How Do I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

Man head on desk

image courtesy of fyiliving

Use your emotions to your advantage. Don’t allow your emotions to control you. Once you are in touch with your emotions or feelings you’ll be better able to manage stress, communicate better with others and stay in control by having a greater understanding of yourself. Understanding oneself is the starting point for emotional intelligence. When you do that, you’ll be more likely to understand others.

Two good things about improving your emotional intelligence are that you’ll be more confident in making decisions on your own and love yourself despite your flaws.

How much do you know about you?

When I was first introduced to emotional intelligence and I was asked to define how I was feeling I was lost because I couldn’t define exactly how I felt. Simply put, I was unaware of my own feelings.

However, by understanding our own emotions the reason behind  why we react the way we do becomes apparent and in turn we become more conscious of our strengths and weaknesses. In fact, we start to realize from a conscious standpoint that our behaviors do trigger the behavior of those around us. ‘behavior breeds behavior.’

What is your behavior producing?

One of the awesome benefits of being emotionally intelligent is that you’ll be responding and not reacting to whatever happens.

Responding is a conscious choice. This is where you put some thought into what you are about to do or say. You think before you act!

Reacting, is typically quick and no thinking take place. Therefore, your emotions are in control whereas, you may end up saying things that you don’t really mean.

With that being said, if you are not emotionally intelligent, don’t worry, because the good thing about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned. It’s not too late to understand yourself once you are willing to be mindful of your own feelings as well as others. By following this approach, you can enhance your relationship with yourself and others.

Banish the thought of the fact that you can’t change. You have an amazing brain and you can change.  To change, you have to want to change.

Let’s see how you can improve your own emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills
  • Impulse Control

Self-Awareness is to know how and why you feel the way you do. In making any improvement or developing your emotional intelligence, it is going to take a conscious effort.

To start, you may want to write your feeling and thoughts on paper throughout the day. Sounds tedious but having that awareness will help you to know and understand yourself better. Knowledge of self is critical to your overall performance. It will help you to know what triggers what feelings. You may also change your perspective on how you deal with others.

Empathy is putting yourself in the next person shoes. That is, where you’ll understand another person situation and even their point of view.  However, we don’t even have to experience the challenge or situation to be empathic. In being empathic:

  • Listen attentively (Focus your attention on the person you are empathizing with)
  • Suspend ALL judgments and critiques
  • Establish a personal link between you and the person you are empathizing with

You may have heard this quote by Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” .” Show others you care!

Social Skills are vital for communicating and interacting with others effectively. When we are emotionally intelligent we tend to be more confident about ourselves. However, to develop our social skills can take time, effort and practice but it can be done. One of the methods I used to get out of my comfort zone and develop my social skills was to go to events that I have a great deal of passion for. You can try these for start:

  • Go to events that you have some passion for – it is easier to talk with people who have similar interest as you.
  • Say something nice to someone, at work, in the store, in the gym where ever and during your conversation you want to make sure to make eye contact.
  •  Join organizations that support pressing issues that you would like to discuss. Having an affinity with some makes it easier to to build a relationship with them.

Impulse Control is you thinking carefully about possible consequences before you act.

  • Sometimes you have to really ask yourself if what you are about to do is going to work for you or against you.
  • Learn to put things off so you can achieve your goal. Delay gratification. Don’t be afraid to use the word NO!
  • Don’t make a permanent decision when you are all in your emotions. Give yourself time so you don’t do something that will only hurt in the long run.

How do you deal with your frustration?


Thank you for your support!

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One response to “How Do I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

  1. Great insights here Richard. I think most of us are inclined to intuitively ‘react’ rather than think things through and respond effectively to different situations. You provide very interesting food for thought. I know that when I was new to management responsibilities in my career I found it very difficult to solve problems because my first instinct was to react rather than see things from other people’s perspective.

    Once I recognized that my thought processes were conflicting with finding the most effective solutions I then began to explore how others were being impacted by situations and solutions began to flow more readily in logical response. Those involved also began to respond to me more favourably because of my new focus and approach to resolving issues that impacted them directly.

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