Is Emotional Intelligence a SuperPower?

Just like physical health, mental health is very important. Many people don't realize there is a lot you can do to cultivate and improve that health. But first you have to realize that there are different types of people, and they handle things different ways. How you handle problems, joys, issues and even other people can say a lot about your emotional intelligence, and when you understand it and work with it, you can use it to your advantage and make it your superpower.


What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a measure of how “smart” you are emotionally. Just as you have an IQ, you also have an EQ. When you recognize your feelings and understand how to control them and you also recognize and acknowledge the feelings in others, you have emotional intelligence. Paying attention to emotion is a vital part of life, but a lot of people don't do it because they either don't see it as important or don't understand how to address it properly. The more you know about it, the better off you'll be when it comes to handling your own daily life and interacting with people.

Recognizing Emotion

To use emotional intelligence as your superpower, you have to recognize emotion. This can be easier for some people than others, because some people hide emotions more than others will. Picking up on subtleties in how you feel and how other people act around you can help when you're trying to figure out what you or someone else is really feeling, deep down.

Understanding Emotion

You also need to understand emotion, and you can do that through observation and active listening. You want to not just acknowledge something, but really see why it's being felt. Some emotions are completely understandable, such as grief after the death of a loved one. But some emotions may not make sense to you, even though they make sense to the person feeling them. Those are the kinds of emotions that being emotionally intelligent can help you understand.

Labeling Emotion

Some people don't like putting a label on things, but labeling emotion is important. When you label emotions, you indicate that you see and understand that emotion. Then you can label it for what it is, so you can start to process it. Without knowing what you are feeling or what another person is feeling, the idea of working through and processing that information can be very difficult. If you want to use emotional intelligence as a superpower, you have to label those emotions.

Expressing Emotion

Expressing emotion is also a very important part of emotional intelligence. But the key is to express the right emotion at the right time. People with a high EQ are not necessarily more or less emotional than other people based on how and what they feel. But they can be much better at expressing their emotions in strong and healthy ways than other people can understand, accept and respond to. That can help them express how they feel without causing pain or problems for others.

Regulating Emotion

Regulating your emotions can go a long way toward helping your mental health and even improving your physical health to some degree. Paying attention to how you react in any situation and then regulating that reaction to be more realistic to the situation itself is all a part of a high EQ. Some of these come naturally, and some of them can be learned, but it is all important in ensuring a good understanding of yourself and the people around you.


Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important

Emotional intelligence is important because it helps you interact with the world in a better, easier and more positive way. Whether you naturally have a lot of emotional intelligence or you are working to cultivate it as a part of your personal growth, it will help you see the world differently and have a better understanding of your fellow human beings.

Attention, Memory and Learning

When you pay attention and remember things about others, those others appreciate that. You will also learn by talking to people about who they are and what they need. Essentially, emotional intelligence helps you be more sensitive to the things you should be paying attention to, instead of all the trappings that society seems to place upon people and insist are important.

Decision Making

With a strong EQ, you can also make better decisions, because you won't focus on the immediate gratification or the emotional issues that can come with a decision. You'll make them more logically, which can help you focus on the true goals you have and not on the worries and “what if's” that can pop up when you're struggling with emotions.

Relationship Quality

The quality of the relationships you have also matter where your EQ is concerned. When you work with people, have them in your life as friends, or cultivate a romance with them, controlling, managing and understanding your emotions all matter. Understanding and acknowledging emotions in others matters, as well, so they can feel heard and appreciated.

Physical and Mental Health

Your physical and mental health can both be affected by the emotions you have and whether you let those emotions “get to you” or not. The better able you are to manage your emotions properly, the better you'll feel when it comes to your mental strength and your physical health. Mental, emotional and physical health are all closely tied together.

Performance and Creativity

People who want to perform and be creative must know how to tap into their emotions, and they also need to be able to show emotion that's related to the characters they play or what they want to express. The more you can do this, the more you can show your emotional intelligence to the world and truly make it your superpower.



Watch the video below to find out why Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence director Dr. Marc Brackett believes emotional intelligence is in fact a superpower.

Marc Brackett stops by to kick off Google Empathy Lab's Series on Designing for Feelings. Emotions Matter. They inform our thinking and decisions, the quality of our relationships, our physical and mental health, and everyday performance. What we "do" with our emotions is especially important.


If you are interested in learning more about emotional intelligence, we recommend reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves.