How To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
EQ or emotional intelligence has continually become a popular and necessary skill in the modern professional world. But what makes emotional intelligence such a vital skill in the professional realm?
In simple terms, emotional intelligence is much more than a trend. According to various studies, employees with EQ undeniably influence the overall bottom line. In fact, statistics reveal that employees with high EQ produce significant productivity and sales totals.
Enter EI (emotional intelligence), a distinctive set of skills and behaviors that generally assist us in recognizing, understanding, and even managing our emotions. Moreover, EQ allows us to identify, comprehend, and influence other people’s emotions.
But what exactly is emotional intelligence, and how can you improve it? Well, in this post, you will learn about EI, what makes up a good EI, and the steps you can take to enhance this vital component of solid and successful relations.
What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why You Should Cultivate It?
Also popularly known as EQ/Emotional quotient, emotional intelligence defines the capacity to comprehend, use, and positively manage your emotions. This can be to facilitate proper commutation, relieve stress, overcome challenges, empathize with people, or even diffuse conflict.
As such, in the modern workplace setting, developing high EQ significantly gives you a competitive edge over your peers and propels you to professional triumph. Currently, in-demand skills seem to get more technical increasingly. Nevertheless, there is a resultant and urgent need for the exclusively human capacity to collectively work with and through other individuals to achieve essential objectives.
Ideally, emotional intelligence assists you in establishing more robust relationships, achieve personal and career goals, and even succeed in your coursework. Also, it can help ensure you get in touch with your feelings, make better and informed decisions, and transform intentions into actionable plans.
In essence, EQ represents a unique set of behaviors and skills. Although some individuals will usually be naturally better suited at different aspects, you can learn EQ, develop it and enhance it.
Four unique attributes characterize EI: self-awareness, self-management, relationship management, and social skills.
- Self-management: This is the ability to control any impulsive behaviors and feelings, take the initiative, manage emotions properly, adapt to continually changing situations, and follow through with your promises and commitments.
- Self-awareness: The ability to identify your emotions and exactly how they influence your behavior and thoughts. Typically, it means understanding your weaknesses and strengths and having self-confidence.
- Social awareness: this is the ability to exercise empathy. It means that you can comprehend other individuals’ concerns, needs, and emotions, feel comfortable and confident socially, identify emotional cues, and understand the power dynamics within an organization/group.
- Relationship management: the ability to establish and maintain solid and good relationships, influence and inspire others, communicate clearly, manage conflict, and work well within a team setting.
Ideally, emotional intelligence (EI) plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining relationships in addition to influencing others—vital skills that assist people across their lifestyles and careers and anywhere they enter an organizational framework.
What’s more, many studies outline that individuals boasting a high EQ (emotional quotient) are often more innovative. Also, these individuals seem to have a much higher job satisfaction compared to those having relatively lower EQ.
Signs Of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to a combined effort by the body, mind, and spirit to incorporate individuals into society positively. EQ is learnable and can be developed easily. Several signs distinguish people with high EQ and those with low EQ.
People with Low EQ:
- Easily irritable
- Always feel insecure
- Are always carried away by emotions
- Suffer a significant blow in decision making
People with high EQ:
- Portray leadership in group activities and lead others towards a similar objective.
- Have a way to deal with unrealistic and unreasonable people, employ listening and advisory tactics.
- Always calm and collected even in sticky situations.
- They have a deep understanding of their own emotions and reactions.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Smart or intelligent personalities are not necessarily the most well-up or satisﬁed people. There are cases where book smart individuals suffer from societal ineptitude and are incapable of their workspace, worst cases even in their relationships.
A person’s intelligence quotient though quite important, cannot be enough to achieve your goals. Of course, it will help in academic gratiﬁcation, but the EQ allows one to manage stressful situations that one may encounter during their examinations. EQ and IQ are co-existent and work better together.
Emotional Intelligence Affects
- Your social intelligence: Being in terms of your emotions is socially essential, creating a bond between you and the people in your surroundings due to social intelligence. You are well able to deﬁne an ally and an enemy, gauge people’s interests, free of stress, enables one to relate well with people, and brings a sense of belonging and love.
- Your mental health: The incapability to handle stress and emotions expose one to depressing and anxious feelings. One needs to have a good understanding of their emotions in order to have the capacity to manage them. It is not alien that many people are unable to create strong bonds with others due to emotional distress. This leads to loneliness and ﬁnally mental breakdown.
