The “big deal” about Emotional Intelligence

Is having emotional intelligence (EI) important? Does having a low or high EQ (emotional quotient) actually matter?

Why is it important?

Believe it or not, it does matter- A LOT. Your emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), the lack thereof, and the development of it, is one of the ways we connect with, and understand, other people. Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to identify, be aware of, manage and express one’s emotions, as well as be able to identify and be aware of the emotions of others.
This form of intelligence is comprised of five (5) key aspects, according to Daniel Goleman, an American Psychologist. It includes:

Self-awareness involves being able to recognize, notice and identify the emotions you are currently feeling, or any thoughts you might currently be having. In order to become more self-aware, you must be able to recognize how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. You are able to come to a conclusion on what is causing you to feel a particular way and can take steps towards changing any negative thoughts you might be having, that might be causing you to be in a bad mood. This leads us to the second element.

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This aspect involves being able to control those feelings, thoughts and emotions you might be having. The ability to control your emotions is essentially thinking before you act. You are consciously aware of how you are feeling and are able to choose an appropriate response to a given situation.


Empathy is the ability to relate to how another person feels in any given situation.

Social skills

Communicating well with others is very important for increasing your emotional intelligence. By being able to improve your social skills you will be able to interact with others better both verbal and non-verbally.


Being able to find ways to motivate yourself when you might feel like giving up is sometimes very hard, but it’s definitely necessary, especially when others aren’t around to do it for you.

How do I increase my Emotional Intelligence?

You can definitely increase your emotional intelligence over time by practicing and implementing a few daily/ weekly habits into your routine. Here’s how you can improve your emotional intelligence based on its five (5) components:

Self- awareness, and Self-regulation

In order to become more self-aware, you need to work on being more patient, observant, calm, and intone with your body and your mind. Self-awareness and self-regulation work hand in hand, as once you are more self-aware of your emotions and feelings, you will be better able to control your actions. Some activities, strategies, and techniques that you can use to begin to improve your self-awareness and self-regulation include:
  • Doing grounded breathing exercises or meditating at least twice a week to start, and slowly try doing them once a day. By doing one or both of these activities you may realize:
    • how many thoughts run through your mind
    • how easy or hard it is for you to relax or clear your mind
    • how tense you are in different parts of your body
  • Start identifying your feelings in as many situations as possible, especially your negative feelings. Identifying your negative feelings will allow you to be more cognizant of your mood at that moment, and how a particular situation or person is making you feel based on your perception or thoughts about it/ them. Once you are able to identify this, you can take a minute to figure out your best course of action.
  • Asking for feedback/ positive criticism helps you to be more aware of how others are receiving what you are saying, and will help you learn how to communicate or express yourself a bit better. It may also help you become a better listener, which is a key quality of being a great communicator and being more self-aware.
  •  Start paying attention to other people’s verbal and non-verbal responses/ reactions to get a better understanding of how your messages are being received and interpreted.
  • Take at least 15 minutes at the end of the day, to reflect on how you are feeling, how the day went- what you didn’t like and what you did like, or what you accomplished or didn’t get to do. Write these things down in a journal or in an app on your phone.


Becoming more empathetic means putting yourself in another person’s shoes. It means trying to understand how they feel about a particular situation and responding or acting in a way that lets them know you care. Here are three (3) ways that you can increase your empathy:
  1. Look at situations from a different perspective
    Whenever you encounter a situation, whether it is being told to you or you are a part of it, notice what your thoughts and feelings are. Once you have identified your thoughts and feelings, consider what the other person might be feeling and what they might be thinking. Consider what you might be thinking and feeling if you actually were them (their personality, their situation, their environment, their everything).
  2. Watch different movies– comedy, action, romance, horror, etc, and really put yourself in the shoes of at least one (1) of the characters in that movie. Imagine that you are them, experiencing the same events they are throughout the movie.
  3. Meditate
    Yes, meditation can help you become more empathetic as well as increase your self-awareness and help you to regulate your feelings. By having a quiet and calm mind you will be more in tune with another person’s verbal and non-verbal responses and be able to connect deeper with their feelings.

Social Skills

Increasing your social skills might seem a bit difficult since many of our interactions are now done virtually. However, increasing your social skills doesn’t just mean getting better at speaking to people face-to-face. Your social skills encompass you being able to do the following:
  1. Be aware of and control your facial expressions
  2. Handle conflict resolution well
  3. Welcome constructive criticism
  4. Stating your views while respecting someone else’s views
  5. Knowing when to just listen and when it’s time to respond


The journey to becoming self-motivated starts with you understanding what makes you happy, feel invincible, and in a generally positive and uplifting mood. It could be as simple as listening to your favourite song, eating your favourite food, or feeling good once you have completed a task. Once you have thought about and come to a conclusion about what makes you feel happy, invincible and in a good mood, begin to practice incorporating more of those things or activities into your daily routine to give yourself a bit of a mood booster, even if you don’t think you need one. Then, try doing the three (3) following suggestions:
  1. Celebrate the small and big accomplishments– these could be as small as waking up early in the morning, to as big as completing a huge project you’ve been working on.
  2.  Create a smaller to-do list- make your daily to-do list more realistic. If you have a more realistic to-do list, then what you need to do for the day won’t look as daunting and overwhelming.
  3. Boost your energy levels by eating more mood-boosting foods– you can check out our blog post, Does what we eat really affect our mood?  to learn more about the different types of foods you can eat to increase your feel-good hormones and put you in an overall better mood!
Your EQ is just as important as your IQ. Your emotional intelligence allows you to connect and interact on a deeper level with those around you. You will not only be talking about facts, but you will be feeling and acknowledging the emotions that come with the facts. The emotions and feelings that accompany the words that we speak.
If you work on improving the five (5) components that make up emotional intelligence, you will see a change in the way you think about yourself, others, and the world around you. Your perspective will change, and thus your interactions with others will change as well.
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