– Rohan Parikh, managing director, The Green Acres Academy
Emotional Quotient, or EQ, as well as IQ, are both an essential part of a child’s development. However, studies have shown that IQ accounts for only about 20 percent of a person’s success. The major factor in determining success is one’s social and emotional intelligence. EQ provides students with the tools they require to recognise the difficult emotions they may be experiencing and to rationalise, analyse and navigate through difficult and stressful times. It is something they will imbibe and carry with them into the workforce and as adults.
When in a state of distress, the mind tends to stop thinking clearly and this can, in turn, affect one’s ability to learn. This is because the brain goes into a state of ‘Fight or Flight’ and the brain seeks the quickest response and not the best response. EQ allows students to better cope with and manage stresses and anxieties that come their way.
First, students need to learn how to identify stress, what it looks and feels like. Stress can manifest physically, mentally, or emotionally. Feelings of anxiety, breathlessness, unable to think clearly, are all indicators that the body is under stress. After identifying that one is in a state of stress, the next step would be to analyse the stressor, and also whether the stress levels are manageable or too much, as well as the typical reactions one would have to it.
As mentioned before, stress can prevent the mind from thinking clearly, so by recognising the signs of stress early enough, one can easily manage the reactions and outcomes. Identifying the stressor can help students manage their feelings in a conducive and healthy manner. If the stressor is something that emerges often, students can prepare for it and learn to manage it. Let’s take the example of having scored badly in a test causing someone stress. By analysing what went wrong: did they not prepare for the test well ahead of time, did they not manage their time effectively, etc. they can make some changes and be better prepared for the next test. And by the time they take their fifth or sixth test, it would not seem like a stressful and mammoth task for them anymore.
Another important reason to identify the stressors is to prevent negative reactions to stress and also take steps to control and release the stress. Some tools in stress management are deep breathing or slow body movements to help slow down the mind and control one’s emotions. Once they have coped with the overwhelming emotions, they get ready to solve the problem. Only after they have reached a calmer stage will their minds be in a better place to think of the best solution and not the fastest solution to the problem. So once calmer, they can revisit the problem and assess what the best possible solution could be.
Proactive tools or strategies are also important and can help students take charge of their own decision making and problem-solving. These help students plan for specific issues or problems that may arise and be prepared for them, and thus make them feel more confident and safe when a situation arises. They are then prepared to tackle the problem with a sound and rational mind.
A well developed emotional quotient or EQ can be crucial in helping students navigate through difficult times such as the present pandemic, as well as any future situations they may encounter. It allows them to stop, analyse, and solve problems logically whenever they face a difficult situation.
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