From the time we wake up in the morning, to the time we go to sleep at night, we are always cycling through emotions. Both positive feelings and negative feelings are experienced daily. How often do we, as college students, delve into each range within a twenty-four hour period, though? There is no simple answer to this question, because we go through many emotions, moods, and feelings in that amount of time. For example, happiness and sadness are two general emotions we feel a lot of the time; but if someone were to dig deep enough, they would discover the many sub-categories to these two emotions as well. Feeling this wide range of emotions can be better thought of as emotional diversity, and being able to distinguish between this wide range is a good skill to possess. Once someone can identify each feeling one is experiencing, he or she will have obtained emotional intelligence. Being both emotionally diverse and emotionally intelligent is important to one’s health; benefiting them when it comes to being a leader, and in everyday life.
Emotional diversity and emotional intelligence (EI) really go hand in hand. While Emotional diversity is the number of emotions felt, EI is the ability to recognize and manage all of them. When it comes to emotional intelligence, it can be split into four major domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Goleman et al. 35). Each part has its own individual meaning and work together to help a person become more emotionally intelligent. For instance, being self-aware allows a person to better comprehend and recognize the emotions that he or she is feeling. Once someone knows how he or she is feeling, then he or she can come up with ways to handle that said emotion. It can be easy to manage good, positive emotions, however, when stress, worry, and fear creep in, self-management is needed. Next, there is social awareness, or the ability to be more empathetic to other people and their emotions. Once a person has empathy, he or she is able to deal with other’s feelings in a more acceptable way. Having these four attributes is how someone can grow and strengthen his or her emotional intelligence.
When it comes to our health though, how can this concept be beneficial? Going through multiple emotions throughout the day is actually better than just experiencing happiness. Whether we experience all good emotions, all bad emotions, or a mixture of the two, it is considered a positive thing for both the mind and body. By experiencing all emotions fully, a person is said to have a longer life expectancy and is less likely to show signs of depression. Emotional diversity and emotional intelligence can be linked to good health and our overall well-being because of these reasons.
In addition to emotional diversity and EI being connected to our health, it is also associated with leadership. When it comes to being a leader, good strategies, visions, and plans are obviously needed, but what else should be necessary? A leader should possess the ability to work through his or her emotions. He or she should be the person we go to when we need reassurance or guidance. He or she should push for positivity, even when times are tough. The only way a leader can do all of these things accurately, is through being emotionally intelligent. He or she needs to know what he or she is feeling when it is occurring. He or she needs to be able to manage his or her emotions, good or bad, in an appropriate way. He or she needs to be empathetic to others, especially those who look up to him or her. He or she needs to be able to deal with other’s emotions and make decisions based on them, not in spite of them. Being a leader means making those positive impacts needed from time to time. By working on and strengthening our emotional intelligence, we already have one of the most important things a leader should obtain. Whether we work for a business, or are the CEO of one, this quality of leadership can benefit us greatly.
Along with the two other points mentioned, emotional diversity and emotional intelligence can help immensely while working through everyday life. How could our emotions, moods, and attitudes even affect something like the amount of work getting done, though? What happens when we are under a lot of stress and cannot focus on the work we need to get done? It obviously becomes harder to get the task done. Our mind is instead worrying about whatever else is happening in our lives. If we were to identify the way we were feeling rather than trying to block it out completely, we would know how to manage the emotion, get past it, and then finish our work better and faster than we would have with other things going on in our heads. It has actually been proven that too much stress in our lives can “disrupt work, hijacking our attention from the task at hand” (Goleman et al. 41). Things like high anxiety, worry, and fear work as a kind of mental block, so if we do not know how to manage them correctly, we are distracted and our work is delayed as a result. Working at being more self-aware, and learning how to manage those feelings, can impact the way we work immensely.
When it comes to becoming more emotionally diverse and intelligent, it is kind of hard to know where to start. However, by zoning in on one domain at a time, a person’s EI will grow in no time. For instance, if we start with trying to become more self-aware, there are multiple things we can do. First, tune in completely to every single feeling, and if those emotions are hurtful, do not push them away. Experience every emotion fully. Next, try and watch younger children for insight on what to do. They are not afraid to confront any and all emotions thrown their away. A third way we can work on singling out our emotions, is through trying to get out of our comfort zones. Once new, foreign feelings pop up, pay attention to each one of them. None of these things seem like it would change much about our emotional intelligence, but every little thing counts when it comes to building it up.
In summary, emotional diversity and emotional intelligence are very beneficial when it comes to our health, developing leadership qualities, and in our working lives. While in college, we are already facing stress, anxiety, and worry; so, if we can learn how to manage these feelings now, the rest of our college career and our future working careers will be a whole lot easier. With a variety of ways to improve our emotional intelligence and EI, we should take advantage of it. Learning how to become better at these concepts will not only make a world of a difference, but also be well worth the effort put in.