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Benefits of Mindfulness - Emotional Intelligence

David Rock offers the following definition of emotional intelligence: “[it] involves the ability to perceive, assess, and positively influence one’s own and other people’s emotions and intentions” (2009). In other words, “emotional intelligence has come to refer to a person’s abilities to perceive, identify, understand, and successfully manage his or her emotions and the emotions of others” (Rock and Ringleb, 2013).

According to Goleman, the five components of emotional intelligence include the following: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill (2008). Guillen describes the following emotional competencies: resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attention (2014). Their characteristics involve: quick recovery from adversity, commitment and positive attitude, empathy and compassion, self-knowledge, focus and concentration. Brain areas involved in these dimensions of involve the activation of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, inhibition of the amygdala, increase in oxytocin levels.

As per Dr. Kirk, “self-control frees us from being prisoners of our feelings and emotions, and research shows that utilizing emotional-regulation strategies can change behaviour in dramatic ways” (2013). Since mindfulness training not only allows for greater levels of introspection, but also taps into the brains neuroplasticity and the ability to create new connections / new ways of responding to stressful situations, it supports the expression of more constructive emotional styles.

According to what Daniel Goleman wrote in his book on Emotional Intelligence, people who rate highly on mindfulness scales also rate highly on emotional intelligence and vice versa (2006). As a matter of fact, when Goleman analyzed executives at nearly 200 companies, he found emotional intelligence to be twice as important as the intelligence quotient and technical ability in driving performance (at the highest levels this difference was even higher).

Herring, Roche, and Masters suggest that “within a workplace [and] in situations where individuals are faced with stressful events, a mindful orientation will reduce the likeliness of these individuals engaging in ruminative thought patterns, (....) [which] will lead to greater recovery from events or situations within the workplace environment, which are identified as negative in nature” (2016).

Dr. Ochsner offers the following strategies for emotional regulation based on insights from social-cognitive neuroscience:

· Situation selection – putting yourself in a situation that will elicit the emotions you want to have;

· Situation modification – change what is within your control about the situation to promote the emotions you want to have;

· Change the focus of attention or awareness – change your attention to distract yourself from unwanted emotions;

· Reappraisal – reinvent the meaning of what is actually happening to you;

· Response modulation – supress the behavioural manifestation of unwanted emotions.

Furthermore, Dr. Ochsner offers that the implications of his research lie in the “power that comes from realizing that our emotions are defined by the way we appraise the meaning of situations” (2013).

To summarize, the benefits of emotional intelligence span across many dimensions including: conflict management, giving and receiving effective feedback, focus and concentration, organizational culture and teamwork, and diversity and inclusion.

Please visit the bookings section to find out when the next Mindful Leadership Certification Program is being held.


Herring, J., Roche, M., & Masters, R. (2016). Mindful Rumination Aids High Performance Leadership in the Workplace. New Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management, 16, 19–31

Goleman, D. (2017). Emotional Intelligence – Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Kirk, U. (2013). Neural substrates of corporate decision making. Handbook of NeuroLeadership. (225 – 241). NeuroLeadership Institute.

Rock, D. (2007). Quiet Leadership – Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work. Harper. New York.

Rock, D., & Ringleb, A. H. (2013). The emerging field of neuroleadership. Handbook of NeuroLeadership. (3 – 31). NeuroLeadership Institute.

Ochsner, K. (2013). Staying cool under pressure: insights from social-cognitive neuroscience and their implications for self and society. Handbook of NeuroLeadership. (225 – 241). NeuroLeadership Institute.



Institute for Mindfulness and Meditation

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