes you wonder, how things would have been if you had faced a similar situation or what else can you do to achieve your dream.

Well, movies thrive on the best stories told via some of the best characters possessing a high emotional intelligence level. It is time that we take some learnings from these characters.

3. Practise paying attention to yourself

Putting a little effort into consciously being aware of your behavior, around family or friends, at work, or during a corporate gathering, can help you know why you are experiencing certain feelings or why you are reacting differently to a situation at hand.

Pay attention to your trigger points and to your sentiments, only after which you will be able to improve your overall productivity and emotional health.

4. Be willing to take responsibility

Owning up to your reactions, emotional outbursts and feelings is the most important yet difficult task when it comes to improving EQ. Embrace your feelings and accept the reality that they are your responsibility.

Nobody else can tell you how to feel, what to feel, and when to react. Let your own experiences guide you but focus on responsibly behaving as well. This will not only let you have more faith in yourself but you’ll fall in love with yourself all over again.

5. Focus on physical activity

Working on your fitness and playing sports allows you to be in a competitive and stressful environment regularly. This helps you keep a check on your emotions while also providing you a window of opportunity daily to get rid of negative feelings.

Physiological stress responses are directly related to Emotional intelligence, whereas physical training can improve your EQ. Moreover, a better EQ often helps athletes perform better, due to better focus and vision.

6. Write it down

Writing down your feelings or about your day can provide you with the desired peace. A step towards improving your emotional health can reduce the impact of traumatic occurrences in your life.

A tried and tested formula, keep your thoughts locked safely in a diary, throw out the anger or negative vibes, and feel fresh as a daisy to start your day.

7. Take a break to travel

You know how they say, ‘Take only memories, leave only footprints.’ Well, what traveling is to your soul what water is to the soil, it brings in freshness, a smile, and a heart full of energy.

Taking a vacation to explore a new city, meet new people, or just enjoy the view of nature, will make you come to terms with your true self. It brings in emotional stability and growth while allowing you to face new challenges.

8. Acknowledge the situation

To clarify, emotional intelligence means accepting your feelings, not running away from them. Acknowledging your feelings, depending on different situations is about being honest with yourself.

Be curious in your approach, explore your feelings, and be open to reason with yourself. Emotional intelligence is about personal leadership while achieving the goal of emotional wealth.

9. Feel certain and confident

Emotions might arise due to different instances yet the basket size of them is limited. For any individual, there are a certain set of emotions that they deal with regularly.

To improve your EQ, you need to find confidence in your capability to deal with these different emotions. The best way is to do that is to find memories where you have emerged victorious before in similar situations because if you could do it back then, you can definitely handle it now.

Emotional intelligence allows you to find repeated success, in solving problems or in handling stress.

10. Take a nap

Sleep deprivation is a disastrous mistake as it increases emotional reactivity and puts you in a tight spot of elevated expressivity. Whenever you feel exhausted, chances of emotional outbursts rise multifold.

A good nap improves your grasp over your emotions, lets you calm down, and enhances your positive mood. Sleep is a larger version of meditation, it soothes your soul, energizes your mind, and relaxes your heart.

11. Empathize with others’ feelings

Improving emotional intelligence is also about improving your ability to attune to the feelings of those around you. The building block of human relationships is trust and compassion. Be empathetic to the situation of others, try standing in their shoes for once, and craft your response accordingly.  

When you work on this, it allows you to be more perceptive and thoughtful, increasing your awareness and inquisitiveness at the same time.

12. Take the first step

The first step in developing emotional intelligence is understanding and accepting the fact that it is a long-term process. You need to keep learning it and try to jump the blocks as and when you bump into them.

It is about working on each trick and tip, but it is also about being consistent. Emotional intelligence surely brings you growth, but you need to give it time and show patience.

13. Meet new people

Your environment plays a primary role in your emotional well-being. It pushes you to think in a certain direction, resonates with your feelings, and interacts with you constantly.

To improve your emotional intelligence, you have to put in the extra effort to nurture a positive environment around you.

Meeting good people, spending time with friends, deleting toxicity, and finding your space, will all aid you in assessing your emotions better. Better assessment means better results and better results mean better EQ.

14. Respond often

People with higher emotional intelligence ensure that they consciously respond to a problem rather than involuntarily reacting every time.

Responding means taking your time in knowing how you feel and then being decisive about how you want to embrace it.

Reactions are often brutal, responsible for breaking bonds or taking a toll on our minds. Learn to adapt and respond, rather than going with the flow.

15. Play video games

Video gaming can be an escape from reality. Make-believe games help anyone to control aggression and manage anger. Video games are known to have a negative impact too, but their limited use can boost morale and improve empathy.

Different gaming characters put children and young adults in different spots, different tests, and make them face multiple problems.

