Six Simple Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

In my last post I looked at what Emotional Intellifence (EI) is. In summary Emotional Intelligence can be defined as the ability to understand, manage, and effectively express one’s own feelings, as well as engage successfully with those of others. Studies have shown that the most successful people in the workplace are those with high EI, while those who are the lowest performers have low EI.

EI is essential for harmonious relationships at work and home. As with most things in life, if we are willing to study and put in the effort, we can improve our EI and therefore our relationship – not just with others, but with ourselves as well.

Here are six ways to increase your EI.

1. Look Within

Many people tend to blame others for their emotions. “He made me feel bad when he said…” or “She really hurt me.”

No one makes us feel or do anything. Our feelings appear and disappear like waves in the ocean. It is up to us if we choose to focus on them or not. For example, anger can arise suddenly, but people might cling onto it for ages, holding grudges, not speaking to family members for years, and so on.

2. Recognise and Reduce Reactions

By recognising our emotions, we can start to get them under control. Note that “control” does not mean “suppress.” It means to express them in a healthy and productive way. Using the anger example, some people shout, scream and throw things. Others go silent and refuse to speak to the other person involved.

3. Leann to Express Emotions in a Healthier Way

Once you have identified an emotion you would like to handle more skillfully, it will be time to come up with strategies that can prevent the emotion from running away with you. For example, some people count to ten before they say anything if they feel anger is rising, in order to give themselves a bit of distance from the emotion and not let the heat of the moment cause them to do anything they might later regret.

4. Understand Better the Emotions of Others

Listening to others and observing them are two steps to better understanding of those around you. If you’ve been struggling in a relationship, try to take a step back and view the person with fresh eyes. Don’t assume or rush to judge. Also, don’t take anything for granted. The longer you have known someone, the more you might think you “know” them, but people can sometimes deceive us, and even themselves if they are not in tune with their emotions.

5. Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Sometimes we think it is all about us, when in fact a person’s reaction might have no connection to us at all. Your boss might seem angry, so you think it is about you, your work, or that they are planning to fire you. Your mind can jump to all sorts of conclusions, but the only way you will really be able to try to find out what’s wrong is if you ask.

Of course, the person might then tell you to mind your own business, or lie and say there’s nothing wrong, both of which are communication stoppers and might even make things worse. But, don’t assume that another person’s feelings are to do with you.

6. Learn to Express Your Feelings Proactively

Once you have started to recognize and control your emotions, it will be time to take the next step – conveying them to others when needed. This does not mean sharing every feeling, but only ones that make you feel distant from the other person and need to be resolved if you are going to grow closer once more.

Use these six ways to increase your EI and see what a difference they can make to your relationships.

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