Mindfulness, EQ, and Positive Psychology – A Glossary

As more and more information emerges about the benefits of taking a holistic approach to life and work, chances are you’ve stumbled across terms like E.Q., positive psychology, and mindfulness. And, like many people, you may be more familiar with the terms themselves than their actual meanings. To help set the record straight and enhance your understanding of some valuable concepts, here is a handy glossary which offers you a complete overview of some terms relevant to this area.

Emotional Intelligence

Also known as EQ, Emotional Intelligence is a term that has become increasingly prevalent in the business world. It refers to a person’s ability to monitor the emotions of himself and others and use this information to guide his thinking, behavior and actions. An increasing number of studies have shown that those with higher EQ levels enjoy better mental health, enhanced on-the-job performance and highly developed leadership skills. As such, hiring managers are consistently on the lookout for EQ in potential job candidates.

Positive Psychology

While psychology has historically focused on human dysfunction and mental illness, this trend has shifted since the turn of the current century.  Positive psychologists use scientific methods to study the conditions associated with helping both individuals and communities to prosper and perform at their best. The term is gaining rapid popularity in the world of business where corporate psychologists such as myself are drawing on the science to help companies and employees achieve greater wellbeing, and in turn, drive more profit for the companies in which they work.


Originating from ancient Buddhist meditation practices, mindfulness has since emerged as a contemporary term which describes a person’s dynamic awareness and acceptance of his/her thoughts, emotions, sensory experiences and surrounding environment. It calls on individuals to experience and non-judgmentally stay aware of  the immediate moment, rather than be distracted by thoughts of the past or present. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a prominent figure in mindfulness defines it as, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”  Mindfulness has proven to be a valuable practice in a variety of realms and is now used across an array of areas including corporate, education, health and social rehabilitation.


As the name suggests, wellness relates to a person’s overall state of wellbeing encompassing the mind, body and spirit. This balance is actively sought out by an individual through decisions and choices that nurture the creation of an all-encompassing healthy lifestyle. While the term is incredibly broad, common wellness dimensions include mental, physical, spiritual, environmental, social and occupational.


Spirituality is a hard one to define as it can mean different things to different people. That said, most spirituality encounters involve a path to self-transformation, inner discovery and meaningful experiences. Some of the more popular spiritual journeys involve religion, meditation, nature, reflection and sensory experiences.  While work and spirituality have often been considered separate domains, research shows that they can co-exist to create better outcomes.

To learn more about how spirituality, positive psychology, and mindfulness can be applied to your work, check out my book, The Consummate Leader: a Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others…and in Yourself.

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