What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to an individual’s ability to perceive, evaluate, and control their emotions. Also known as EQ (Emotional Quotient), some people believe that this is a form of intelligence that we were born with but others suggest that it can be learned and strengthened. The ability to express and control our emotions is healthy and essential for ourselves but is also crucial to respond to other emotions.

How Is Emotional Intelligence Measured?

There are a number of different assessments that have emerged over the years to measure levels of emotional intelligence, and tend to fall into two different types: 

Self-Report Tests

A self-report test consists of respondents responding to questions or statements by rating their own behaviors on a scale. For example, disagree, somewhat disagree, agree, or strongly agree. 

Ability Tests

This involves people responding to situations and their skills are assessed accordingly. These tests often require people to demonstrate their abilities. There are a variety of emotional intelligence tests anyone can take online, but the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) are two measures predominantly used by mental health professionals.

What Are the Components of EI?

Research suggests there are four levels of emotional intelligence:

Emotional Perception

This includes understanding non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language. 

Ability To Reason Using Emotions

Using emotions helps us to prioritize what we should react or pay attention to and respond emotionally. 

Ability To Understand Emotions

Because the emotions we perceive carry a wide variety of meanings, the observer of the emotion needs to interpret the cause of the emotion. For example, if you observe someone being angry, it could be to do with you or it could be to do with a completely separate situation. 

Managing the Emotions

Managing our emotions is a vital part of emotional intelligence. This is the highest level of emotional intelligence because regulating our emotions means we can respond in the right way, and responding to others’ emotions is vital to managing our emotional intelligence.

How Can You Improve EI?

Being emotionally intelligent is crucial, but if you have very low emotional intelligence, there are things that you can do to improve your skills in this area: 


If you want to gain deeper insight into how people are feeling, paying attention is the most important starting point for anybody. Taking the opportunity to listen to what people are trying to tell you, in a verbal and non-verbal way, can help you gain greater insight into what they are trying to communicate. If you see somebody feeling a certain way, you will need to consider the variety of factors that may contribute to that emotion. 

Having Empathy

We need to pick up on people’s emotions, but we also need to put ourselves into their shoes so we can understand their perspectives. We can practice empathizing with others on a regular basis by imagining how we would feel in someone else’s situation. Doing this regularly can help you to build up an understanding of a certain situation in an emotional sense. 


Having the ability to reason with emotions is a vital component of your emotional intelligence. Understanding how your emotions influence your behaviors and decisions, as well as how people respond to you, can help you to gain greater insight into your emotional intelligence. You can start to test yourself by asking more questions about the situation if somebody is feeling a certain way, or if there are differences in emotions between you and the person you are interacting with.

How Do You Use EI in Your Daily Life?

You can use emotional intelligence in many different ways, and practicing it is a vital way to ensure that you do improve your emotional intelligence over time. These can include some of the following: 

  • Moving on after making a mistake. 
  • Sharing your feelings with other people. 
  • Being able to say “no” to others. 
  • Improving your listening skills. 
  • Accepting criticism, responsibility, and accountability. 

Emotional intelligence is vital for the quality of our relationships. As we understand our emotions better, we can improve our well-being, strengthen our communication skills, and have better relationships.

Reach out to Peaks Recovery

So many people who have experienced some form of addiction can experience lower emotional intelligence, either as a result of the addiction or may have developed an addiction because of reduced emotional intelligence. If you ever reach out to professionals like Peaks Recovery, the recovery process involves looking at this component and ensuring that the individual experiencing the addiction can have a greater awareness of themselves.