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Emotional intelligence and its health benefits

"It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not opposed to intelligence; it is not a question of the triumph of the heart over the spirit but of the intersection between the two "

Who has not heard of emotional intelligence? The publications on this subject are numerous, of course, but who can give it an exact definition or talk about the benefits it can bring us? Read this article, and you will learn more.

Despite all the elements we have at our fingertips on this type of intelligence, it seems that we do not have a precise idea. This is why we will try to answer these questions, in a fun way for you and, above all, useful in your daily life.

What does emotional intelligence mean?

To start talking about emotional intelligence, there are some aspects to emphasize. The first interesting idea that we would like you to keep in mind is that our level of emotional intelligence is not stable throughout our lives. 

On the other hand, if we label it as “emotional”, it’s because there are other types of intelligence. This does not mean that one is better than the other but that they complement each other and that all must be taken into account to achieve optimal development.

But, what is emotional intelligence? According to Salovey and Mayer (1990), who coined this term, it consists of “the ability to perceive, evaluate and accurately express emotion; to access and/or generate feelings when they elude thought; to understand emotion and emotional knowledge, and regulating emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. “

What does that mean? That emotional intelligence consists of four abilities:

  • To perceive emotions in a precise way: to be able to identify them on the faces, in the voices and the other stimuli that reach us.
  • Applying emotions so that they facilitate thinking and reasoning : this is opposed to the conventional idea that reason and emotion coexist in facing each other. It actually appears that our reasoning can improve if we take into account the emotional information in the process.
  • Understanding emotions: knowing their names, knowing how to identify and differentiate them, as well as understanding the relationships between them.
  • Regulate the emotions, be it ours or those of others, without suppressing or repressing the negative emotions because if we do that we can make them chronic and able to condition our daily life in a considerable way.

As we can see, each ability feeds on the previous one. That is, for emotions to facilitate reasoning, it is necessary that we first perceive them correctly. In the same way that, to understand them, we must first apply them and identify them adequately. Finally, to succeed in regulating them effectively, we must have developed the understanding, the application and the perception of these emotions.

What are the benefits of being emotionally intelligent?

It seems obvious, based on what we have already said about emotional intelligence, that having good abilities to bond with emotions will be very helpful to us. Indeed, it has been verified that emotionally intelligent people experience greater academic and professional success . In addition, their social relations are more satisfying and of better quality.


“People with good minds are better at inductive reasoning and creative problem solving.”

-Peter Salovey-

They not only have this professional and social advantage: they also positively affect our health. Having adequate emotional intelligence will help us prevent various psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. For example, it has been shown that people who pay too much attention to emotions, without the proper skills to regulate them, have high levels of negative emotionality .

In this vein, being emotionally intelligent is going to be a protective factor for the development of psychosomatic disorders. These pathologies are physical diseases whose origin and development are influenced by psychological factors. An example is the cold sores that occur in some people during stressful periods. But they also include coronary heart disease, cancer or diabetes, among others.

Ultimately, presenting high levels of emotional intelligence will help us to effectively regulate negative emotions. This implies that the psychological malaise present at the beginning and in the evolution of these physical problems will be reduced. Thus, we will be more efficient using the resources we have within our reach to cope with the disease and we will be able to count on better adherence to treatment, even if its effects are not immediate.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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