Emotional Intelligence. Why it matters

The topic of mental health is prevalent nowadays and a major part of it is the global rise in levels of anxiety and depression in adolescents. Many causes can be attributed to this development but the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions as well as family environments are among the few. All this to say – young people need help to be able to deal with all these external factors influencing their very real, individual lives.

The Humanity project aims to address these needs through a path of education. The ultimate goal of the project is to foster higher levels of emotional intelligence in youth, to help them deal with the overwhelm of emotions that are likely to come up due to previously mentioned situations.

In the paper “The relationship between emotional intelligence and depression/ anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis” by Seyedeh Tahereh Miranzadeh, Mohammadreza Azizi, and Zahra Rezaei Ardani, the authors found a significant negative correlation between emotional intelligence (EI) and both depression and anxiety, indicating that higher levels of emotional intelligence were associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.

Although the relationship between EI and depression and anxiety is complex and multifaceted, there is evidence to suggest that developing strong EI skills can be beneficial for mental health and well-being, such as:

Emotional regulation: People with high EI are better able to regulate their emotions, which can help them cope with stress and negative experiences. On the other hand, individuals with lower EI may struggle to manage their emotions, leading to feelings of overwhelm, helplessness, and hopelessness that are commonly associated with depression and anxiety.

Empathy: EI also involves the ability to empathise with others’ emotions and perspectives. People who are highly empathetic may be better able to understand and support loved ones who are struggling with mental health issues, and may be more likely to seek help for themselves when they need it. In contrast, individuals who lack empathy may feel isolated and disconnected from others, which can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.

Social support: EI is also associated with the development and maintenance of positive social relationships, which can be protective against depression and anxiety. People with high EI tend to be better communicators and problem-solvers, which can help them build and maintain supportive friendships and relationships. Conversely, individuals with lower EI may struggle to connect with others or may engage in unhealthy relationship patterns, which can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The reason why the Humanity project targets young people (aged 15-24) is that they are entering adulthood. The transition from school life to adulthood has never been easy and the main difficulties are finding a job, achieving economic and household independence and growing on an individual. For example, the increased isolation and limited social interaction around the Covid-19 pandemic is still revealing its negative effects on young people. By improving the skills of EI youth, we aim to provide them with a promising future. Our hope is that by knowing how to regulate emotions and show understanding, adolescents and maturing generations will experience fewer difficulties in the workplace, in their personal relationships, in starting a family, etc.

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