Emotional intelligence or EQ is a type of social intelligence. It involves your ability to monitor your own and others' emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide your thinking and actions.
EQ had been studied for decades before Salovey and Mayer called it emotional intelligence in 1990 and before it was made popular by Daniel Goldman in 1995.
What are the benefits?
EQ has been linked to success in many areas such as leadership, relationships, and wellbeing. If you have high EQ you can expect better relationships, higher job satisfaction, higher achievement at work and school and better health and wellbeing.
High EQ is associated with better self awareness, motivation and being more likely to pursue your goals. You are also more likely to be in good physical health and have a higher subjective wellbeing.
Because EQ is largely skills, competency and behaviour based, the good news is that it can be learned.
Emotional Intelligence is broken down into these main areas:
Your ability to adequately manage emotions and cope with stress.
Your ability to set personal goals and your drive to achieve them.
Optimism: the tendency to anticipate a positive outcome.
Your ability to feel content with yourself, others and your life in general.
Being aware of your limitations and weaknesses as well as your strengths.
Flexibility and adaptability.
The ability to solve personal and interpersonal problems.
Can I improve my EQ?
The good news is that it is possible to improve your EQ. For example, when you learn to better manage your stress your stress tolerance improves and you’ll be able to function more effectively when experiencing stress.
For help understanding emotional intelligence and how you can improve it; contact your EAP on 1800 629 277 in Australia and 0800 327 669 in New Zealand or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
References and further reading:
 Salovey, P. and Mayer, J.D. (1990), "Emotional intelligence", Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Vol. 9, pp. 185-211.
 Bar-On, R. (n.d.). The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Health and Wellbeing.
 Bagshaw, M. (2000). Emotional intelligence - training people to be affective so they can be effective. Industrial and Commercial Training, 32(2), 61-65.