- Your physical health: You cannot manage stress if you cannot manage your emotions. This causes serious health issues. Examples are infertility, strokes, and heart attacks. Also, high stress levels usually quicken the aging process, high blood pressure, weakens the immune system Etc. Stress management is the number one step to achieving emotional intelligence.
- Your performance at school or work: As a result of high EQ, one can penetrate via diversiﬁed workspaces, work with others, and succeed in their careers. Nowadays, during job interviews, many ﬁrms gauge the emotional intelligence of an individual before stafﬁng them.
- Your relationships: The ability to understand and navigate emotions allows you to express your feelings and relate to others’ feelings. Due to this, communication with others is more open; hence strong bonds are formed at places of work and one’s own life.
If you are unfamiliar with any of the following experiences, then you might have ‘switched off’ your emotions. To effectively build a better EQ (and, in extension, become emotionally conscious and healthy), you need to reconnect with your fundamental emotions, embrace them, and get comfortable with your feelings. Typically, you can do this by learning and practicing several unique steps. Here are eight methods of improving your emotional intelligence.
Top 8 Useful Methods of Improving Emotional Intelligence
Growth in emotional intelligence is a continuous process. Each person has his/her approach towards achieving high EQ. In Andrews’s perspective, there are several ways that direct one towards a higher EQ:
Practice Self-awareness (Ability to recognize and name your emotions)
The ability to deﬁne oneself and improve your emotional intelligence begins by ﬁrst identifying the emotions you are feeling, afterward you must be able to name them are you happy? Are you sad? Are you angry? To connect with your EQ, you must be in a position to manage stress.
Early life experiences play a major role in explaining emotional intelligence. For instance, if your childhood guardian was well informed and cared for your emotions, it is outright that as an adult your emotions play a crucial role in developing your EQ. This differs to those who during their childhood were faced with difﬁculties and life-threatening situations, they tend to disregard emotions and as a result their EQ diminishes.
Thoughts and actions are determined by one’s ability to contact their emotions.
- Can you experience strong feelings that intensely attract your attention and of others?
- Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in your stomach, chest or throat?
- Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they have a role in your decision making?
- Do you experience feelings that ﬂow, having emotion after emotion changing from time to time?
- Do you experience individual feelings and emotions like joy, fear, anger, sadness which are facially expressed?
If by any chance you haven’t experienced any of these, it is upon you to switch on your emotions and indulge in the spirit of humanity.
Practice Proper Self-management
To develop emotional awareness, you must learn how to properly manage your stress. This will allow you to feel comfortable reconnecting to unpleasant and strong emotions and shifting how you respond and experience your feelings.
Informed decision making concerning your behavior enables you to connect to your EQ. Losing control of your emotions and the capable nature to behave appropriately is attributed to too much stress. There is no time in your life that you have made good decisions while stressed. Stress limits your ability to think clearly and emotionally.
Emotions tell others and us about our inner self but when we are overly stressed, we are unable to connect with the present. As a result of this, we become vulnerable to un-thoughtful behavior, lack of self-control and rational response.
Be Socially Aware: Practice Mindfulness/Empathy
With social awareness, you can easily identify and interpret the key no verbal cues people continually use to converse with you. Essentially, these cues allow you to understand how other people are feeling, spot their emotional state changing continually, not to mention what matters to them.
When different individuals exhibit similar nonverbal cues, you can easily identify and comprehend the mutual emotional experiences of the individuals and power dynamics. Simply, you’re socially comfortable and empathetic.
Mindfulness is a component of social and emotional awareness. It represents the practice of intentionally focusing all your attention on the current setting-albeit without judgment. The art of developing mindfulness is founded in Buddhism although most religions feature forms of similar meditation techniques or prayer.
With mindfulness, you can essentially shift your concern with a thought towards appreciating the present, your emotional and physical sensations, and get a bigger outlook on life. Mindfulness focuses and calms you enhancing your self-awareness while at it.
To nurture social awareness, you must understand the significance of mindfulness in the overall social process. In any case, you can’t identify the subtle nonverbal cues if you are in overhead, contemplating on other things or just zoning out on your smartphone.
