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January 12, 2024   |   Tagged Motivation,

EQ 101 What is emotional intelligence and why does it matter?

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EQ, otherwise known as Emotional Intelligence, is a game changer and has been a foundational teaching topic at NBC Basketball for many years. The research on EQ is astonishing. Check out this important newsletter to help you navigate the challenges and pitfalls of emotion and learn how to use emotion for success on and off the court.

What is EQ?
In the early 1900s, everyone was obsessed with IQ. Intelligence tests and measurements sprung up everywhere, including creations of institutions like Mensa or tests like the SAT. In one of the longest-running studies, scientists measured students starting in college. They measured their IQ and hypothesized those with the highest IQ would have the most successful lives, best careers, and best marriages because they believed IQ was the holy grail of good decision-making and wisdom. However, IQ did NOT directly predict success. They found something else that did...EQ! Those with higher levels of emotional intelligence had better careers, relationships, and overall life success.

EQ is the ability to be aware of emotions, both in yourself and in others, and understand how emotions influence decisions, momentum, health, and relationality, for good and for bad.

Emotions are challenging because they can be confusing and difficult. You can be at Disneyland having the “best” time and feel deeply sad and depressed. You can have cancer and still be joyful. Emotions can come from nowhere and everywhere.

To confuse matters, emotions are not only contagious and affect everyone around you, but they are also generational as well. Research on the Armenian earthquake that happened in 1988 showed that children who had parents who survived the quake showed the same level of PTSD as those who experienced the quake firsthand. In other words, emotion can be passed down the generations. This can cause people to wake up and feel depressed without any connection as to why.

Why are emotions difficult?
Emotions can make life hard and painful. Grief is painful. Envy is all-consuming. Sadness literally causes pain in our heart area. When something hard happens it is tough to know what to do with the emotion. Emotions add up over time. Depression comes from carrying too much anger, sadness, frustration, etc. These heavy emotions require energy. Depression is an energy crisis, like anger or sadness on ice. Anger needs an outlet and when that becomes thwarted repeatedly, it's easier to not feel.

Why do emotions matter?
For a while there was a push toward eliminating emotion. If emotions are so messy and challenging, why not work to just cut them out entirely. Hire employees who never feel or teach our students to never emotionally engage. This was hugely problematic. Scientists discovered that though people may say, “I feel nothing,” and believe it, their body tells a different story. Their body registers all the emotions of anger, fear, etc. whether they acknowledge the emotion or not. These emotions go into the body and can cause pain and havoc. Bitterness, according to the Mayo Clinic, can affect the heart and pancreas. Cortisol increases with anger and frustration. All these emotional responses affect the body’s health and well-being.

“The nervous system and hormone responses of hostile people are a pathway to disease and death.” — Redford Williams, M.D

The Benefits of EQ
Emotional intelligence works to help us understand what we are feeling accurately and to move that emotion into positive choices and decisions for physical and relational well-being. EQ helps us be aware before we do things in reaction or in frustration. It helps us understand why we are feeling sad and overeating or why we are envious and choosing to gossip to help us feel better. Awareness helps us elevate our understanding so that we are proactive rather than reactionary or why we are wise instead of obtuse. Instead of destroying, we build. Instead of hurting, we heal.

“People in good moods are better at inductive reasoning and creative problem solving.” — Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, and Palfai

About NBC Camps
NBC Camps have been on the frontline of sports excellence and psychology since 1971. Camps focus on building the total player mentally, physically, and spiritually. For more information about these intensive skill and leadership camps visit NBC Basketball Camps or NBC Volleyball Camps.

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