Emotional Intelligence: The Practical Need and Common Misconception

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By: Imgbian Caleb

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to understand yourself and live with people. In a more standard definition from Help Guide, it is the ability to understand and manage your emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict (2023). Emotional intelligence makes a person better in every sphere of life because of the understanding you have of yourself. It is commonly defined by four attributes: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management. It is easy to dismiss the idea of Emotional intelligence or think about it as a far-fetched idea because there are a lot of people who lack the skill. The most practical way of acquiring the skill of Emotional intelligence is by journaling. 

The Relationship Between Journaling & EQ 

According to a 2017 survey by the Mind charity organization in England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. The same survey states how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing. Our psychological thoughts about how we view the world and ourselves can be dangerous to us if we don’t understand or work on them. Journaling is a form of self-expression and communication with your inner angel or demons. Journaling is also about making lists and plans, writing about gratitude, or filling out a planner. The beauty of journaling is nobody has to read it, which paves the way for total honesty with yourself: painful reflections, embarrassing moments, uncovering psychological trauma that might be limiting or hunting you. In recent years, the concept of journaling has become popular but few people keep journals about themselves. Mainly because they don’t know the importance or they can’t do it alone because of their current state of mind. In this case, joining a group setting would be helpful. Seeing and hearing how people’s lives were impacted and changed by journaling could be inspiring enough to help you understand and journal your way to emotional intelligence.

The Benefits of Journaling for EQ

Better Self-Awareness in Most Situations: A person with emotional intelligence can handle most situations he or she finds themselves in because they are likely to understand the social requirements of the situation, and they are good at relationship management. That’s not to say they can never get stuck or get in messy situations. They are likely to handle any situation and prevent it from escalating to a bigger problem compared to a person with less emotional intelligence.

Better Emotional Control and Less Triggered: The whole point or idea of journaling and emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control your emotions which can be a powerful tool. A person with emotional intelligence is less likely to react even in a tense situation. Not because they are scared or they don’t have a temper but because they understand there are better ways to handle tense situations that benefit everyone. They are likely to express their displeasure verbally rather than react. They are effective communicators.

Better at Learning From Experience: It takes discipline to be able to be emotionally intelligent. This is because every experience is an opportunity to learn, not just pass through. Journals are like an external hard disk of experiences that help emotional intelligence learn from their experiences. This makes them aware of the situations they put themselves in, which makes them able to handle them better. 

Developing Better Leadership Skills

With the above benefits listed, it will be fair to say that people with high emotional intelligence make better leaders. Joseph LeDoux, a neurologist and researcher at the Centre for Neurological Sciences in New York, refuted traditional views of neurology on the operation of our limbic brain. Based on LeDoux’s analyses of his research data, Daniel Goleman formed a model of emotional intelligence that connects an individual’s set of skills powered by the brain dynamics in the background with one’s reactions. He divided emotionally intelligent skills into two groups. The first group indicates abilities for successful management of ourselves as individuals, while the second group determines how receptive we are to the guidance of others

The Common Misconception About Journaling and EQ

The common misconception about journaling and Emotional intelligence are that they are specific to a particular gender. Though men and women both have emotions, the general perception is that women are more emotional than men. It was common knowledge that women are better than men at placing themselves in other people’s shoes, but now science backs up that statement. Empathy—the ability to understand, imagine, or share the emotions others may be feeling—is a critical characteristic to have in pretty much every avenue of life, especially business. 

According to a study published recently in the journal The Proceedings of National Academy of science (PNAS) by researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK, it looks at a particular form of empathy, something scientists call “theory of mind” or “cognitive empathy.” On the other hand, men fear vulnerability because they don’t want to be perceived as weak by society. 80% of suicide cases are men and women are often more victims of domestic violence, which most times leaves them traumatised. Journaling for Emotional intelligence is not gender specific, it is for both genders to be better to one another. 

Being Emotional is the Same as EQ

Being an emotional person is never a bad thing. However, sometimes it can be a bit too much. Having control of your emotions and knowing how to use them positively is the skill emotionally intelligent people possess. Journaling is a good form of mastering our emotions and learning what triggers them.

Emotional intelligence is an essential skill for anybody to have. Like every other skill, one of the most effective ways to acquire the skill of Emotional intelligence is through journaling. Journaling can only bring you good things: improvements to your mental and physical health, memory, relationships, and productivity. What’s most important—it doesn’t cost anything. All you need is a notebook and pen, or a journal app, and some motivation. You can begin journaling toward improving your emotional intelligence alone or in a group with The Love Story by clicking on the link below.

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Benefits of journaling: The science and philosophy behind keeping a diary. Intelligent Change. https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/read/benefits-of-journaling

Christensen, J. (2022, December 27). All around the world, women are better empathizers than men, study finds. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/12/26/health/empathy-women-men/index.html 

Hill, R. (2021, August 14). 9 common misconceptions about emotional intelligence. Rachel Hill. https://www.rachelhill.co.nz/blog/9-misconceptions-about-eq

Lazovic, S. (2012). The role and importance of emotional intelligence in knowledge management. Make Learn. https://issbs.si/press/ISBN/978-961-6813-10-5/papers/ML12_148.pdf

Mental health facts and statistics. (2017). Mind for Better Mental Health. https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/2958/statistics-facts-2017.pdf 

Segal, J., Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Shubin, J. (2023, January 9). Improving emotional intelligence (EQ). Help Guide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/emotional-intelligence-eq.htm

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