Five Simple Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

How’s your Emotional Intelligence? Are you working to improve it? Many people are taught to stuff their feelings away. Then they become adults and they’ve lost out on how to recognise their own feelings, much less those of others. If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, try these tips.

Five Emotional Intelligence Tips That Work!

1. Notice How You Feel

The first way to improve your emotional intelligence is to simply notice how you feel at any given point in the day. Name your feelings even if you do so in your own head without voicing them. The more names you can put to your feelings, the easier it will be to start to acknowledge them to yourself and others.

2. Be Mindful of Your Behaviour

Do you find yourself being snappy, happy, or sad without knowing why? When you act in a certain way, it’s important to understand why. This way you can find out what motivates you, what makes you frustrated, and what works and does not work for you emotionally.

3. Question Your Opinions

Sometimes we surround ourselves with only like-minded individuals, and we read, watch, and participate only in ideas, news, and events that further our own preconceived ideas about life. The only way to understand why you believe what you believe is to truly examine it, along with the facts that you think you know.

4. Be Responsible for Your Own Feelings

People like to say that you can only feel the way you feel. That may be true, but you are still responsible for your feelings, why you have those feelings, and how you act regarding those feelings. Sometimes even hurt feelings are really just because you are misunderstanding someone else, and you’re responsible for ensuring that you really understand what is happening so that you know if you really have a right to be hurt or not.

5. Take Time Out Each Day to Be Grateful

Getting in touch with your feelings can sometimes bring up a lot of negative stuff. To help stay grounded, take time out each day to be thankful and grateful. A great way to accomplish this is to keep a gratitude journal that you write in each evening.

That way you can get in touch with positive feelings every night before you go to sleep. Or another simple and similar technique is to make a note of three positive things that have happened to you that day – then you will have something to look back on when you are feeling less positive.

Celebrate Your Emotional Intelligence!

I have written before about EQ or EI, that is Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence, because it is a topic that fascinates me. A number of people have asked me for a basic explanation of the difference between EQ and IQ?

Whilst Intelligence Quotient (IQ) measures your general intelligence, EQ is a measure of your level of emotional intelligence. Essentially, it is a sort of emotional inventory which enables you to better understand the world around you. It is the ability to sense and understand your emotions and the emotions of others as well. If you are highly aware of the feelings of people, you will be able to build long-lasting and beneficial relationships with the people in your life.

Emotional intelligence may be the greatest tool you can carry around. If you are highly mature about sensing feelings of others and adapting to people’s moods, you can assure yourself of success in practically every area in your life.

Have you ever noticed how some people become successful even if they don’t possess your traditional idea of what intelligence is? It is because that person is emotionally stronger and more versatile. These are the people who are dynamic, the go-getters.

If you are unsure whether emotions play a crucial role in your career, then imagine yourself being given the task to execute complicated yet highly rewarding projects. An assignment of this scope usually involves a lot of decision making. Your opportunity for growth now hinges on this one task, and making adept decisions calls for a calm and steady mind. Emotional flexibility helps you to adapt to these very demanding situations. This is only when you will fully realise that emotional maturity and stability is that important!

In business, a high EQ improves performance. It can help you become more productive by improving your skills in decision making. You become a superior performer who people can count on. It’s being “street smart,” as some prefer to call it

Your emotional quotient, therefore, rests on your ability to understand others and relate effectively to them. When you know how your actions can make an impact on others, it is easier to make a decision because you now know what not to do. You are able to build strong relationships, reduce stress, and motivate yourself and others to get the job done.

To increase your emotional intelligence, you have to become aware of your feelings and of how others will react to them. You also need to learn how to empathise. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the motives behind their actions. We know that our experiences shaped who we have become. Knowing that we have different experiences, we also value diversity. This is what makes each of us unique. Be grateful for these differences and celebrate your uniqueness as a person. When we become aware of how each of us was shaped, we become more understanding. Life, after all, is what we make of it.

To enjoy a good life, you have to be at peace with yourself and with the people that surround you. Stop finding faults. Instead, concentrate on how you can succeed despite these faults. And that is what emotional intelligence is all about!

The Upside of Negative Emotions

In the previous post I looked at Dealing with Negativity and while none of us enjoys negative emotions, thoughts and feelings, these dark clouds can often have a silver lining. If we are willing to pay attention to them and go through a learning process, and thereby determine what this negativity has to teach you.

Trust Your Intuition

Negative emotions can be useful to help us trust our intuition. When we are younger, we might be told we are wrong about a certain thing or person, even though deep down in our gut we feel something isn’t right.

We might meet a person and dislike them instantly and not really know why. Sometimes we can change our minds, but often first impressions can be the correct ones.

We tend to reason things through rather than pay attention to our emotions. Learning to trust your intuition is often the best way to manifest a better life for yourself. If head and heart or intuition are in conflict, examine the negative thoughts to see if they have any validity or basis in reality.

Make Important Changes

Negative emotions can often spur you to make the changes you really need to make in your life in order to manifest your best life. For example, if you have been wanting to quit smoking for some time, but never gotten around to it, dating a new person who hates smoking might make you feel bad for a while, but it might also make you more focused on committing yourself to the change.

Heal the Past

Sometimes negative emotions can come up right out of the blue without any warning signs. You might be lying on a beach enjoying yourself and all of a sudden you got this terrible feeling washing over you that something isn’t right.

In many cases, it will be historical. Something triggers a memory of something negative that happened to you in the past. This usually happens for a reason and can be very beneficial if you pay attention to it rather than try to run away from the bad feeling.

