Emotional intelligence and stress

Q: Does emotional intelligence cause stress? I am a student and practitioner of EI and also your admirer for your extensive work on this comprehensive behavioral system. However, I have experienced stress occasionally for not being able to speak my mind candidly in order to be emotionally intelligent in dealing with others.

A: Emotional intelligence should help you handle stress better, for several reasons. There are four parts to EI: self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skill.  Self-awareness  can help you notice when you are becoming stressed, which in turn make you better able to calm down before your reaction builds to an unmanageable level. Empathy and social skill should allow you to be more effective in how you express yourself–including knowing how and when to be candid. But these skills need to be learned. Good luck!