Jan 05, 2016

Impact of Email (2) - Decreases Emotional Intelligence

Impact of Email (2) - Decreases Emotional Intelligence

The previous post in this series discussed how email causes stress and affects your wellbeing. This post discusses a second by-product of this email-induced stress - reduced emotional intelligence.


#2: Email Decreases Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ) is defined as the ability of an individual to understand and manage their emotions in positive ways that relieve stress, help them communicate effectively or empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

Now consider this: you have just received a nasty email from an angry client / boss / colleague. Here is a progression of how you would most probably react:

Step 1: You read the email.

Step 2: Your stress levels spike.

Step 3: The parts of your brain that respond with fear or anxiety (such as the amygdala) take over.

Step 4: Your ability to use more evolved parts of your brain (such as the prefrontal cortex) is affected.

Step 5: There is a very high possibility that you are now no longer capable of logical reasoning or making rational choices.

As you can see, the email not only caused your stress, but also impacted your emotional intelligence and your ability to respond appropriately. Consequently, the higher the number of stressful emails you receive in a day, the lower your EQ becomes.

Have you ever struggled to regain your composure after reading a particularly disturbing email? Let us know in the comments below.

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