Elevating well-being through emotional intelligence

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Elevating well-being through emotional intelligence

In the intricacy of human well-being, Emotional Intelligence (EI) emerges as a powerful skill that can impact various aspects of our lives.

This article will explore the compelling relationship between EI and physical and mental health outcomes. We draw insights from studies and research on EI and MHS’ Emotional Quotient-Inventory 2.0® (EQ-i 2.0®) and uncover how developing and understanding our EI can lead individuals toward happier and more fulfilling lives.

Measuring Emotional Intelligence

Cultivating and developing EI is a proactive choice that provides us with the necessary skills and mindset to effectively navigate life’s challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Dr. Reuven Bar-On, the creator of the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i; the predecessor to MHS’ EQ-i 2.0), is one of the leading pioneers, theorists, and researchers of EI. Bar-On is thought to be the first to introduce the concept of an “EQ” (“Emotional Quotient”) to measure “emotional and social competence.1” Bar-On’s research eventually led to the development of MHS’ Emotional Quotient-Inventory 2.0 (EQ-i 2.0), a comprehensive measure of an individual’s EI. Subscales from the EQ-i 2.0 that are related to well-being include:

  • Self-Regard (respecting oneself)
  • Interpersonal Relationships (building mutually satisfying relationships)
  • Independence (fostering self-reliance and autonomy)
  • Assertiveness (openly communicating feelings while considering others)
  • Self-Actualization (consistently improving oneself)
  • Optimism (maintaining a positive attitude)
  • Problem Solving (understanding how emotions impact decision making)
  • Stress Tolerance (coping with stressful situations)
  • Impulse Control (resisting or delaying impulses)
  • Reality Testing (remaining objective)

Emotional intelligence, your health, and your relationship with others

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and conflicts seem inevitable, understanding the role of EI can be a game-changer. EI not only influences our internal well-being but also shapes the dynamics of our relationships with others. Greater EI equips us with the tools to communicate effectively, navigate conflicts, and respond constructively to feedback. It allows one to:

  • Express their needs
  • Mitigate stress-inducing conflicts
  • Self-regulate during emotionally charged situations
  • Respond well to feedback2

Let’s explore how EI impacts our lives based on recent research findings.

Strengthening Relationships

Research shows a direct link between EI and satisfaction in relationships3. In a study involving 1,100 participants, those satisfied with their marriages scored higher on the EQ-i assessment. Happiness emerged as the top predictor of relationship satisfaction, highlighting the importance of emotional well-being in nurturing healthy connections. By developing EI skills like self-regard and self-awareness, individuals can foster stronger bonds with their partners, leading to greater relationship harmony.

Enhancing Work Performance

In addition to strengthening relationships, EI is a valuable skill for sustaining performance at work. It can enhance an individual’s dependability, regardless of their role. Professionals who undergo EI training may experience significant improvements in work performance and overall success. For instance, in a program about managing physician burnout for leaders in healthcare settings by using an EI-based training and intervention, participants reported enhanced wellness and job satisfaction4. By honing skills such as self-awareness and self-compassion, individuals can mitigate stress and improve their ability to handle emotionally charged situations in the workplace, not only benefitting their own well-being but also contributing to a more positive work environment overall.

EI also played a crucial role in fields like supported care, where the well-being of others relies on caregivers. A recent study shows that higher levels of EI among staff members correlate with better overall well-being and performance5. Staff with higher EQ-i 2.0 scores reported lower levels of illness and provided better quality care to residents. By prioritizing their own emotional health, caregivers can deliver more compassionate and effective care to those they serve.

Improving Physical Health

The influence of EI extends beyond emotional and relational domains to physical health. Research suggests that individuals with higher EI tend to experience better sleep, healthier dietary habits, and lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol6. Individuals can improve their overall health and well-being by developing EI skills such as self-regulation and stress management, leading to a more fulfilling life.

Cultivating EI is not just a personal development endeavor; it’s a pathway to greater well-being and more fulfilling relationships. Whether personal or professional, EI equips us with the tools to navigate challenges, communicate effectively, and lead happier, healthier lives.

