Have you ever met someone and felt immediately connected to them?
Do you have people in your circle that you continually feel understood and validated by?
Is there someone in your life that is a “go to” in the confusing times of your life?
Those individuals are likely very emotionally intelligent individuals, and you should consider yourself lucky to have them in your life! Emotional intelligence (EQ) is characterized by the ability to comprehend, utilize, and manage one’s emotions in a constructive manner. Emotionally intelligent individuals can regulate emotions to alleviate stress, manage conflict, communicate efficiently, empathize with others and face challenges successfully. These skills play a huge role in a child’s success in relationships, mental health, physical health, personal achievements, and over all wellbeing. The earlier children increase their EQ the more their lives will be positively affected by it.
EQ vs. IQ
Psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of many books that shine light on emotional intelligence, suggests that EQ is equally and sometimes more important than IQ (Goleman, 2007). IQ (intelligence quotient) is a number that identifies one’s general cognitive capabilities such as working memory, short-term memory, fluid reasoning, quantitative reasoning, visual and spatial processing, and overall knowledge of the world. Individuals with high IQ’s typically do well in academics, are good critical thinkers, logical and tend to be overall high achievers in life (Richardson & Norgate, 2015).
EQ (emotional quotient) is a number that identifies one’s emotional competence and involves recognizing, regulating, and using emotions. Individuals with high EQ’s are typically motivated, empathetic, good in relationships, can self-regulate and are very self-aware. There are times when book smarts cannot make up for social awareness. A variety of companies use EQ tests for hiring employees because individuals with high EQ’s tend to be great supervisors due to leadership qualities they possess (Brown, 2018).
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence has so many benefits that can last a lifetime. Many schools are beginning to offer classes that are focused on social/emotional learning that can increase a child’s emotional intelligence. Here are just some of the benefits EQ has to offer:
· Helps build secure bonds with others
· Increases creativity
· Builds character
· Forms resiliency
· Enables managing conflicts
· Stress relief
· Gain proper communication skills
· Builds empathy
· Increases achievement of goals
· Helps identify and manage feelings
· Heightened self-awareness
· Sharpens listening skills
How to Increase Emotional Intelligence
Some are born or raised with more emotional intelligence than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase it at any point in life. There are specific ways one can increase EQ. Here are just some of the many scientifically based ways to increase one’s level of emotional intelligence:
· Mindfulness- Slowing down and intently focusing on the present moment can heighten self and other awareness, help children make good choices, gives them time to process emotions and increases satisfaction in everyday life (Amundsen et al., 2020).
· Goal setting- Increases self-efficacy, clarity, motivation, gives children a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as helping them focus and properly organize and utilize resources (Shermukhammadov, 2022).
· Journaling- Gives children a chance to put their thoughts down on paper, instead of bottling them up. Increases the ability to organize thought, identify and communicate emotions and cognitively restructure unhelpful thought patterns. Can also offer a child the chance to look back at old journal entries and see the progress they have made (Gonzales, 2022).
· Change your thoughts- Also known as cognitive reframing things and based in cognitive behavior therapy (Wright et al., 2017). Taking a negative thought and looking at it in a positive light. For example, “I missed my bus, this is a terrible start to a terrible day.”, “I missed my bus. Maybe this was meant to be, there could have been an accident, or maybe I will meet a special friend that would only be on the next bus.”
· Random acts of kindness- Integrating the practice of acts of kindness is a beautiful symbiotic way to make another person’s day while also making the day of the one committing the kind act. Acts of kindness also positive reinforce compassion and empathy, which are characteristics of high EQ (Di Fabio, A., & Saklofske, 2021).
· Role playing- Practicing social situations that may be hard to handle is a fun way of learning how to deal with difficult scenarios. Teaching children to role play a situation like having to face someone who always teases you or doesn’t share will equip them with coping strategies to deal with a situation in an emotionally intelligent way (Cohen, 2018).
There is so much value in increasing one’s emotional intelligence and it can offer so many benefits that would not exist without the proper training. This summer speech pathologist Dr. Jessica Wacker and behavior specialist Sarah Stevenson, MA, RYT with The Loop Speech, Language and Learning will be offering a fun summer camp July 31st- August 11th 8:30 am to 12 pm at Near North Montessori in Chicago that focuses primarily on emotional and social intelligence. Camp will include scientifically based techniques to increase your child’s emotional and social intelligence: mindfulness activities, social skills games, creative crafts, and personal SMART goal setting. Each child will receive a certificate at the end of camp that acknowledges they have completed emotional and social intelligence training and will leave with an increase in empathy, emotional regulation, communication skills and social skills.
Sign up for camp here:
For more information about summer camp please contact:
Sarah Stevenson, MA, RYT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jessica Wacker, SLP.D, CCC-SLP: email@example.com
Amundsen, R., Riby, L. M., Hamilton, C., Hope, M., & McGann, D. (2020). Mindfulness in primary school children as a route to enhanced life satisfaction, positive outlook, and effective emotion regulation. BMC psychology, 8(1), 1-15. https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-020-00428-y/
Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead. New York, NY: Random House.
Cohen, D. (2018). The development of play. Routledge.
Di Fabio, A., & Saklofske, D. H. (2021). The relationship of compassion and self-compassion with personality and emotional intelligence. Personality and individual differences, 169, 110109.
Goleman, D. (2007). Emotional intelligence (10th ed.). Bantam Books.
Gonzales, M. (2022). How to boost your emotional intelligence. In Emotional Intelligence for Students, Parents, Teachers, and School Leaders: A Handbook for the Whole School Community (pp. 73-90). Singapore: Springer Singapore. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-19-0324-3_4
Richardson, K. & Norgate, S. H. (2015). Does IQ really predict job performance? Applied Developmental Science, 19(3), 153-169. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10888691.2014.983635
Shermukhammadov, B. (2022). Creativity of a teacher in an innovative educational environment. Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice, 22(12). https://web.s.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=21583595&AN=160005055&h=DbGwuAbatJOSO8V%2bt1Z2o6OLp0hcyu1veq8pIYMaY2JUyiFEBcA0NoTlDIfoPGip60cbfSRXH99lf2EVgUHyww%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d21583595%26AN%3d160005055
Wright, J. H., Brown, G. K., Thase, M. E., & Basco, M. R. (2017). Learning cognitive-behavior therapy: An illustrated guide. American Psychiatric Pub.