Being socially aware entails your utmost presence in the current setting. While most of pride ourselves on our capacity to multitask, meaning that you’ll miss the delicate emotional shifts taking place in people that assist you in fully comprehending them.
When you pay attention to other people doesn’t undermine your self-esteem. Once you invest the effort and time to really pay attention to other individuals, you’ll gain valuable insight into your emotional state and your beliefs and values. For instance, if you feel comfort on hearing other people express particular views, you’ll have quite a lot about yourself.
Typically, emotionally intelligent persons know how to show empathy/empathize. These individuals appreciate that empathy is a characteristic that signifies emotional strength and not weakness. This trait assists EQ persons in relating to others on an elementary human capacity. It helps promote understanding and mutual respect between individuals with different situations and opinions.
Better Relationship Management
Working properly with other people is a distinctive process that starts with being emotionally aware as well as your capacity to understand and recognize what other individuals feel/experience. Once you are emotionally aware of other persons, you can properly develop additional emotional/social skills that will fortify your relationship and make it more fruitful, fulfilling, and effective.
Learn How To Use Nonverbal Communication Effectively
It is virtually difficult to avoid sending any nonverbal messages to other individuals about what you feel and think. The numerous facial muscles particularly those around the eye region, mouth, forehead, and nose assist you to non-verbally convey your emotions and read the emotional intent in other people.
Your brain’s emotional part is always on-and despite ignoring its messages-other people won’t. Identifying the nonverbal messages, you dispatch to others can play an immense part in promoting your relationships.
Respond Instead Of Reacting To Conflict and Learn To Use Conflict To Get Closer to People
In cases of conflict, anger pangs and emotional outbursts are quite common. Emotionally intelligent individuals understand how to remain calm during stressful scenarios. These individuals don’t make any impulsive decisions which may result in even bigger issues.
Also, understand that during conflict times, the aim is a resolution, and such individuals make a decision to emphasize on ensuring their resulting words and actions align with that.
Another virtual you should exercise is to learn to see conflict as an opportunity to grow closer to others.
Disagreements and conflict are virtually inevitable in everyday human relationships. We all can’t have the same opinions, expectations, and needs all the time. Nonetheless, that isn’t a terrible thing. Ideally, resolving conflict in a constructive and healthy way can solidify trust between individuals. Where conflict isn’t perceived as punishing or threatening, it fosters creativity, safety, and freedom in relationships.
Utilize Active Listening Skills
During conversations, emotionally intelligent persons listen to identify clarity rather than simply waiting for their speaking turn. EI persons usually ensure they understand properly what is being communicated before they respond. What’s more, they also focus to the nonverbal aspects of the conversation. Essentially, this averts misunderstandings, enables the listener to react properly, and shows respect for the conversant.
Practice Ways to Maintain a Positive Attitude
What is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of improving EQ is having a positive attitude. Ideally, having a powerful and positive attitude allows you to have a better outlook on every situation. Negative attitudes usually infect other individuals especially if an individual allows it.
Individuals with emotional intelligence boost awareness of surrounding people’s moods and subsequently alter their attitudes accordingly.
Typically, these people understand what they require to do to have an optimistic and good outlook.
Naturally, this can include engaging in meditation or prayers, having a good lunch or dinner, or keeping positive messages and quotes on their computer or desk.
Other Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
- Use humor and play to relieve stress: Laughter, play and humor are natural stress antidotes. These activities ease your burdens and assist you in keeping things in a given perspective. With laughter, your nervous system becomes balanced, your calm down, minimize stress, get sharper, and make you much more emphatic.
- Take critique well: Finally, another essential component of boosting your EQ is being able and open to taking critique. As opposed to getting defensive or offended, high EQ persons usually take some time to comprehend the reason behind the critique, exactly how it influences others or their individual performance, not to mention how they may resolve any concerns constructively and appropriately.
In the end, most of these skills and practices may appear somewhat better suited for individuals who have a proper understanding of human psychology. Nonetheless, although high EQ character may come much easier to naturally emphatic persons, virtually anyone (provided there is willingness and effort) can learn, develop, and utilize them effectively.
Essentially, less emphatic individuals need to just practice the art of being more conscious and self-aware of their daily interactions and how it affects others.
By learning and using these few tips, you’ll undoubtedly be on your way to substantially improve your emotional intelligence capacity, and better yet, lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.