Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?

Many tests are available to determine a person’s intelligent quotient (IQ). While knowing your IQ score maybe helpful, a lot of research suggests simply using IQ scores as a measure of intelligence oversimplifies the broad spectrum of human abilities. An IQ score is only reflective of an individual’s cognitive abilities. While being “smart” can certainly be beneficial, more and more research is finding that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and overall happiness compared to an IQ score.


The benefits of a high EQ

IQ is comprised mostly of verbal comprehension, working memory, processing speed, and reasoning abilities. While being gifted in these areas is helpful, EQ involves different competencies that can be extremely useful in day-to-day life. EQ helps people manage behavior. When emotions and reactions are recognized and understood (self-awareness), adaption to and acceptance of feelings, moods, and responses increase. EQ also encouragespositive personal choices. By harnessing emotions, our motivation increases; we can commit to acting and achieving goals. Finally, EQ helps us to navigate social complexities.Empathy is increased when others’ feelings and emotions are discerned and recognized, helping us relate to others more effectively.


EQ is essential for a balanced life

Enhancing EQ is crucial to various aspects of our existence. EQ can positively impact our physical and mental health, relationships and conflicts, and personal and professional successes.


Increase overall health:Being aware of our own emotional states and reactions to stress can assist in maintaining good physical and mental health. It allows us to take care of our bodies by managing the pressure and tension that can affect them. Further, accurately naming and labeling emotions produces more rational choices and actions. EQ affects attitudes and outlooks on life, helping us to avoid depression, alleviate anxiety, and monitor mood swings.

Develop fulfilling relationships:Communication is more effective and constructive when we understand our own emotions. EQ increases our capacity to read people and judge good character. It also helps us relate and respond to others when we understand their needs. When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with them, it becomes easier to avoid conflicts or resolve them more quickly.


Realize widespread success: EQ enhances self-awareness so that strengths are identified and used to their full advantage. Weaknesses are accepted and managed, yet do not hold anyone back. Mistakes are recognized but not dwelled upon. Instead, errors are positively transformed so learning and adapting can take place. EQ improves self-confidence and open-mindedness. It promotes self-control and delaying gratification. Overall, EQ is thought to provide resilience and strengthen internal motivators, which can help people accomplish a wide range of objectives.


Ways to enhance EQ – Some dos and don’ts

Increasing one’s EQ has many advantages. It supports people in realizing their goals and in leading healthy, harmonious lives filled with close relationships. While IQ scores remain mostly stable over time, most research indicates that an individual’s EQ is fluid and can be developed over time with continuous practice. Here are just a few dos and don’ts to cultivate your own EQ.



  • Practice gratitude to improve mood, energy, and physical well-being.
  • Listen to your body for signs of stress and make adjustments like limiting caffeine or increasing sleep.
  • Observe your feelings without editing or judging them too quickly.
  • Respond thoughtfully to your feelings and decide how to behave.
  • Stay humble so you can see your own faults and learn and grow from them.





  • React simply to relieve yourself of an emotion without consideration of how others feel.
  • Complain as it implies there are no solutions to the problem.
  • Focus on negativity and cynical thoughts.
  • Dwell on the past instead of being mindful to live in the here and now.
  • Criticize self or others; recognize the change you want and effectively plan or communicate it.

About CAPS
Wayne State University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free, confidential counseling services to currently registered WSU students. Please visit the CAPS website at, or call 313-577-3398 for further information about available programs and counseling services.

Comments are closed.