Emotional intelligence or EQ is our ability to identify and manage our own emotions as well as the emotions of others. It includes three skills which are the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions, the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks, and the ability to manage emotions. It can help you to better understand yourself and others; that’s why it continues to be an increasingly popular skill to have in the professional world.
Emotional intelligence is indeed important to our life experience, and it can influence how successful we are, whether it’s about our careers or relationships. When a person has a high EQ, he is both highly conscious of his own emotional states and can identify and manage even negative things like sadness and frustration. Aside from that, people with high EQ are also tuned in to the emotions of others’ experiences, making them great parents, leaders, friends, and romantic partners.
The Four Attributes of Emotional Intelligence
Self-management indicates how well you can control your impulsive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. It reflects how you manage your emotions without hurting yourself or others. Self-management in terms of emotional intelligence also entails the way one initiates things, decisions, or acts to fulfill commitments.
It is a vital attribute of emotional intelligence related to how well you are aware of your feelings and thoughts and how you let them affect your behaviors. Knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses and employing appropriate tools for improving on them is one sign of highly developed self-awareness.
3. Social Awareness
It is all about being aware of your surroundings, be it understanding the emotional needs of the people or the social situations around you. The ability to quickly judge and perceive the dynamics of a group of people you interact with is one of the finest examples of having high social awareness.
4. Relationship Management
An emotionally intelligent person clearly knows how to initiate and maintain healthy relationships. This ability or attribute of emotional intelligence promises effective interpersonal communication skills, group conformity, and conflict resolution.
If you want to achieve your goals or simply improve your emotional intelligence, there are ways you can do it. Let’s talk about those simple ways you can improve your emotional intelligence, which in turn, can also help you develop self-awareness and empathy:
1. Observe How You Feel
A lot of us lose touch with our emotions, especially when we are rushing from one commitment to the next, working on deadlines, and responding to external demands. This makes us act unconsciously, and it let us miss out on the valuable information that our emotions contain. Every time we have an emotional reaction, we receive information about a particular situation or person. That reaction can be because of the current situation or remind us about a painful, unprocessed memory.
This is the reason why it’s important to observe how you feel because when you pay attention to how you are feeling, you will learn to trust your emotions, and you can become far more adept at managing them. If you find it difficult to do this, you can set a timer for different points during the day. Every time the timer goes off, take a few deep breaths and observe how you are feeling emotionally. Take note where that emotion is showing up as a physical feeling in your body and what the sensation feels. When you practice this often, it will eventually become your habit.
If you feel unhappy most of the time, you can do many things to cope with your unhappy thoughts.
2. Pay Attention to How You Act
You can only successfully manage your emotions when you are consciously aware of them. While observing how you feel, you should also pay attention to how you act or how you behave. Observe how you act when you’re experiencing specific emotions and how that affects your everyday life. Try to see if it impacts your productivity, communication with other people, and your overall well-being. When you become more conscious of how you act with what you are feeling, it will be easy for you to slip into judgment mode and start attaching labels to your behavior.
3. Respond to Conflict Instead of Reacting
Whenever we face conflicts, most of us would often have emotional outbursts and feelings of anger. But if you’re an emotionally intelligent person, you will know how to stay calm even during stressful situations. Emotionally intelligent people do not make impulsive decisions that would lead to bigger problems later on. They know how that the goal in every conflict is resolving it, and they make a conscious choice to focus on making sure that their actions and words are aligned with that.
Therefore, if you want to improve your emotional intelligence, try to think of resolutions when you encounter conflicts instead of feeling bad about them.
4. Practice Maintaining a Positive Attitude
If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, you should not underestimate the power of your attitude. When you have a negative attitude, it can easily infect others if a person allows it to. But emotionally intelligent people have an awareness of the moods of the people around them, and they can guard their attitude accordingly. These people know what they need to do to have an optimistic outlook and have a good day.
To improve your emotional intelligence, try maintaining a positive attitude every day. You can do this by having a great breakfast or lunch, by doing some meditations, or by keeping positive messages and quotes on your work desk.
5. Always Be Responsible for Your Feelings and Behavior
This can be a really challenging step but the most helpful as well. Remember that your emotions and behavior come from you and not anyone else, meaning you are responsible for them. If you get hurt by what a person says or does and you lash out at them, remember that you are responsible for that action. He did not make you do what you did because your reaction is your responsibility.
This is the same as your feelings as it can provide you with valuable information about your experience of the other person and your own, but they are not other people’s responsibility. Accepting responsibility for how you feel and behave will positively impact different areas of your life, hence, improving your emotional intelligence.
6. Empathize with Yourself and Others
Empathy is understanding why someone feels or behaves in a certain way and communicating that understanding to them. By practicing empathy, you will be able to improve your emotional intelligence. You should start by practicing it with yourself. Every time you notice yourself feeling or behaving in a certain way, try to ask why you think you feel like that. At first, you might not know why but when you keep on paying attention to your feelings and behavior, you will be able to notice that different answers will come through.
7. Keep in Mind that Emotional Intelligence is a Lifetime Process
Remember that emotional intelligence is not something you develop just once but a lifetime practice, and you can keep on improving it. If you feel like you’ve mastered the different ways we gave, still, keep on practicing. You will realize that you can use the benefits of improving your emotional intelligence for the rest of your life.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Emotional intelligence helps you thrive in numerous walks of life, including:
- Effective performance at school or work: since emotional intelligence helps in effective conflict resolution and healthy interpersonal skills, people with developed EQ can thrive amid the complexities of school and the workplace. Such individuals are highly motivated and spread positivity around them.
- Good physical health: emotions are not separate from our physical bodies. They co-exist with our minds and can have grave consequences on our health if not managed properly. For instance, if you are unable to handle stress resulting from a co-worker’s behavior, it will take a toll on your body.
- Sound mental health: imbalanced emotions and unregulated thoughts or feelings can significantly impact your mental health. If you cannot process an emotion, such as hate or anger, your mental health can suffer a severe setback and open doors to other mental issues, such as aggression.
- Healthy relationships: emotional intelligence is a key to affectionate and balanced relationships. It is a highly developed skill to recognize your emotions and take the right action. It is what healthy and thriving relationships rely on.
- Mature social intelligence: knowing your emotions full well help you grow as an observer of your surroundings. The more you observe, the more you can understand the world around you. You can easily recognize the true side of the people and determine the way you have to deal with them without any issues.
These are some of the wonderful ways on how you can improve your emotional intelligence. These will help you become more self-aware and empathetic of other people as well, which can develop good relationships.