Emotional Intelligence is Associated with Wellbeing and Self-Management

Emotional Intelligence Is Important in COPD

Background: Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage personal thoughts and feelings. It can influence your communication with others. It is a trainable skill that has been used in corporate business to improve well-being and performance.
first author of study evaluating emotional intelligence.

Dr., Roberto Benzo of the Mayo Clinic.

Study: Dr. Roberto Benzo from the Mayo Clinic studied 310 patients with COPD who were 69 years of age on average. The key breathing test (FEV1) was 42% of the predicted value on average. All subjects answered numerous questionnaires. The study findings were published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society in January 2016 (volume 13, pages 10-16). Findings: Emotional intelligence was significantly and independently associated with self-management abilities, quality of life (shortness of breath, fatigue, emotions and mastery) after adjusting for age and breathing test results. Conclusions: Dr. Benzo and his team concluded that emotional intelligence is important for those with COPD. The authors commented that attention to it may address the current gap that exists in the treatment of emotional parts of COPD which is related to decreased quality of life and increased health care use.
Store employee tying shoe of elderly shopper.

Store employee tying shoe of elderly shopper

My Comments: I congratulate Dr. Benzo and his colleagues on addressing a novel feature of COPD that has not received much attention in daily care and management efforts. Emotional intelligence affects:
  • Performance at school or work. Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and use testing before hiring.
  • Physical health. If you’re unable to manage your emotions, you probably are not managing your stress either. This can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.
  • Mental health. Uncontrolled emotions and stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand, be comfortable with, and manage your emotions, you’ll be at risk of being unable to form strong relationships which can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
  • Relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.