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Emotional intelligence is a term coined by Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” and in his book, he explains what it means and five components of it. And honestly, I believe I have to agree with him, that it matters more than IQ- here’s why.

Intelligence is defined as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. And emotional intelligence isn’t much different, aside from the fact that it applies to learning about emotions and how to manage them to improve your life.

The term IQ means intelligence quotient, and EQ means emotional quotient. Your EQ defines how well you manage your emotions and apply what you learn about them to real life. Goleman breaks emotional intelligence into five basic categories and explains what it means to use them. Here are the 5 components referenced in his groundbreaking book.

1. Self-awareness.

Being self-aware means that you understand how your mind works, and are aware of your emotions and how you handle them. Even if you haven’t learned how to manage your own emotions just yet, you can become more self-aware. Start by naming your emotions. For example, when you are at work, and trying to learn how to manage a new position, you may feel anxious. By naming your emotions, you learn to recognize what brings them own, and also draw awareness to your limitations and strengths.

2. Self-regulation.

Self-regulation is the ability to manage how you react to your emotions. While this isn’t always something we are equipped to do when we begin our journey towards self-awareness, much like any skill, self-regulation can be practiced and we can improve in it. When you notice an emotion, don’t immediately react. Oftentimes, in the heat of the moment, we want to react immediately. But, emotions do not always merit action. For example, say that you drop your plate of food on the floor on the way to the table. In the heat of the moment, you become angry- you want to stomp and scream and yell. Instead, you sit down and breathe through it until you are calm again. Then, you clean up the mess.

3. Motivation

When we are motivated, we yearn for personal development and growth. And while we often expect motivation to just come to us, experts say that motivation is the product of action, not the creator. What I mean, is that if you wake up and need to clean your house, but lack the motivation, push yourself to at least get started. Do the easiest preparations (gathering your tools) and since your body knows once you get started on a project that will satisfy you, it releases dopamine, which causes you to feel motivated. This is called the do something principle and there’s more on that in the video below.

4. Empathy

Empathy is our ability to notice, understand and feel the emotions of others. When you are talking to someone and notice when they discuss something painful to them and feel sad for them and with them, you are experiencing empathy.

5. Social Skills

Having social skills is the ability to listen to others, respond accordingly, maintain eye contact, hold a conversation and work alongside others. Social skills are important because social interaction is most definitely necessary for us to play a role in the world around us. And socializing with friends and family can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. If you struggle with your social skills (we all do sometimes) here is a great video about how to improve them.