Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, use, regulate, and evaluate your own emotions in positive ways to decrease stress, effectively communicate, identify with others, overcome obstacles and mediate and/or defuse conflict.
Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships and succeed professionally by achieving your career and personal goals.
It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.
You've likely heard the term “emotional intelligence,” which was first used around 1990. Many experts consider it to be a better indicator of success than someone's IQ.
Your ability to manage yourself, and even others, is dependent on your level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence fuels your performance – both at work and in your personal life. But the key thing to remember about emotional intelligence is that it starts with you.
From your confidence, compassion, and enthusiasm to your social skills and ability to control yourself. Understanding and managing your own emotions can expedite success in all areas of your life.
Try These Techniques to Develop and Even Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
1. Accept responsibility for your emotions and actions.
Realize that outside influences don't determine your emotions and behavior. You can view things from a different perspective, and choose how you'll respond.
Additionally, you recognize that you are not responsible for the behavior and emotional responses of others as well.
Do you find that you blame others for things often?
Someone who blames others for their responses could benefit from becoming more self-aware and taking emotional responsibility.
2. Work on your listening skills.
If you force yourself to focus 100% on whoever you're interacting with, you'll be in a better position to notice and evaluate what they may be thinking and feeling.
It isn't always easy to decipher someone's emotions. But the more you pay attention the better you can tune in.
Using the information you have from reading cues and listening intently, allows you to have better responses.
3. Develop self-awareness.
We're constantly monitoring our bank accounts and the number on the bathroom scale. Yet, few of us monitor our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Ask yourself throughout the day what you're feeling. Why are you feeling that way? Is the way you're feeling negatively affecting your choices and decision-making?
Are you choosing your behaviors in an intelligent manner or allowing others to push your buttons?
A key component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. It includes taking a realistic self-assessment of what you’re capable of – your strengths and weaknesses – and knowing how others perceive you. It can help highlight areas for improvement, make you better at adjusting, and can minimize reckless decisions.
4. Learn to effectively deal with your impulses.
Impulsiveness is a common cause of anxiety.
We feel bad, so we order a pizza or eat things that are not healthy. In other words, we “eat our feelings”.
Or we grab a credit card and purchase something unnecessary or that we can not really afford.
This type of behavior moves us further away from our objectives.
Take time to notice when you're behaving in a counterproductive manner and strive to make a more effective choice.
Being successful and happy can be challenging enough on its own.
Avoid sabotaging yourself.
5. Volunteer with those less fortunate.
Spending time with those in need will increase your sensitivity to others.
Spending time around those that are less fortunate can help you to develop greater sensitivity for others, their lives, and experiences. And also increase the gratitude for your own life and situations.
6. Keep the focus on responding.
Those with lower levels of emotional intelligence react, rather than respond.
Responding requires thought and consideration. When you respond, you're making a decision.
Reacting is more like a reflex. There's no thought involved, just an emotional response.
Have you ever regretted saying or doing something without thinking it through? How would you have handled the situation differently if you had taken the time to respond?
What can you do to give yourself the mental space to respond more effectively in the future?
Avoid lashing out when someone hurts your feelings. Your reaction has the ability to make the situation better or worse.
7. Work at increasing your empathy.
Quite simply, empathy is the ability to understand other people’s emotions. Understanding that everyone has their own set of feelings, desires, triggers, and fears.
To be empathetic you’re allowing the experiences of others to resonate with your own in order to respond in an emotionally relevant way. Empathy is key in increasing your level of emotional intelligence.
It’s a lifelong skill and the most important one for navigating relationships, and even though it may not come naturally, there are a few ways it can be nurtured.
- Be approachable
- Be open
- Acknowledge the perspective of others
- Learn it’s not what you say, but how you say it
Those with high levels of emotional intelligence are skilled at recognizing and relating to the emotions of others. Recognizing that someone is upset will allow you to have a more effective response.
Ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you were feeling the same emotions.
You probably know someone highly skilled at managing their emotions.
It’s probable that their emphasis is on finding solutions. They refrain from getting angry or defensive and instead go toward actions to resolve whatever the issue is.
These individuals make intelligent decisions and can view themselves objectively.
Emotional intelligence is an important component of healthy relationships, both at home and at work. Learning to balance your emotions can increase your leadership skills, lead to more intimacy in your relationships, and foster overall personal growth.
Your life will be more successful if you can effectively learn how to manage the emotions of yourself and others. The ability to avoid or de-escalate interpersonal conflict is a valuable skill.
If you are looking for help with increasing your self-awareness, I’d love to discuss working together for mindset coaching.
Ready to become more self-aware?
Get signed up for self-awareness group coaching where we do the work to examine our thoughts and beliefs, tune into our desires, and do the work to walk in our true authentic selves. Or start by grabbing your copy of the Self Awareness Workbook – Who Are You? Designed to help you journal your way into a greater space of self-awareness.