What is Emotional Intelligence?
EXPERTS NOW GENERALLY CREDIT A CHILD’S EQ (EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE) WITH BEING A MORE ACCURATE PREDICTOR OF SUCCESS IN LIFE THAN HIS OR HER IQ.
That’s a switch! Goleman, author of the book Emotional Intelligence (1995), was delighted when his book globalized the concept!
Emotional intelligence has four pillars: *
- The ability to be self-aware of our emotions as they show up.
- The ability to self-regulate – manage them, a tall order when they are quite strong!
- The development of empathy.
- The development of social skills, or the ability to listen and problem-solve so that situations don’t escalate.
The two areas of the brain that help us define Emotional Intelligence are:
- The limbic system, an age-old alarm system since our cave-man days. It includes our amygdala which, when it perceives a threat, downloads the impulse to our brain stem which delivers loads of adrenalin to make us drop everything and prepare for a “fight, flight or freeze” reaction. It’s a very emotional response!
- The PFC (Pre-Frontal Cortex) affectionately known as the “thinking part” of our brain. The PFC can’t problem-solve good responses to stressful situations with all that adrenalin and cortisol flooding it, so we learn to employ the emotional intelligence pillars to calm everything down. That way, our limbic system doesn’t “hijack” our thinking brain, and we can successfully work through those intense moments.
Good coaching helps you and your family
become more emotionally intelligent.
SO WHAT DOES EQ LOOK LOOK LIKE IN A TYPICAL SCHOOL CONFLICT?
Let’s say Billy breaks in line in front of Sarah. If Sarah has a high EQ, she will first become aware that her emotions are about to hijack her brain and make her shove Billy back where he ought to be! That awareness sets into motion self-regulation, like taking a deep breath, counting to 10, tightening and releasing her fists. The relative calm this produces sends the situation up to Sarah’s PFC (Pre-Frontal Cortex) in the blink of an eye, where it can problem-solve, for a more socially acceptable solution to the problem.
Sarah can now choose to calmly confront Billy or report it to the teacher for help. However, Sarah’s EQ may have kicked in her empathy. In that case, she may have noticed that Billy is just having a difficult time today, and needs a break. So, it’s not worth falling on her sword for her place in line…this time. Communication and connection is intact, Sarah is contented and Billy relaxes because it seems to him Sarah might just be a friend.
Sarah has acted in a resilient fashion and Billy has a new friend. Can’t we all use a bit more EQ in our lives?
Susan Townsend Holt