Emotional Intelligence and its health benefits

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Robert Maurer


Emotional Intelligence and its health benefits

Last update: 18 November 2016

Who has never heard of Emotional Intelligence? There are many publications on this subject, we know, but… who could describe it exactly or talk about its incredible benefits? This is precisely the crux of the matter.

Despite all the material we have available on this type of intelligence, it seems that the term is not so clear to us. For this reason, today we will try to answer all these questions, in a way that is pleasant and, above all, useful for everyday life.

"It is very important to understand that Emotional Intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of the heart over the head, but a union of both"

-David Caruso-

What does "Emotional Intelligence" mean?

Before starting to talk about Emotional Intelligence, we need to specify some aspects. The first interesting idea to keep in mind is that our level of emotional intelligence is not stable during our life. The good news is that this kind of intelligence can be trained and developed.

On the other hand, if we classify it as "emotional" it is because there are other types of intelligence. This does not mean that one type is better than the others, but simply that they complement each other and must all be taken into account to achieve optimal development.

However, what is Emotional Intelligence? According to Salovey and Mayer (1990), who coined the term itself, this intelligence represents “the ability to perceive correctly, to evaluate and express emotions; the ability to access and / or generate the emotions that favor thought processes; the ability to understand emotions and what concerns emotional knowledge; the ability to regulate the emotions that favor emotional and intellectual growth ".

What does it all mean? Well, what Emotional Intelligence is made up of four abilities:

  • Perceiving emotions correctly: being able to identify them in facial expressions, voice and other stimuli that come to us.
  • Using emotions in ways that facilitate thought processes and reasoning. This concept is opposed to the classical theory according to which reason and emotions are two opposite concepts. In fact, in fact, our reasoning can improve if we take into consideration the emotional information that is part of the process.
  • Understanding emotions: knowing their name, knowing how to identify them and how to distinguish them and understand the relationships that exist between them.
  • Controlling emotions, both your own and those of others, without suppressing or repressing negative emotions, since by doing so we could make them chronic and allow them to have major repercussions on our daily life.

As you can see, to develop each of these skills, you need to have the others as well. This means that, in order for emotions to facilitate reasoning, they must first be identified in the right way. Furthermore, to understand them, you must first use them and identify them correctly. Finally, in order to be able to effectively control them, it is first necessary to have developed their understanding, their use and their perception.

What are the benefits of emotional intelligence for our health?

Based on everything we have already said about emotional intelligence, it is obvious that be particularly capable of relating to emotions is a very useful quality for us. In fact, emotionally intelligent people have been shown to be more successful professionally and academically. Furthermore, their social relationships are more satisfying and of better quality.

"People who have a positive mood are better at inductive reasoning and creative problem solving"

-Peter Salovey-

However, the advantages and benefits are not limited only to professional and social life, because they also have a positive impact on our health. Having the right emotional intelligence is useful for preventing various psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety. For example, it has been shown that people who pay too much attention to emotions, without having the right ability to control them, exhibit higher levels of negative emotion.

About this, being emotionally intelligent serves as a protective shield against the development of psychosomatic disorders. These pathologies are those physical pains that arise and develop from psychological factors. A very common example is cold sores which affects some people in times of stress. However, we are also talking about coronary heart disease such as, for example, cancer and diabetes.

Finally, having high levels of emotional intelligence is very useful for effectively regulating and managing negative emotions. This means that it is possible to reduce the psychological distress that accompanies the origin and development of these physical problems. In this way, we will be able to use the resources we have available more effectively to deal with the disease and respond better to treatment, even if the effects are not immediate.

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