When we hold conversations about mental health and emotional intelligence, there are times when both terms are mixed up. Behind this interchange of concepts, there is a logical correlation. Several studies have shown a positive connection between emotional intelligence and mental health (Armstrong et al., 2011; Moeller et al., 2020; Sergi et al., 2021). Let's take a closer look at how each of the main components of EQ can impact our mental well-being and prevent potential issues.
Self-Awareness - The first check
It is crucial to accurately identify and label our emotions to recognize underlying mental health issues that may affect our behavior. The first step towards improving our mental health is understanding the situation and the personal factors related to our concerns. People who are more aware of their emotional experiences can quickly detect issues and take preventive measures to minimize future negative impacts.
Self-Regulation - Choosing a healthy response
The way we respond to different emotions and the strategies we use to manage them play a crucial role in preventing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Self-regulation involves controlling impulsive reactions, thinking rationally before acting and avoiding choices that might negatively impact our mental health, such as substance abuse and risky behaviors. This component is also connected to resilience, which helps protect us from developing mental health challenges.
Intrinsic Motivation - The drive to wellness
When we find purpose in our actions, we can use this impulse to achieve our goals and enhance our mental health. Intrinsically motivated individuals tend to view challenges as opportunities, which can help them cope better with stress and anxiety. Moreover, finding a sense of purpose can act as a protective factor against conditions such as depression or apathy.
Empathy and Social Skills- Better together
Developing the ability to understand and empathize with other people's emotions and effective social skills can play a crucial role in fostering stronger and more supportive relationships, which is a protective factor for one's mental health. Having a solid social support system is linked to lower stress levels and greater resilience. It helps to prevent social isolation, which is known to have a damaging impact on mental well-being. On the other hand, social skills imply managing conflicts in a healthy and constructive manner, which helps to reduce emotional distress.
As we see, there is a strong relationship between emotional intelligence and mental health, as evidenced by various studies. EQ's components can positively affect our mental well-being by helping us identify underlying issues, manage emotions efficiently, develop resilience, and improve our relationships. You can learn more about enhancing your emotional intelligence in this previous post.
- Armstrong, A. R., Galligan, R. F., & Critchley, C. R.(2011).Emotional intelligence and psychological resilience to negative life events.Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 331-336.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.025
- Moeller, R. W., Seehuus, M., & Peisch, V. (2020). Emotional Intelligence, Belongingness, and Mental Health in College Students. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 499794. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00093
- Sergi, M. R., Picconi, L., Tommasi, M., Saggino, A., Ebisch, S. J., & Spoto, A. (2021). The Role of Gender in the Association Among the Emotional Intelligence, Anxiety and Depression. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 747702. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.747702
Emotional Intelligence for Positive Mental Health, article by Joshua Freedman at Six Seconds website
The Connection Between Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health, article at Renewal Lodge website