How to Thrive Over the Holidays Using Your EQ

Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC

With all the stress and conflict the holidays can bring, it’s a great opportunity to build your emotional quotient muscles. Why should you care about your emotional quotient (EQ)?  EQ affects your performance, relationships, happiness and well-being, ability to handle stress, and how much money you make. According to TalentSmart, Inc. “People with high EQ earn $29,000 more annually than their low EQ counterparts.”

EQ involves four skills, which can be continually developed and improved. Unlike IQ, which is set, there is no cap on the amount of EQ that you can develop over the course of your lifetime. Below are the four skills in the EQ model according to Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

EQ skills:

  • Self-awareness – Understanding what you’re feeling and why.
  • Self-management – Managing your emotions and reactions.
  • Social awareness – Understanding what others are feeling and why (picking up on others’ emotions and having empathy for them).
  • Relationship management – Using awareness of your own and others’ emotions to manage interactions effectively.

High EQ is having the awareness and self-control to respond thoughtfully and deliberately in order to make interactions and relationships run more smoothly, rather than just reacting out of anger, frustration, or excitement. Below are some ways to practice using your EQ skills over the holidays with family and friends.

Practicing EQ skills:

  • Self-awareness – Tune in to how you are feeling around certain people and engaging in different activities. Which people and situations bring you more happiness or frustration than others? What is causing you to feel that way?
  • Self-management – Notice your impulse to react to people and situations that trigger you. Once you understand what you are feeling and why, you can determine how you want to respond. What is this feeling really about? What are your options? Which option will lead to the most positive result? How will you respond to get that result?
  • Social awareness – Become an observer and try to pick up on others’ emotions based on their tone of voice and body language, especially the people that you find difficult. Try to see the situation from their perspective. How do you think they are feeling? What is causing them to feel that way? How would you feel if you were in their shoes? How can you express your understanding of how they are feeling?
  • Relationship management – Use what you have observed about your own and others’ emotions to determine how you can interact more effectively with people who trigger you. Knowing how you and they are feeling, what can you say or do to make the situation better?

I wish you abundant joy and happiness this holiday season. May you continue to build your EQ muscles throughout the New Year to improve your relationships, performance, and overall well-being.

“EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs.” – Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0

“Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.”– Daniel Goleman

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