Adapting Psychologically

While improving physical health is necessary, so is the ability to adapt psychologically in the ever-changing landscape of work, school, and beyond. Drawing upon EI can be a powerful tool to foster psychological adjustment during times of change and uncertainty. One of the key skills associated with EI is stress management, which plays a crucial role in psychological adaptation. For instance, a study involving medical residents showcased the effectiveness of an educational intervention focused on developing EI skills7. Following the intervention, participants reported significant improvements in stress management and overall well-being. By honing their EI, individuals can better navigate challenging situations and bounce back from setbacks with resilience.

Emotional intelligence can counter negative mental health outcomes

In the realm of mental health, EI stands out as a powerful tool, offering a nuanced approach to counteract negative emotions and enhance psychological well-being. As we delve into this section, we uncover the transformative potential of EI in reducing self-criticism and fostering a positive mental landscape. Let’s explore a few examples.

An athlete’s self-criticism can peak under stressful circumstances, such as when competing in an endurance sport. A recent study shows that EI can affect the tendency to engage in negative self-talk. Researchers studied 1,071 experienced runners and found that negative self-talk was less common in participants with higher EI and more common in participants with higher perceived stress levels8. Runners involved in this study completed assessments of negative self-talk, emotional intelligence, and perceived stress, and those with higher EI were less prone to participate in the negative dialogue.

In the military, where high-stakes decisions are commonplace, EI plays a pivotal role in decision-making, team cohesion, and overall well-being. Intensive training sessions aimed at improving EI among military medical students yielded promising results9. Following the training, students reported increased EI scores, particularly in areas of Optimism and Well-Being. This translated into improved emotional awareness, enhanced communication with colleagues, greater self-confidence, and heightened resilience. By investing in EI development, the military can foster a culture of effective leadership, teamwork, and mental fortitude among service members.

Why develop emotional intelligence?

Cultivating EI offers a pathway to counter negative mental health outcomes across various domains of life. Whether in sports or the military or everyday life, EI empowers us to navigate challenges with resilience, self-awareness, and constructive communication.

Developing EI is within reach for those willing to invest the time and effort. By actively working to understand and manage emotions, improve interpersonal relationships, and build emotional resilience, individuals can enhance their overall well-being and lead more balanced lives. Engaging in activities such as seeking social support, practicing stress management techniques, and participating in EI-based coaching can further bolster EI and positively influence mental and physical health outcomes.

Looking for more information about EI? Click here to learn more about the EQ-i 2.0 or click here get in touch with us today. 


1 Bar-On, R. (1988). The development of a concept of psychological well-being. Doctoral dissertation, Rhodes University, South Africa.

2 PMAC. (2023, May 29). Importance of Emotional Intelligence for Mental Health. https://pmac.uk/resources/mental-health/importance-of-emotional-intelligence-leadership-and-mental-health/

3 Stein, S. J., & Book, H. E. (2011). The star performers. The EQ edge: Emotional intelligence and your success (pp. 256–257). John Wiley & Sons.

4 Ghossoub, Z., Nadler, R., & El-Aswad, N. (2018). Targeting physician burnout through emotional intelligence, self-care techniques, and leadership skills training: A qualitative study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, 1, 78–79.

5 Karimi, L., Leggat, S. G., Bartram, T., Afshari, L., Sarkeshik, S., & Verulava, T. (2021). Emotional intelligence: Predictor of employees’ wellbeing, quality of patient care, and psychological empowerment. BMC Psychology, 9, 1–7.

6 Sarrionandia, A., & Mikolajczak, M. (2020). A meta-analysis of the possible behavioural and biological variables linking trait emotional intelligence to health. Health Psychology Review, 14, 220–244.

7 Ramzan, S., Stirling, J., & Adams, W. (2018). Promoting wellness and stress management in residents through emotional intelligence training. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 9, 681–686.

8 Hedrih, V. (2023, December 9). Emotional intelligence protects runners from negative self-talk, study suggests. PsyPost. https://www.psypost.org/2023/12/emotional-intelligence-protects-runners-from-negative-self-talk-study-suggests-214925

 9 Nevins, A. N., Dailey, S. F., Dong, F., Thompson, L. T., & LaPorta, A. (2023). A mixed methods investigation on the relationship between perceived self-regard, self-efficacy, and commitment to serve among military medical students. Military Medicine, 188, 2266–2274.



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