13 Jul Relationship Between Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence
The emphasis on emotions as being the basis of intelligence is a relatively new concept. With a world obsessed with intelligence quotient for centuries, a sudden turn towards emotional quotient and emotional intelligence has decimated many prevailing theories and philosophies whose basis was intelligence.
Now, it has become more acceptable around the world that just having intelligence, devoid of emotions, won’t take a person far. Our society is plagued with people who are geniuses but deep down are emotional wrecks. And that is so true. What is the advantage of being intelligent or emphasizing on it so much if we cannot use it constructively to direct our lives towards betterment?
Also, let us not forget that higher intelligence also brings with it a certain kind of arrogance, which has been the reason for the downfall of many individuals, corporations and nations.
Now that we have some reasons to believe that emotional intelligence is an important determinant of a person’s success and happiness; the question arises as to how can we manage these emotions.
The solution to that seems to be “mindfulness.”
Yes, mindfulness experiments have proved that people who practice it regularly, are able to get a handle over their emotions in a much better manner and much more quickly than traditional methods of therapies and mind control.
Let’s analyze each idea individually so that we have a better grasp of the subject.
A simple definition of emotional intelligence states that it is the ability of a person to discern and control his own emotions and understand and manage the emotions of people around him.
There are three aspects to emotional intelligence:
- being aware of your emotions
- being able to apply your emotions appropriately
- being able to manage your emotions
Mindfulness is characterized by the state of mind when it is aware of something Let’s see how mindfulness helps one develop one’s emotional intelligence:-
1. You can understand clearly your own emotions
Though many people who are successful are known to be able to manage their emotions successfully, some people are just not able to do that. Besides, it takes a lot of time and effort to bring your emotions under control.
In such a scenario people who are conscious and aware of their emotions were able to reign in their emotions in a much efficient manner without wallowing in it or giving it any unnecessary vent. In one of the experiments, one of the executives in a leadership position who worked in high-stress environments and whose work was at a standstill, and was fearful of being fired, was taught the mindfulness technique to better control his emotions.
Initially, he felt a bit unnerved as it would mean not giving a full play to this potential. But over time, the results he was able to achieve were startling:
- employees reporting to him who initially were unproductive because of his micromanaging and controlling behavior, suddenly started to be more productive and jovial
- his team was able to achieve the sales targets, which they were not able to achieve in the preceding few months
- a feedback from his subordinates revealed that he scored well on indicators such as — team management, conflict resolution, empathy, persuasion skills, etc.
Not just this, but experiments after experiments have proved that mindfulness is the key to enhancing one’s emotional intelligence and resilience. Thus, being aware of once emotions is the first step in that direction.
2. Recognizing other people’s emotions also becomes easier
This is the natural fallout of the first step, that of - being aware of and identifying one’s own emotions.
Once you recognize your own emotions and how you react and why you do what you do, you will be able to better understand other people, how they process their emotions and the reason for their behavior.
If there is any conflict or friction between you and the others, because of awareness of your own emotions and its better management, you will not lose your cool and will be able to reason out the situation.
Some experts argue that it is not mindfulness that gives rise to emotional intelligence in a person, rather it is the emotional intelligence of a person that makes one mindful or aware of one’s emotions.
In the above experiment it was observed that it was increased self-awareness in the lives of the executives which lead them to alter certain behaviours. Thus, these proponents of emotional intelligence do not believe in the theory that mindfulness is responsible for the increase in the emotional intelligence of a person.
3. It gives you the power to manage your emotions better
Once you are able to identify your own emotions and you are aware of it, you can not only recognise other people’s emotions, but managing your own emotions becomes simple.
Though it takes practice to overcome years of emotional conditioning, once you are regular with mindfulness, you shall soon be able to direct and control your life in a manner consistent with your highest purpose, regardless of how rattled you are.