Northwestern Press

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Healthy Geezer: Emotional Intelligence

Friday, May 31, 2019 by FRED CICETTI Special to The Press in Focus

First of two parts

Q. Are we like wine? Do we improve with age?

It’s clear to me that most of us improve in one area. I believe we become better people. My mother used to insist that individuals don’t change. We had many arguments about this.

I think our opinions are highly influenced by perception and personal experience. It’s difficult to prove either side of the argument. However, there have been studies done on “emotional intelligence” that indicate we are like Cabernet, not water.

Emotional intelligence was popularized by Daniel Goleman, a psychologist who was a science journalist for The New York Times. His 1995 book, “Emotional Intelligence,” was a bestseller.

The term emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) was coined by psychologists John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, who is now president of Yale University.

According to these psychologists, EI improves social relations. The emotionally intelligent person:

Perceives emotions, uses them in thought, understands their meanings, and manages them better than others can; Solves emotional problems with less thought; Has highly-developed verbal skills; Tends to be more open and agreeable than others; Seeks occupations involving social interactions such as teaching and counseling; Avoids self-destructive behavior such as smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, or violence; Owns objects with sentimental value.

How important is EI in living a successful life? “No one can yet say exactly how much of the variability from person to person in life’s course it accounts for,” Goleman wrote in his book. “But what data exist suggest it can be as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ.”

Next week: Higher EI over age 60

Have a question? Email: fred@healthygeezer.com. Order “How To Be A Healthy Geezer,” 218-page compilation of columns: healthygeezer.com

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Fred Cicetti

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