Emotional Intelligence for Planet Earth

Are we really all that smart?  No question that intelligence is important, but it may be that our EQ (“emotional intelligence”) is just as important as our IQ when it comes to longevity.  That’s because EQ may be the key factor in increasing resilience and the ability to handle stress.  Lower stress levels, either innate or the product of effective stress management, optimally wire our brain and nervous system, helping us come up with smarter survival strategies to cope with the ever-changing challenges of modern life.  If you were a bee we could confirm that this is certainly the case*.

Stress is pro-inflammatory. The more we submit to the flood of our own stress hormones, the more we create inflammation that affects our cardiovascular and neuro-endocrine systems, and the more quickly we will shorten those precious life-enhancing telemeres – the more quickly we will age.  It’s worth keeping in mind that sensitivity to stress is actually an individual variable unrelated to intelligence, however learned EQ techniques may dampen our negative responses and strengthen areas of the brain linked to calm, coping and resilience.

So are you curious about EQ?  Daniel Goleman first popularised the concept with his book of the same name (Emotional Intelligence).  He spearheaded a change of values which has gradually filtered into many areas of life, including human resources thinking.  Success isn’t just about how IQ smart you are.  It’s about how well you read the subtle world, your social skills and empathy.  It’s also about how well you know yourself, since this gives the ability to control your own negative emotions, avoid stirring your inner pot with blame and other games, and persist with difficult situations without giving way to frustration and so on.

Can we train ourselves to be more emotionally intelligent?  It’s good to know that the answer is a resounding YES.  In fact more and more we are likely to see EQ testing become mainstream.  You could start off with taking some  online quizzes to see how you rate – like this one from the University of Berkeley. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ei_quiz/

Read up on the concept and start to play around with it.  What do you notice while sitting in a café?  Discreetly examine facial expression, posture, body language.  What do they tell you?  Be aware of your emotions.  Where can you feel them physically in your body?  Observe, don’t judge.

It’s important to ask yourself how this knowledge is becoming available (or not) to the children you interact with.  They will certainly need a high EQ to survive and thrive. What part can you play in helping them develop in this way?

The concept really goes all the way to the top – EQ is essential for the survival of planet earth.  It may take a big IQ to develop a nuclear bomb but it takes a bigger EQ to decide not to use it.  Einstein would probably agree.

For some years now the The Emotional Intelligence Network (Six Seconds) has been promoting emotional intelligence for positive change on the planet.  Seems they’re now aiming to reach a critical mass.  Their vision is to raise the EQ of a billion people; ordinary folk like us.  For 15 years they’ve offered training at international venues but from 2014 they’re planning to offer online training.  For example, they want to share this knowledge with 25,000 new teachers. So often we hear that the school curriculum needs to pay more attention to human values.  The trend, particularly in Asia, of kids doing double shifts at school are simply not sustainable if we humans wish to be any better than the robots we are learning to create.  EQ is a powerful antidote to violence, towards both self and others. Anyone interested should take a look at One Billion for Emotional Intelligence. http://www.6seconds.org/2013/12/04/1-billion-emotional-intelligence/

* Read more about the fascinating research on bees led by from Gro Amdam at the University of Arizona. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/old-and-wise/




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