Can it be taught? and why bother….

Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
(Coleman, Andrew (2008). A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Oxford University Press)


  1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others.
  2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving
  3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

(Psychology Today definition)


Psychologists Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey introduced the concept of emotional intelligence, or EI, in the early 1990s. Since then, a cottage industry has grown up around the notion, spawning business workshops, self-help books and school programs.

But even the field’s originators are divided about whether EI can be taught: Salovey thinks so; Mayer thinks not.

Like cognitive intelligence, Mayer believes EI is primarily shaped by genes and early experiences. Salovey agrees that like musical talent, EI is partially innate but he argues, “I’m optimistic that people can learn a richer emotional vocabulary and that they can self-regulate emotions better.”

Salovey, the dean of Yale College, points to high school programs that teach students social skills, impulse control and anger management. One program operated by the New Haven, Connecticut, public schools’ social development department can point to lower dropout rates and a decrease in violence since its inception, over a decade ago.
(Darbie Saxbe, PhD)

If you subscribe to the idea that EI can be taught or at least worked on (dievca believes that if you are at least aware of your emotions — that changes them.)

Here are 10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Don’t interrupt or change the subject, when you are facing your emotions
  2. Don’t judge or edit your feelings too quickly.
  3. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way.
  4. Connect your feelings with your thoughts.
  5. Listen to your body.
  6. If you don’t know how you’re feeling, ask someone else.
  7. Tune in to your unconscious feelings.
  8. Ask yourself: How do I feel today?
  9. Write thoughts and feelings down.
  10. Know when enough is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when its time to shift your focus outward.

(Norman Rosenthal, MD)

Emotional do’s

  • DO see the bigger picture; broaden your perspective. Is my view narrow and not seeing all the pieces?
  • DO shift from me to us. What is happening with you is not the only factor, what is going on with other people? Who else is involved?
  • DO ask yourself why. Why am I bothered or hurt by this person or situation? Is there someway I can change it or look at it differently? Am I missing information? 

Emotional don’ts

  • DON’T limit interpretations to all bad or all good.  Admit something might have gone wrong, but look for the positives in the awkward situation.
  • DON’T conclude that another’s behavior or mood is in direct response to you and/or your actions.  OK, short tempers and poor behavior are not always caused by me, there could be other factors causing issues – what might they be? Or, just let me keep out-of-the-way for today.
  • DON’T magnify negative events in your life and discount positive ones.  If something went wrong, it is not the end. Determined what caused the problem and adjust. Take any positive situations and build upon them.
  • DON’T conclude that what you feel must be the truth and that it’s permanent.  Failing is not forever.  There is always some type of chance to succeed in the future and what you see/feel might not be as bad as you think. Try to step back an analyze your feelings clearly. 

(Umeda Islamova: workingmomsagainst guilt.com – modified by dievca)

Mathew Lieberman at UCLA has done some interesting research on emotion recognition, and apparently, if you can name a troubling emotion, you can immediately calm yourself and your brain down.

Why Bother?

Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills although no causal relationship has been shown.
(Debbie Hampton: The Best Brain Possible and Karla McLaren, M.Ed.)

Emotional intelligence, however, is not agreeableness. It is not optimism. It is not happiness. It is not calmness. It is not motivation. Such qualities, although important, have little to do with intelligence, little to do with emotions, and nearly nothing to do with actual emotional intelligence. It is especially unfortunate that even some trained psychologists have confused emotional intelligence with such personal qualities.
(John D. Mayer, PhD – University of New Hampshire)

Mood Mapping: 

Energy and Feelings: unknown source

Mood Causes and Depths: unknown source

Why is dievca on this topic? she, herself, scores very high on emotional intelligence, but she wanted to know if people in her Life who don’t have as high emotional intelligence can learn or if it is just a lost cause. dievca believes it is like anything in Life, if someone wants to change – they will work towards change with or without help. If someone doesn’t see a problem, any value or wish to change — all the analysis and talk in the World will fall on deaf ears. In dievca’s case…the person doesn’t see any problem. So, dievca will just leave it alone, even though she believes that EI can be learned and would make that person’s Life better.
Not dievca’s problem………………………………………………..


9 Comments on “Can it be taught? and why bother….”

  1. An interesting and thoughtful post , D !!!

  2. Pelelotus says:

    Thanks, an insightful piece. X


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