How’s Your Emotional IQ? An Article by Author Annie Highwater

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How’s your Emotional IQ?


“The biggest deficiency in the universe is emotional intelligence.”~Professor Bump

Intelligent, smart, learned, educated, astute, perspicacious, brilliant.

All words used to describe the intellectual among us.

Intelligence by definition is: The ability to learn, understand or to deal with new or trying situations. The ability to apply knowledge to one’s environment.

We all know people who are impressively intelligent.

We also know a few who are intelligent, even wildly successful, yet don’t seem to be emotionally sound.

This is often a cause for head scratching.  One is forced to wonder how immaturity and the lack of wisdom can exist in the midst of intelligence.

We are learning more and more that emotional intelligence (Emotional IQ) is different than standard intelligence and is crucial when it comes to navigating situations of life.


Emotions are powerful energy, and can even be sensed by those in proximity to them.  Ever walk into a room and immediately know its mood?

We send strong emotional signals (“vibes”) to one another.

According to Travis Bradberry, Author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, we have more than 400 emotional experiences daily.

Whether we know it or not.  Whether we admit it and face them or not.

At times those feelings can seem unmanageable. This is true for all of us. It’s the human condition.

Some have been taught, or sought ways of coping with them. But there are those who resist their emotions and instead act them out in negative ways.

The truth is, we are hard-wired to be emotional. What we do with our emotion is what Emotional IQ is about.

One way to tell our emotional intelligence and maturity level is by how we handle emotions related to conflict and stress as adults. 

For example…

Have you ever observed someone in their 30’s or 40’s throw what compares to a three-year-olds tantrum? 

Watched a 35 or 40-year-old manipulate like a rebellious teenager? Pitting people against one another, aligning and dividing folks to further their agenda?  Or…vendetta?

Ever seen a full grown adult either rant and rave, or run for their life to avoid dealing with emotions or stress?

We don’t want to be adults operating as children! 

Yet it’s a common occurrence. Many people are stuck in various ages of childhood or teen years when it comes to emotional tendencies.


1. Self-management taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and well-being. As emotionally sound adults, we are all accountable for and in charge of our lives.

2. Self-awareness being introspective and self-realizing is the height of emotional intelligence. When someone is notself-examining, they’re as a bull in a china shop for those in relationship with them. Not being self-aware ruins marriages, ends friendships, devours work relationships.  Being blind (or unwilling) to look at oneself causes unending frustration and sometimes permanent damage.

3. Social awareness Being socially aware means you understand how you act and react in different social situations, and effectively modify your interactions with other people so that you achieve the best results.  Being unable to discern the nuances and feelings of others is problematic and ultimately, ignorant. This is a sign of low Emotional IQ!

4. Relationship management The final area to be aware of when it comes to your Emotional IQ is that of relationship management. This is the ability to be aware of the needs and emotions of those you interact with along with your own.  It also means having healthy standards, and boundaries involving appropriate, kind, yet wise and considerate behaviors.

Note – self-awareness plays into every component.

The good news is people can develop Emotional IQ!


Emotional IQ, as with recovery, is a mindful way of living.  You can’t just go on cruise control.  It takes daily awareness and regular effort.

Remedies recommended in Emotional IQ 2.0:

  • Tend to stress, have a regular self-care regimen along the lines of daily meditation or prayer, exercise, walking, running, yoga, quiet time, etc. Recovery and self-improvement work are vital for growth and progress in every area, not just Emotional IQ. Tending to yourself keeps you mindful and progressive.  Recovery groups are powerful tools as are therapy, books and classes, journaling and regular accountability sessions with a friend or mentor.
  • Sleep patterns, this matters more than we realize! Regulating sleeping habits drastically improves our emotional health and intelligence.
  • Caffeine and other substance intake altars how we feel and how we think. The less we have mental and physical altering substances, the better.

Efforts to increase Emotional IQ matter! 

If you wonder how much…just consider those in your life who are not self-aware or managing themselves and their relationships regularly. Would it make a difference to those around them if they did?

A regular routine to improve oneself, in just a matter of weeks, can be life altering for everyone around you.  If those near you aren’t doing it, you should be.

The healthier we become, the better life becomes.


We can also increase our Emotional IQ by:


Own your pain so it won’t own you.  If not, you will remain stuck in it.  And it will become the excuse you give for bad behavior and mishandling of others.

Pain caused by mistreatment from someone else never justifies our behavior or reactions.

According to therapist Eugenia Oganova, “A weak and unconscious person wants revenge in response to emotional, mental, or physical pain, while a strong and conscious person is able to learn and forgive in response to pain. This is the main difference. If we own the pain, we build the Self and increase our consciousness. If we projectthe pain, we only program the lesson to repeat – until we get it.”


“Gratitude is the healthiest of all emotions.”  ~Zig Ziglar

Try a regular routine of gratitude, such as a journal of daily thankfulness or a “Gratitude project.”

A few years ago during a terribly dark time, I did a 21-day Gratitude Project.  Every morning I listed ten things I was thankful for before I faced the day. I would write things like moments of kindness from a stranger, family member or friend. Having my health, having a sweet dog, the ability to have freedom in my schedule and so on.

The project also required me to choose a different person every day for those three weeks to give a sincere compliment to.  A stranger in passing, friend over text, family member in a card or email, etc.

I made this part of my daily routine and journaled about it each day.

I felt such a lift of spirits from this daily process that I did another 21 days as soon as I finished it.

I look back on those pages now if I need a boost of positive energy, reading over it does not fail to give me new feelings of joy and gratitude!

Gratitude changes our energy and redirects negative thinking.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melanie Beattie


Life throws a lot at us.  Many deal with alcoholic, dysfunctional, substance abusing family, friends and loved ones.  Along with demanding jobs, financial strains, health issues, daily stress and so on. It’s no wonder we have 400 emotional experiences per day!

The question is, regardless of who or what we’re dealing with – do we want to be the best, highest version of ourselves?

Or do we sink into unconscious settling and grow stagnate, never to improve, grow or make progress. In other words, emotionally childish, stunted or stuck.

Improving Emotional IQ is a process that takes consistent effort.

Strengthening Emotional IQ is critical, valuable, simple and doable!

It’s also a choice.

“We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but by how well we handle ourselves and each other.” ~Daniel Coleman, Ph.D., Working with Emotional Intelligence

Still learning,


Author of Unhooked

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