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MU Psych Central – Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Nicolle Mayo sheds light on the topic of E.I.


by Dr Nicolle Mayo - July 17, 2017

Emotional intelligence has been highly underrated as a needed intelligence in the past, though it is quickly gaining ground as a crucial part of connecting with others, increased productivity, better teamwork collaboration, success, and mental health. It can be developed through reading, self-reflection, lots of practice, and consistent role models. Five core components make up emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness, or having a clear perception (idea) of your personality, character, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses, helps you understand yourself better. Sometimes we overestimate how aware we are of our actions towards others, how we come across, or how well we really know ourselves. There is no harm in asking others how self-aware they think you are, though take in small bites. Each person has their own opinion, so ask for a lot of opinions (consistency is needed here). Feedback from others also suggests that you are able to accept critical feedback as a way of continuing to learn and develop yourself, which we all could really benefit from.

Self-regulation is the ability to act in your long-term best interest, through monitoring and controlling your own behavior, emotions, or thoughts in various situations. We tend to underestimate how much control we may have in certain situations (with anger, in particular), but we really can control our actions. Regulating ourselves is actually one of the few things we can control and it helps keep life in balance.

Motivation, naturally, is an internal process that guides and maintains your goal-oriented behaviors. Think about things that motivate you and use them to your advantage in regulating your behavior. We all benefit from incentives. We all perceive and need rewards in life. Tap into yours and use that to push you forward to your goal. Your reward is likely to be very different from many others, but so are your goals. Don’t compare your goal and progress to someone else; they are a completely different body with different needs. It’s not fair to compare.

Empathy, of course, taps into the feelings and emotions of other people. When we can imagine ourselves in another person’s position/situation as the other person (rather than ourselves in their position), we experience deep empathy. This is extremely difficult to master, but we are capable of being empathic as early as infancy, so we do have a lot of time to practice.

Social skills remain important for communicating with others clearly; being able to relate to many or most people contributes to strong relationship development, and even long-term connections. This is never a bad thing. Social skills also trains you to confront and handle conflict better, also a necessity in relationships.

Each of the above components takes time to fully develop. Work on one component at a time. Ask others for feedback about how you come across in areas of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills if you are not sure. There is no shame in asking. Check out these resources for additional information: IHHP and Emotional Intelligence Course to learn more about your emotional intelligence and how to enhance it. Other books about the topic and written by credible researchers include, Raising your Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide by Jeanne S. Segal, Building Emotional Intelligence by Linda Lantieri and Daniell Goleman, among others.

MU Psych Central is supported by the Mansfield Psychology Department, which includes Dr. Gretchen Sechrist, Department Chair and Associate Professor, who specializes in Social Psychology, Dr. Brian Loher, Professor, our Human Resource Management specialist, Dr. Francis Craig, Professor, expert in Mind/Body Health, Dr. Karri Verno, Associate Professor, who specializes in Lifespan Development and Forensic Psychology and Nicolle Mayo, Assistant Professor, expert in Marriage and Family Therapy.


Idea/Concept: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Videography: Erin O'Shea

Video Editing: Erin O'Shea

Writing: Dr Nicolle Mayo


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Citizens & Northern Bank

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