So you've heard about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the crucial role it plays in employee engagement and organizational performance. What you may not be as familiar with is how mindfulness is a powerful accelerator to both Emotional Intelligence.
For instance Hulsheger et al, 2013 found that mindfulness promotes job satisfaction and aids in the prevention of burnout from emotional exhaustion, while Davidson et al , 2003 concluded that mindfulness increased the ability to handle stressful or negative situations. And interestingly, even short amounts of mindfulness practice can create positive results - just four twenty minute sessions over four days reduced anxiety, improved executive functioning and working memory (Zeidan et al 2010). These are but a few of the myriad of studies showing the beneficial effects of mindfulness on both emotional functioning and health.
So what is mindfulness and how does it build EQ? In essence, mindfulness means bringing our attention to the present moment without judgement. A good illustration of being mindful would be when someone comes to talk to us - we would turn off our phone, give them our full attention and listen without judging what is being said. Mindfulness is something that we can apply no matter what we we are doing - from breathing to listening to walking! Taking the time to be fully present in the moment enables us to become more aware of how we are feeling and this in turn enables us to better manage our emotions. This is the essence of how mindfulness builds the foundation for Emotional Intelligence.