You may have heard of IQ, which, in a nutshell, measures how intelligent you are based on how you think through things and how you solve problems.
You also have something called emotional intelligence, which is sort of similar to IQ. Instead of measuring how intelligent you are when it comes to coming up with solutions to everyday problems, emotional intelligence focuses instead on how aware you are of not just how you are feeling, but how people around you are feeling, too.
Emotional intelligence has the potential to predict a lot of things about you, including how well you will be able to maintain relationships with friends, loved ones, those you work with and more.
What exactly is emotional intelligence, broken down into its components? How does having a higher emotional intelligence benefit someone in the real world? Take a quick and free online quiz to test your own emotional intelligence and find out ways you can work to improve your emotional intelligence over time.
What is emotional intelligence?
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measure of a person’s ability to think and solve problems. A similar definition can be applied when we talk about emotions. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a measure of how well you can identify and handle your own emotions and the emotions of those around you.
Being considered emotionally intelligent means that you are, in general, adequately aware of your own emotional state at any given moment as well as the emotional states of other people you interact with.
Emotionally intelligent people can also apply emotions to specific tasks and control how they are feeling. They are also able to make other people feel better or calm them down if they are stressed or upset.
What is the benefit of having higher emotional intelligence?
Having a high emotional intelligence is a good characteristic when it comes to relationships. The more aware you are of how you are feeling when you interact with people, as well as how they are feeling when they interact with you, means you are most likely going to have an easier time relating to others.
In general, people with higher emotional intelligence are more empathetic and gracious. They understand that when someone is upset, in their mind, it is a problem worth being upset over.
Whereas someone with lower emotional intelligence might tell a friend to “get over it, there are people much worse off than you,” someone with higher emotional intelligence will comfort their friend and offer to listen to their account of what is bothering them, even if they do not offer specific advice.
People who are emotionally intelligent are also more self-aware and are more likely to be able to maintain work-life balance. They still get stressed and have strong emotions, but they are better able to control them. If you are more emotionally intelligent, you will be able to identify when you are starting to burn out and will be able to take steps to take care of yourself before the problem gets worse.
Here’s how to test your level of emotional intelligence
There are several ways to identify how emotionally intelligent you are in social situations. You could think back on a few recent encounters with friends or co-workers and identify how you handled different situations in both good and bad ways. You could also take a free online assessment.
Such an assessment will ask you questions about how you react to stress and apply that knowledge to more situational questions, such as how you would react if a professor gave you a grade on a project you didn’t think you deserved. Once you have answered all the questions, you will receive either a below average, average or above average emotional intelligence score.
Take this free quiz to see where your emotional intelligence quotient score falls.
Not as emotionally intelligent as you thought? Here’s how to get better
- Self-awareness: Take steps to become more self-aware. Meditation is great for exercising this skill. Learn to pay attention to how you are feeling and reacting to those feelings and teach yourself to be more aware of how those reactions affect those around you.
- Empathy: Practice better listening. Sometimes when a friend comes to us with a problem, it’s our first instinct to jump right in and help them solve it. Instead, do your best to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes empathy comes easier when we let people open up to us without offering anything else to them in return.
- Self-regulation: Not only is it necessary to be aware of your emotions: you should be able to control them, too. Do you anger easily? Take things too personally? Practice stepping back and identifying why you are feeling a specific emotion before you let yourself react.
- Motivation: Emotional intelligence requires that you are not only aware of emotions and can control them, but that you are able to influence the emotions of other people (in a good way). In order to do what is necessary to help someone else feel better when they are sad or help them cool off if they are frustrated or angry, you need to have a good reason for doing so. Always keep your mind focused on how your efforts are helping the other person. In order to truly help someone else, you need to be able to take the focus off of you and how you will benefit from these kinds of interactions.
Emotional intelligence, overall, makes you a better person. It makes you more approachable and trustworthy. People who know you have a higher emotional intelligence just by interacting with you regularly can be confident that they can come to you with their concerns and talk things out in a calm, professional manner.
Always remember that even if you have an above-average emotional intelligence quotient, that does not mean you cannot continuously work to better yourself and the way you interact with others. There is always room to improve, especially if you want to maintain the best possible relationships with those you care about most.