Emotional Intelligence & Wellness
You may not always view your emotions as your friends. Noticing certain feeling states as sadness, fear, or anger in yourself or others might make you uncomfortable and tempt you to ignore these states or disown them altogether. Many people do, assuming that such emotional avoidance will help them cope or feel better overall.
A recent meta-analysis of 25 studies of emotional intelligence, however, shows otherwise (Sanchez-Alvarez, Extremera and Fernandez-Berrocal 2016). Emotional intelligence refers to how we use information from our emotions to help us navigate through the stress in our lives. Emotional skills include the ability to accurately perceive our mood states and regulate them, as well as to effectively express and exchange emotions interpersonally.
The researchers found a significant relationship in the cross-cultural studies between participants’ emotional intelligence and subjective well-being. Regardless of how emotional intelligence was measured, the results found that those who understood their emotions better tended to experience a greater sense of psychological wellness. The researchers conclude that emotional intelligence is a “key skill” in personal and social development.
So, while you may not want or welcome certain feelings, it can be quite helpful to at least respect them and allow the emotions to inform you about what’s going on inside and outside of yourself.
Kate Gustin, Ph.D.
Psychologist & Founder of PoZitive Strides