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How to Increase Emotional Intelligence — Developing Your EQ 101
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important qualities you can have as a friend, colleague, and human overall. Without it, you could miss out on incredible opportunities. This guide will walk through the many ways you can build and increase your emotional intelligence!
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You’ve probably heard about emotional intelligence before — about 82% of global companies use EQ tests when they’re considering people for executive positions.
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important qualities you can have as a friend, colleague, and human overall. Without it, you could miss out on incredible opportunities.
But don’t worry — like skating, or juggling, or diamond thievery, EQ is a skill you can develop through practice. By the end of this 101 guide, you’ll know exactly how to improve emotional intelligence. Let’s go!
What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
Emotional intelligence is someone’s ability to discern and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. It also regulates mood and motivation. Emotional intelligence, also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ), significantly affects your success in life.
An emotionally intelligent person is aware of their own emotions and how they would affect others. They can handle conflicts and social situations seamlessly. People with high EQ understand their feelings and can manage them without overreacting to a problem.
The Benefits of High Emotional Intelligence
According to Psych Central, Emotional awareness comes with tons of benefits — here are just a few:
- Emotionally intelligent people have excellent social skills and are more capable of creating deeper relationships.
- High EQers can be persuasive and influential.
- They’re leaders with skills in conflict management.
- People who have high EQ are also better at decision-making because they are not easily persuaded by emotions.
- Emotionally intelligent people are also emotionally stable, implying that they can control their own emotions well enough to avoid emotional outbursts.
- Long-term job success depends on people skills more than technical skills (75% is EQ, 25% is IQ).
- High EQ people are better problem solvers because they consider the feelings of others, and they’re not blinded by their own emotional state. They can quickly identify the root of a problem and fix it right away.
- Emotionally intelligent people are also good at managing their mental health because they’re aware of their emotional situation. They can set up effective routines to cope with stress and trauma.
How to Develop Emotional Intelligence
EQ is like a Pokemon — it can grow and get better. If you want to get better at developing emotional intelligence, here are some strategies to help:
Self-awareness is about understanding your own feelings and emotions. If you’re really good at it, you’ll be able to relate those feelings to events that might have happened in the past (real Memento style). You could even predict how a situation will affect you emotionally (That’s So Raven style).
To develop self-awareness, you should spend some time every day observing yourself. Take note of your mood swings, how you react to situations, and other relevant information that you need to change to better your emotional intelligence.
Here are some ways to become more self-aware:
- Ask a friend you trust to describe you. We’ll go first: talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping — you get the idea.
- Read excellent fiction/literature. Hear us out: great authors understand human behavior and emotion, and reading their words could help you know yourself better!
- Draw a life timeline. Starting from your birth all the way to now, note down your life’s major events. A contest you won, the last day of high school, defeating your arch-nemesis. You’d be surprised how much you learn about yourself.
Interact with People
Social awareness is a critical part of improving emotional intelligence. After, the ’emotion’ in EQ includes other people’s feelings as well.
Practice your EQ by interacting with people every day and understanding their emotions. Observe how they react to situations and study their body language. You can also talk to someone if you tend to easily lose control of your emotions when talking to them.
If you don’t know where to start, try talking to your coworkers or classmates. Heck, try it at a party — it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Here’s a tip: try practicing EQ on social media! Observe how people respond to situations on Twitter and Facebook, and see where you can improve.
Keep a Journal
Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal will help you sort out your emotions. You can then organize them into categories that are easier to understand. Analyzing your own entries may also help you determine the root of your problems and how to start fixing them.
Here are some journaling tips:
- Write with a goal. Maybe you’re journaling to preserve a memory — in that case, hold on to it. Perhaps you’re unloading something painful — throw that page in a fire!
- Designate a daily journaling time. It’s easy to overlook it, but scheduling time to write will help you stay accountable.
- Use drawings and diagrams if it helps. Don’t worry too much about writing formalities. Use the same word four times in one sentence, doodle in the margins, whatever you want!
- Take this as an opportunity to label your emotions. Building an emotional vocabulary is a big part of social intelligence.
Tips for Developing Emotional Intelligence
To master your EQ every day, you should follow these other steps:
- Allow yourself time to process your feelings without jumping to conclusions or acting on impulse. It’s normal to react to strong emotions immediately. But before you make an emotional decision, take a moment and count to 10 — it’ll give you the time you need.
- Change your view of the situation. If something upsets or frustrates you, try to see it in a more positive light. For example, if you failed an exam, you might feel bad because you didn’t do well; but you can also think about how many more opportunities you have! It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
- Actively manage your stress. Stress has a massive impact on our feelings. As a result, stress management leads to emotional management. We’re all pretty used to ignoring our stress and carrying on white-knuckled. But exercise, meditation, physical activity such as cooking or cleaning — all of these activities help you better deal with stress.
- Learn what your strong suits are and how to work with them. This way, you can recognize when you need help or help others identify what they’re doing wrong.
- Analyze your behavior in situations where you felt negatively towards another person. Ask yourself why? Was it justified? Figure out what you could have done differently and how to not make the same mistake next time.
Don’t forget that improving emotional intelligence takes a long time and a lot of work. But as a result, you’ll feel happier and more fulfilled. Not to mention, better about yourself, your friends, and your life!
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By practicing meditation for a few months, you can train your mind to be more aware of yourself. Over time, you will learn to control your impulses and closely monitor your positive and negative emotions.
- Try meditating for at least five minutes every day.
- Set a timer, so you don’t have to constantly check the clock.
- Meditate in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted.
While meditating, focus on your breath. Breathe deeply and steadily while clearing your mind of any thoughts that are not related to meditation. Concentrate on how your chest and stomach rise and fall as you breathe.
As you meditate, don’t be discouraged if negative thoughts come to mind, it’s completely natural. Don’t force them away, either — just observe the thought without judgment.
Boom! You just meditated. Of course, we’re not the Headspace guy — so here are some meditation apps you can use to improve emotional intelligence:
- Calm. If you’re an Amazon Prime Student Member, you get a discount on an annual subscription.
- Headspace. You’ve probably seen the ads of the British guy telling you everything’s okay while an orange blob dances on-screen — that’s Headspace. They have a student plan too.
- Insight Timer. A highly-rated meditation app with over 45,000 sessions — it has free options too!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the signs of low emotional intelligence?
People with low emotional intelligence lack awareness of other people’s feelings and emotions. They often get upset very quickly, hold grudges, and get easily stressed. Low EQ individuals lack self-awareness and have a hard time empathizing with others.
What causes low emotional intelligence?
There are many things that could cause low emotional intelligence. Luckily, EQ is something you can learn and develop. With the right effort, you can steadily improve emotional intelligence.
What is emotional mastery?
Emotional mastery is the ability to control your emotions. It means you can identify emotional cues and respond accordingly. Emotionally intelligent people have a better grasp of their feelings. They can use them to communicate effectively, both in personal and professional relationships.
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