“Daniel Goleman, a Harvard University professor, posed the theory that it is empathy and communication skills as well as social and leadership skills that will be central to your success in life and personal relationships. Rather than a high IQ, Goleman purports that it is far better to have a high E-IQ, emotional intelligence, if you want to be a valued and productive member of society.”
Emotional health has many aspects. Put simply, it is based on self-esteem – how you feel about yourself and behavior that is appropriate and healthy. Someone who is emotionally healthy exhibits positive traits in the following areas:
- Empathy Skills: Ability to easily relate to and understand other people.
- Self–Understanding: Self-insight that helps you make decisions that are life-enhancing.
- Emotional Self-Control: Understanding your feelings and using them to help make self-fulfilling and empowering decisions or letting your emotions control your actions.
- Harmonious, Productive Relationships: Developing sustaining and harmonious, fulfilling relationships.
The Four Domains of Emotional Intelligence
1. PERCEIVING EMOTION. The initial, most basic, area has to do with the nonverbal reception and expression of emotion. Evolutionary biologists and psychologists have pointed out that emotional expression evolved in animal species as a form of crucial social communication. Facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear, were universally recognizable in human beings.
2. USING EMOTIONS TO FACILITATE THOUGHT. The second area appeared every bit as basic as the first. This was the capacity of the emotions to enter into and guide the cognitive system and promote thinking.
3. UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS. Emotions convey information: Happiness usually indicates a desire to join with other people; anger indicates a desire to attack or harm others; fear indicates a desire to escape, and so forth. Each emotion conveys its own pattern of possible messages, and actions associated with those messages.
Once a person can identify such messages and potential actions, the capacity to reason with and about those emotional messages and actions becomes of importance as well. Fully understanding emotions, in other words, involves the comprehension of the meaning of emotions, coupled with the capacity to reason about those meanings. It is central to this group of emotionally intelligent skills.
(For a more advanced discussion of emotional information, see the section, “Similarities and Differences Between Emotional and Cognitive Information” in this article).
4. MANAGING EMOTIONS. Finally, emotions often can be managed. A person needs to understand emotions convey information. To the extent that it is under voluntary control, a person may want to remain open to emotional signals so long as they are not too painful, and block out those that are overwhelming.
Therapeutic Encounter Groups
Sober College regularly involves its students in activities that are not only fun, but help students to develop emotional intelligence. Students will surf, trapeze, sky dive, and participate in equine therapy. These events often involve and evoke emotions, therefore students participate in process groups afterwards to help them analyze their emotions. During their first month, participants take an emotional intelligence assessment and begin to participate in activities and exercises designed to build and growth their emotional well-being.