People tend to make the best decisions when they are calm, cool, and collected. It’s why people often advise you to sleep on major choices, to give the emotions surrounding a big life change a chance to dissipate so you can make a selection unbiased. Now new research published in Psychological Science found that people who have high levels of emotional intelligence might not need to wait to make clear headed decisions. So what does it mean to have emotional intelligence? Psychologists use the term to classify people who are able to identify and control their own and others’ emotions. Basically, they can recognize an emotion, the source, and act appropriately.
For example, a person who hits traffic on the way to work might be pretty pissed about the glitch in the day. If this person has high levels of emotional intelligence, she’ll be able to recognize that she’s mad about the traffic, and not take it out on her coworkers, or make rash decisions in meetings that day because of the emotion. This type of person can separate emotions that relate to the situation at hand, and emotions that don’t. They don’t necessarily make decisions in an emotional vacuum, but are able to only pay attention to the feelings that matter, ignoring what happened earlier that day or later that evening. This leads to better, cooler-headed decision making. And if you’re curious what youre level is, check out an Emotional Intelligence Quiz from Berkeley to find out.