Helping you learn social skills; video games can be a new way to make the emotional button work better.

The list is never-ending… but as a beginner, this is all you need. Until now, you have just explored the positive sides of EQ. Most of you must be asking “Is there even a negative side to it?”

Oh yes, it does. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is all roses.

So, to keep you wholly informed, you must know…

Criticism of Emotional Intelligence

Even though EI has been established as an influential concept, some psychologists have a contradicting point of view. They don’t entirely agree with its viability as a ground-breaking concept.

Let me help you identify a few pitfalls or criticism against Emotional Intelligence:

1. Old Theory

Psychologists like John Peterson argue that EI is nothing but an old theory wrapped into a new one. He further says that it is not a “psychometrically valid concept” and the tests so conducted lack authenticity.

2. Manipulative

Researcher and professor Adam Grants argue that people with a high degree of EQ can also use it for manipulative and disruptive reasons. Now since they know how to control their emotions, they can show their true emotions at their will and for their benefit.

3. Absence of Innovation

Some research has also suggested that people with strong emotional intelligence may be less creative or innovative. 

4. Diplomatic

An emotionally intelligent person is also very less likely to give honest negative feedback as they might be scared of hurting the listener.

If you wish to learn more, here are some.

Emotional Intelligence TEDx, Movies, and YouTube Videos

For those who like visual learning and would love to explore more about this fascinating topic, here is a light of Ted Talks, movies, and YouTube videos that you can watch at your convenience.

1. The Power of Emotional Intelligence TEDTalk by Travis Bradberry

This ted talk by the author of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 explains how improving emotional intelligence can help you sail through difficult situations. He further explains that measures of emotional intelligence can be taught, unlike cognitive intelligence.

2. What is Emotional Intelligence from The School of Life

A fun, animated, and easy-to-understand video that will help you decode emotional intelligence without any roadblocks. This video also helps you understand how now learning about EI has been creating a learning gap among the masses.

3. Daniel Goleman Introduces Emotional Intelligence from Big Think

Daniel Goleman, the father of Emotional Intelligence takes a dig into explaining the concept. Along with that he also argues that women on average are better than men at empathy and men tend to be better at self-confidence.

4. The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage TED Talk from Susan David

This Ted talk by psychologist Susan David is a take on the power of emotions. She explains how understanding and management of emotions will impact every aspect of our lives.

5. 6 Steps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence TED Talk from Ramona Hacker

Another Ted Talk where the speaker explains the steps to increasing your emotional intelligence. She also explains with a real-time experience that people who lack emotional intelligence fail to manage stress in life and face a really difficult time.

But if you are a book person, we also have…

Top 5 Emotional Intelligence Books

Books can give a deeper insight into any topic. So, if you have reached this point of this think-piece, there are high chances you are really interested in the topic.

So, here are my favorite picks that help you explore Emotional Intelligence.

1. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 

– by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 succinctly explains how to deal with emotions creatively and employ our intelligence in a beneficial way,” says the Dalai Lama for this book that is entirely focused on developing emotional intelligence.

Backed with research and real-time insights, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 convinces you that EQ is more important than IQ.

2. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ 

– by Daniel Goleman

The New York Times bestseller, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman first introduced this concept of EQ. He declares that people who are successful in life know the art of relationship management.

Daniel Goleman is often referred to as the father of Emotional Intelligence and has published many books explaining the concept in detail. In this book, he takes a dig into why EQ is a winner when battling with IQ.

3. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence 

– by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee

This book is for all the leaders who wish to become emotionally intelligent leaders. Affirming the importance of emotional intelligence leadership, this book has been widely acknowledged and embraced by leaders across the globe.

Further, the authors take a detailed dive into why social awareness, self-awareness, and empathy are important in today’s economically volatile and tech-dominated world. 

4. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence 

– by Harvard Business Review, Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, Annie McKee, and Sydney Finkelstein 

This book is a compilation of best Emotional Intelligence articles published in the Harvard Business Review archive and is meant for those who are confused about where to start reading about the topic.

This collection of articles from renowned authors will help you improve your emotional intelligence and achieve a happy work life.

5. EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence

– by Justin Bariso

This bestselling emotional intelligence book is a peek into the real-world EQ backed by scientific research and wholesome examples. Further, with EQ applied, the author also teaches you how to redirect your thoughts in a way that helps achieve your goals.

This book makes you emotionally aware and hones your emotional intelligence skills to help you make wiser decisions in life.

A Word from ThePleasantMind

Success in life is determined by many factors.

While some are in your control, the others are not.

The good news is both EQ and IQ are very much in your control and can be improved.

So, focus on improving your cognitive as well as emotional skills.

Because only a healthy balance of both will help you achieve what you have always desired.

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