Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. It is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Increasing our emotional intelligence helps us to have more stable and loving relationships with ourselves and with others. When we focus on emotional intelligence in counseling, we work with four aspects”
- Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. This might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions. It also may involve learning how to pay attention to your internal sensations and responses.
- Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that grab our attention.
- Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he’s been fighting with his wife.
- Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.