People often underestimate why a high EQ is important. Here's why it is important to have EQ as an expat and how you can increase yours.
9 January 2018| Last updated on 2 July 2018
Life in general has a number of obstacles that we need to overcome and can be challenging at times. Then, add being an expat on top of that, and you go to a whole new level. Yes, this does get easier with time, but it is generally really challenging for new expats trying to find their feet in a foreign country.
This is the reason why it is important to have a high EQ as an expat – to be able to more efficiently deal with everything that life throws at you. Having a high EQ means that you will be able to adapt easier to your new surroundings and settle in much faster.
What is EQ you might ask?
EQ is short for Emotional intelligence which is defined as the way to perceive and interpret emotions. Being able to name and regulate emotions to enhance your personal growth intellectually and emotional. Not raising your EQ will not only effect your mental health but your physical health too. Relationships and prosperity will also be effected by the level of your EQ.
EQ is simply the other side of IQ, IQ being about the brain and EQ being about the emotions.
The benefits of increasing your EQ are not only important in life but as an expat with the challenges you face each day, it sets a strong foundation for dealing with the changes in life and culture that get thrown at you.
A high EQ will:
- Enables you to make better decisions
- Increases your ability to communicate well, through a calmer and clearer mind
- Able to cope better with daily struggles of life
- Neutralise conflicts (which we all know language and cultural differences often bring.)
- Your empathy is increased and therefore making new friends is made easier
There are generally four key skills around Emotional Intelligence to be aware of when you are looking at increasing your EQ.
Self-awareness: This is where you are able to name and recognise your emotions including the effect that they have on you in your physical being.
Self-management: This is being able to control those emotions so that they don’t take control of your actions. Those moments where you are not able to recognise the emotion and so it takes hold of your being. Good self-management is not holding back emotions but recognising them.
Social awareness: Being able to understand what people around you are feeling as well as their concerns and needs is a huge benefit to growing relationships but is also where you are able to read situations and manage those moments in a positive way, even when they might not be that pleasant.
Relationship management: In many ways once you have the above, this fourth skills falls into place on its own. Having the ability to build and maintain strong relationships is key to judging situations and the actions you take. You are able to at this stage inspire others and generally be a great team player.
I am sure you will agree our EQ is pretty important and the great news is we can raise our EQ with great ease.
Here are some ways how you can increase your EQ:
Recognise your negative emotions: Recognise, accept and then release is my motto. It is a simple practice, however, it needs you to own the emotion. This is sometimes terrifying to start with but with very little practice will become the best tool you can ever use. Now, there are many techniques for how to do this. For now, let me just suggest that you look at what caused the negative emotion. We are often afraid to tackle the issue. But time spent noticing your emotions is hugely important so that you are then able to change the state. I have put this into a summary but there are hundreds of ways to change state, it's what works for you. It’s worth googling ABCDE theory or some NLP techniques are also brilliant for this.
Using distraction techniques: Now this is great once you have accepted and noticed the emotion. Sometimes you just need a distraction. To do something, be around someone that helps you to move out of the negative state. Find your distraction.
Positive affirmations: This is a great one, feeding your brain with nothing but positive affirmations about yourself or simply 'YouTube' will supply you with loads of inspiration for this too. Do your own list when you feel good, or ask your friends and family to tell you something good about yourself and write them all down. Then when negative emotions come upon you, read out your own affirmations and feel good statements.
Listening to stories: Watching TED talks and other stories that invoke us to recognise feelings, but most of all being able to empathise is hugely important in raising EQ.
Mindfulness, meditation and acupuncture: These are all things that, if you are able to make part of your life, will not only increase EQ but also help in other parts of your life.
With a high EQ comes more self-awareness and with more self-awareness, it is easier for us to improve our lives, achieve our goals but also to be happy. This will in turn have a ripple effect on every other aspect of your life from your work, personal life and even your finances. So why not take some time on a daily basis to improve your EQ. You will surely reap the rewards for your efforts.