Connection between EQ and Mental Health
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Knowing how to handle emotions can increase awareness of your feelings and how your feelings affect other people. Also, high EQ means that you can understand and predict other people’s emotional responses and answer them correctly.
Emotional intelligence involves the following attributes:
- Social awareness (empathy)
- Relationship management
Self-awareness and self-management are EQ skills that are vital for mental health.
Self-awareness means having a good understanding of your emotions. It means that you are aware of your strengths and use these strengths to build self-esteem and confidence. However, self-awareness also means that you recognize your weaknesses and clearly understand and process how a particular situation makes you feel. Also, emotional awareness means you can successfully identify and acknowledge other people’s feelings and reactions.
Self-awareness is an integral part of the balance and mental well-being. One study showed that depressed patients had lower EQ scores than individuals without depression, showing a lack of understanding of emotions and reduced sensitivity to changing emotional contexts. Similarly, persons with borderline personality disorder (characterized by impulsivity, frequent mood swings, self-destructive behaviors, and toxic relationships) were less skilled at identifying and understanding emotions.
If you are self-aware of your negative thoughts and recognize that these are hindering your emotional control, you have started to develop self-awareness. This understanding allows you to work on strategies to manage your emotions.
For example, based on this recognition, you may decide to set personal boundaries by learning to say “no” to unreasonable demands at work that increase stress and lead to poor emotional control.
Self-management or emotional regulation involves the ability to control emotions. Emotional control is a set of skills that allows you to understand your own and other people’s feelings, manage emotions according to the demands of the situation, direct your behavior towards the goals, and cope with stress.
Advanced self-management skills mean that you have good self-regulation and can well cope with stress. Strong self-management skills can help you connect to your emotions, and then apply them to reach your goals. These essential skills can also help you develop and maintain positive relationships and quickly bounce back from disappointment and distress.
Several studies have shown that EQ is linked to mental health and well-being. Highly developed emotional intelligence can benefit your professional success and help your relationship thrive. It can also boost your confidence, happiness, and well-being.
Individuals with mental health issues typically have lower overall emotional intelligence. Research suggests that the ability to manage emotions could be essential for dealing with mental illness.
When experiencing psychological distress, negligible stresses can become significant and impair your health and day-to-day life due to the inability to cope. Difficulties in managing negative emotions such as anger, sorrow, or shame are linked to the tendency to get involved in self-destructive and deviant behaviors.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be practiced, though. Common strategies that can boost emotional regulation include mindfulness meditation, positive affirmations, deep breathing, and journaling.
The Best Strategies for Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence
Research shows that emotional intelligence correlates to the growth mindset and positive attitude on life. Emotional skills can reduce your mood swings and alleviate anxiety. Also, the ability to recognize and understand others’ feelings can help you constructively resolve conflicts.
Here are some useful strategies that can help enhance your emotional intelligence and boost emotional wellness.
- Practice Activated Meditation
The practice of deliberately focusing your attention on the present moment without self-judgment can help shift your attention from negative thoughts toward gratitude for the moment. Mindfulness enables you to stay present at the moment, relax, and focus on your feelings. Additionally, mindfulness exercise can improve your self-awareness and enhance your emotional control.
Research shows that mindfulness can alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, boost your mood, and increase optimism. People who regularly practice mindfulness say that it helps them stayed focused, improves their memory and focus, and helps overcome negative thoughts. Also, mindfulness practice can strengthen your self-esteem and improve your resilience.
- Practice Activated Breathing
Breathing, apparently, a simple process inhaling and exhaling oxygen, when performed effectively, can have a substantial impact on the physiology of the body. Breathing influences every cell of the body. It influences our sleep, memory, digestion, concentration and our energy levels. One can live for two months without food, two weeks without water but only a few minutes without air. Breath is the main bridge between body and mind, the way you breathe is indicator of the level of physical and emotional wellbeing that we are experiencing at the moment. The way you breathe is the way you live!
Practice Activated Breathing daily for peak performance, mental clarity, healthy living and increasing your will power and energy. It involves different breathing patterns from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating. The exhalation is interrupted three times and at different levels of the body for a short period of pause. The pause at three different levels creates magic. The pause is a powerful technique to evoke a relaxation response and at different pauses, we are aware that the mind is in a very calm and balanced state that can rejuvenate and heal
Check out special breathing patterns to help cope with different emotions and feelings. Understanding that the breath is the bridge between body and mind is the key to activate relaxation and calmness on demand.
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Daily Activated Meditation or other meditation practices will help transform you from living in survival mode to being in a state of peace and happiness. Meditation has many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, some of which are due to the release of endorphins. Meditation allows you to connect with present moment breath by breath.
Meditation can allow you to sleep better, cope with symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, mood, depression etc. The meditation techniques would assist you in braving through your fears by reducing stress that arises when you face it. Meditating daily gives you time for introspection and personal reflection. It enables you to understand your actions and emotions better.
- Follow Your Intuition
Intuition is an essential life skill that we all naturally have but often tend to overlook. Listening to your gut can increase your self-awareness and help you better understand your emotions.
It is essential to learn to listen and trust your intuition as it can often offer new and creative solutions and help you see things from a different perspective. Going with your gut will boost your mindfulness and enhance self-acceptance.
Also awakening your intuition can lead to better self-knowledge as it teaches you how to focus on your inner voice. Once you learn how to listen to your intuition, you will gain confidence in your decisions and life choices.
Self-awareness will help you get in touch with your inner world, become more aware of what you feel, why you think that way, and how your feelings can affect other people, which is one of the critical features of emotional intelligence.
- Connect to Your Emotions
Mindfully attend to your emotions and acknowledge them. Once you genuinely pay attention to your feelings, you send a signal to your brain to manage them. For instance, acknowledging and labeling your anger instead of masking or suppressing it, you will send a signal to your brain. As a response, your mind will decrease the stress hormones and alleviate the negative feeling.
Remember to accept that it is okay to feel sad, ashamed, angry, or afraid. Take responsibility for your emotions and analyze thoughts behind those emotions. Acknowledge that negative thoughts are just that, thoughts, and then let go of them calmly and peacefully.
Here is the research about accepting the negative emotional experiences
- Listen to Signals Your Body Sends You
Listening to your body is very important because mind and body are profoundly connected. Your feelings and thoughts and are an essential part of your physical well-being. Ask yourself what is your body feeling when you are angry, stressed, sad, or scared. Think about how does your body reacts when you feel happy, excited, relaxed. Keep in mind that your brain and body work together, so always pay attention to signals that your body sends you.
Here is the research and more information in regards to body and mind connection