You may not realize that this aspect of your life needs to be healed until the negative emotion signals to you that something needs to be processed and dealt with – if you wish to move on as a stronger and happier person.

Most of us hate negative emotions and want to escape from them as soon as possible. However, sitting with them and reflecting on them can often lead us to significant breakthroughs that can help to move forward in a positive way.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

As I have observed in my recent posts the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) has become a hot topic of psychological research in recent years, as a way of explaining why some people seem to manage their relationships at home and in the workplace better than others. Instead of Intelligence Quotient (IQ), researchers began to study Emotional Quotient (EQ) – the ability to manage your own emotions and “read” those of others accurately. So why is emotional intelligence so important?

Importance at Home

The advantages of understanding the emotions of others in relation to your home life are obvious. Good EI skills mean better communication, and better communication will usually lead to greater harmony and intimacy in terms of romance. In relation to parents, it will lead to more successful establishment of your independence and overall personality. You won’t need to live according to the labels you’ve been given, such as “mother’s little helper” or “the man of the house.”

Once you become a parent, you will be able to avoid the pitfalls of labeling your children, and allow them to develop and grow according to their talents and interests, not yours. Most parents would love it if their children grew up to be doctors, for example, due to that profession’s perceived status and money-earning potential. However, if you child is not the least bit interested in science and shows no compassion for others, trying to steer their career in that direction would be a disaster for the parties concerned.

Knowing yourself is the best first step to knowing others, so if you’ve been struggling at home, it might be time to assess your EI.

Importance in the Workplace

EI has become of great interest in relation to the workplace. Businesses are made up of people, and the most successful business people have been shown to have high EI – not just intelligence in relation to their career or industry.

As with personal relationships, EI in professional relationships starts with self-awareness. Once we understand our emotions, we can control them and express them in a skillful, not harmful way. We can also understand the thoughts, feelings and points of view of others, and be able to respond to their issues appropriately.

Importance in General

EI is important for a number of reasons:

  • Mental health and wellbeing – Mastering EI puts us in control of our mind and emotions. It resolves issues from the past and gives us confidence to move toward a better future.
  • Physical health – Being in control of your emotions puts you in control of your life, cutting down on stress and conflict. This means less wear and tear on your body and better health.
  • Better communication – If you say what you mean, mean what you say, and become a better communicator who is able to pick up up verbal and non-verbal cues, you will be able to make more connections and reduce conflict.
  • Better conflict resolution – Even if conflicts do arise despite your increased EI, chances are that they will be easier to resolve because you will be better able to come up with a range of ways to end the issue before it gets out of hand.
  • More success – Getting along better with others means a smoother path to greater success.
  • Better negotiating skills – Better EI will improve your negotiating skills, so you will be able to come up with “win-win” deals everyone will be happy with.
  • Better leadership skills – A leader who is calm, cool, collected, and good at working with others is one other people will be willing to follow. Improve your EI and see what a difference it can make to your life.

Are Some People More Emotionally Intelligent Than Others?

The concept of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) has been around for decades. However, the idea of EQ (Emotional Quotient) or EI (Emotional Intelligence) became popular in the 1990s as a way of assessing why some people were more successful in the workplace than others. Knowledge from books is important, of course, but researchers noticed that the top performers in their careers all had certain characteristic in common.

They were:

  • Self-aware
  • Self-controlled
  • Able to act appropriate to the emotion being felt
  • Relating to others effectively, such as showing sympathy and empathy
  • Relating to others in a range of social situations, such as one-on-one, meetings, team projects, negotiations
  • A “people person” rather than an ideas person

Research showed that some people had more EI than others. Those who were lacking in EI tended to be in the lowest percentile in terms of work performance, and researchers posited that the personal relationships of underachievers were as difficult as their professional ones.

Learning EI

The good news is that EI can be developed with some focus and discipline. Each of the components above can be learned and improved upon. Working on becoming your best self is always a good idea for the sake of your own personal fulfillment. Working on EI can have the added benefits of improving your career and going from low man on the ladder to the top rung.

How is this possible, you may ask? It’s because in the process of improving your EI, you will become the kind of person who can “win friends and influence people.” People do business with people they like. Becoming more self-aware and self-controlled can serve as the gateway to getting along with others better, and being perceived as someone to be admired and even guided by.

In the same way that some people seem to be born leaders while others study leadership and take action to gain leadership positions, you can learn more about your own emotions in order to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
Understanding what makes others tick, being a good listener and problem solver, a team player and a someone in control and not freaking out no matter what happens, are all signs not just of a reliable colleague, but a leader as well – a person others look to for guidance if and when things start to go wrong.

Studying your own emotions can help you learn how to manage them. Note the word “manage,” not “suppress.” No one is expecting you to be a block of wood, but in the workplace, those who can manage their emotions and not fly off the handle (for example) will stand out compared to those who are not able to rein themselves in.

Observing body language in yourself, and facial expression if you look in the mirror, will all give you guidance on the kind of image you are conveying to others. Are you coming off as warm and friendly, or cold, aloof, and arrogant? Are you really just shy? If you feel you are shy, what is making you hold back from others?

Reading the body language and facial expressions of colleagues, bosses, important business contacts, and so on, can help you get through even tricky situations and negotiations because you will be more alert, aware and tuned in to others. Most people don’t like used car salesmen because they’re so pushy. They only care about the sale, not the purchaser. Conveying care and other higher motivations such as improving their lives will create a win-win situation for everyone.

If you’re feeling stuck in your relationships, spend more time on your EI and see what a difference it can make in your life.