Last night, my Hubby and I were watching one of our favorite shows, The Big Bang Theory. If you’ve ever seen the show, I’m sure you’re familiar with Sheldon, the genius scientist who has no social skills whatsoever.
Part of his issue is that he can’t read human emotions at all. This impacts the way he interacts with everyone and as you can imagine, causes some epic misunderstandings.
In last night’s episode, his friend Howard called some friends at MIT who were working on a machine that was supposed to decipher human emotion and indicate what they were feeling using an app. on the phone. Howard talked his friends into allowing Sheldon to beta test it.
The results were predictably hilarious, but it did bring up an interesting point…. How does Emotional Intelligence affect our Social Dimension of Wellness?
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer first introduced the theory of Emotional Intelligence (sometimes referred to as Emotional Quotient or EQ) in two journal articles published in 1990. In the words of Dr. Mayer,
Emotional intelligence, as we described it, is the capacity to reason about emotions and emotional information, and of emotions to enhance thought. People with high EI, we believed, could solve a variety of emotion-related problems accurately and quickly. High EI people, for example, can accurately perceive emotions in faces. Such individuals also know how to use emotional episodes in their lives to promote specific types of thinking.
In other words, emotional intelligence allows us to recognize, understand, think about, and manage emotions. This can apply not only to our own emotions, but others’ as well.
What Does Emotional Intelligence Look Like In Practice?
In his article for Inc., Justin Bariso, Founder of Insight, outlines 13 Signs of High Emotional Intelligence. He gives real-life examples of what people with high Emotional Intelligence do, including things such as thinking about feelings, showing authenticity, demonstrating empathy, praising others, and more. Please check out the entire article – you’ll be glad you did!
How Does This Help Us With Our Social Dimension of Wellness?
Emotional Intelligence can affect our Social dimension of Wellness in several ways:
- It can help us develop empathy. Being able to put ourselves in others’ shoes can help us know the best way to respond to them. This can be particularly important if we’re in a situation that has the capacity to become confrontational.
- It can help us consider a situation before reacting to it. When we take a beat before we respond, especially in an emotionally-charged situation, it allows us to calm our emotions and think more rationally. As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV) Taking the time to consider what we need to say can help us give that gentle answer.
- It can help us recognize and deal with our own emotions. When we’re able to constructively process our own emotions and realize what contributes to them, we can interact more positively with others.
As we discussed in Let’s Talk About Social Wellness, part of social wellness is the ability to interact with the people around us. Using Emotional Intelligence can help us figure out the best ways to interact with and support others, and form those meaningful relationships that are so important to our overall wellness.
How’s Your Emotional Intelligence?
Are you curious about your Emotional Intelligence? If so, I found a couple of tests you can take online. The first one consists of situational questions, and the second one tests how well you read facial expressions. I don’t know how accurate the results will be – remember, there are lots of things that can affect your scores with these kinds of tests – but they were quite interesting.
Emotional Intelligence Test
Test Your Emotional Intelligence
Are you familiar with the theory of Emotional Intelligence? Have you found it helpful in improving your Social dimension of Wellness? Please share!