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Emotional Intelligence and Stress

Ophelia Gherman
June 15, 2017
Change your outlook on stressful events and stop non-productive worrying. Although a completely care-free life is not possible, beneficial, or healthy, there are ways to thrive in a stressful society without becoming distressed.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines stress as “bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” In any language, 'stress' carries a negative connotation linked to negative experiences like losing a job or a loved one, or your car breaking down in traffic. But did you know that stress can also have positive effects? For example, deadlines and schedules keep us motivated, organized, and productive in achieving our goals. A promotion may come with greater responsibility but is still perceived positively. How would you like to change your outlook on stressful events and stop non-productive worrying? Although a completely care-free life is not possible, beneficial, or healthy, there are ways to thrive in a stressful society without becoming distressed.


Emotional Intelligence and Stress

Our levels of stress correlate with our Emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ. In essence, EQ is the ability to understand one’s emotions and feelings and express control over them by careful management. It gives us insight into the feelings and views of others, and the ability to communicate more effectively. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is more influential than Intelligence (IQ) to one’s success and happiness in life. It has been noted that stress levels and EQ are inversely proportionate to each other, meaning, as EQ increases, stress decreases.


Although the scientific study of emotional intelligence is fairly new, the Bible has been unveiling practical ways to have joy and peace amidst trials and stressors for thousands of years. Much of scripture is aimed at building up our faith in God’s strength and power as well as self-control to manage our emotions during trials and hardships.


As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" Proverbs 23:7.


Our thoughts feed our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.


In Acts 16, Paul and Silas give us an example in how they dealt with a very stressful situation. The Apostles were wrongfully sequestered and accused, beaten with many stripes, and unlawfully imprisoned. A natural response to such stress would be to shed tears, harbor remorse, and ruminate over the insults and injuries, sink into despair, resentment, hatred, and retaliation. But Paul and Silas’ response was to pray and sing psalms! The source of their peace was Jesus Christ. Through meditating on His words and example, the Apostle could say “...I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win ChristPhilippians 3:8.  


Our emotional resilience depends on what we meditate or think on. Christian meditation, which includes prayer and careful study of the Word of God, has been shown to increase beta waves in the brain which results in rest and restoration. Eastern meditation, empties the mind, producing alpha waves, thus weakening the frontal lobe forces.    


Although the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it remains a beacon of comfort to our stressed-out 21-century society with its instruction regarding all basic emotions:


"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:" Ephesians 4:26.


"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," Psalm 30:5.


"Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling," Psalm 2:11.


"So do not forget what you have received and heard. Obey it. Change your hearts and lives! You must wake up, or I will come to you and surprise you like a thief. And you will not know when I will come," Revelation 3:3 (ICB version).


"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good," Romans 12:9


Buy abiding in His Word we are refined into emotionally intelligent beings. Thus, Christ in us will enable us to pass through the storms of life and lead others to the healing waters.


“Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will be open for you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and difficulty. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength. The heavier your burdens, the more blessed the rest in casting them upon your Burden Bearer," {MH 72.1}.