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Prioritising Happiness

The Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Wellbeing


We have probably all asked ourselves “how can I increase my happiness?” at least once in our lifetime. Perhaps you’ve tried various meditation techniques or forced yourself to make use of the gym membership you bought last year.


Understandably, however, many of us lose track of our wellbeing and often forget how our happiness can affect not only our personal life, but also our work life. While it may not be possible to simply choose to be happy, you can work on your overall emotional wellbeing.


So how can you make your happiness a priority?


According to the EQ-i 2.0 model, there are four key areas of emotional intelligence that you may want to focus your attention towards:


1. Self-Regard – This refers to respecting oneself and having confidence in our own ability. People who have an increased sense of self-regard are more likely to feel good about themselves, which in turn leads to enhanced life satisfaction and wellbeing.


Reflecting on previous accomplishments, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, are both useful ways to begin developing your self-regard.


2. Self-Actualisation – This addresses our pursuit of self-improvement and engagement in meaningful goals. Research suggests that having a strong commitment to learning can contribute to your overall happiness. This area of emotional intelligence is closely related to the “Meaning and Accomplishment” pillar of wellbeing, which involves seeking to master personally relevant goals.


If you would like to develop this, start by considering what you are passionate about and ensure you are spending time working on these areas that are most important to you.


3. Interpersonal Relationships – This focuses on building and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships with others and is another key pillar of wellbeing. Having a solid social support network helps to protect you from the negative effects of stress, as you are able to rely on others during difficult times.


To develop relationships within the workplace, you could join (or start) a mentoring or peer support programme. This can help establish connections with your colleagues and research suggests that supporting others also improves your wellbeing.


4. Optimism – This refers to our expectations about the future and how we respond to setbacks. Optimistic people are better able to manage stress and tend to maintain a positive outlook during difficult situations. This area of emotional intelligence is closely related to the “Positive Emotion” pillar of wellbeing. Happiness, gratitude, hope and pride are all examples of positive emotions that can increase one’s wellbeing in the workplace.


One way to develop your optimism is to turn your failures and challenges into learning opportunities. This perspective encourages you to focus on what you have gained from an experience and ultimately, improves your resilience.


Organisations have a responsibility to invest in the wellbeing of their employees, with work-related stress being one of the main causes of absence (read our previous blog on the importance of organisational wellbeing). However, as an individual, you can start working on your own wellbeing today by developing your emotional intelligence and prioritising your growth in these four key areas.


Learn more about the EQ-i 2.0 model and emotional intelligence.


Start developing workplace wellbeing in your organisation and learn more about the 5 pillars of wellbeing with “The Wellbeing Workshop”.



Stein, S. J., & Book, H. E. (2011). The EQ edge: Emotional intelligence and your success. John Wiley & Sons.

Mind. (n.d.). How to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems. Retrieved from: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4662/resource3_howtopromotewellbeingfinal.pdf

NHS. (2019). 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing. Retrieved from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/

CIPD. (2020). Health and well-being at work. Retrieved from: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/health-and-well-being-2020-report_tcm18-73967.pdf


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