When I think of the word “intelligence”, I usually think of my ability to use my brain in an academic arena or perhaps my level of problem-solving skills. However, it is also important that I learn how to improve my emotional intelligence in my relationships and even in my workplace.
Boosting your emotional intelligence can lead to more success in your personal life and in your field of work. But what are the components of emotional intelligence?
This is the ability to clearly and concisely identify your own emotions. When you are going through any situation, whether it be positive or negative, you need to be able to identify how you are truly feeling. In order to do this, you must also possess the vocabulary to express such emotions.
Using the Emotions
This is the ability to take what you are feeling and then apply them to develop your thinking and problem-solving skills further. It is important to be able to understand why you are feeling as you are and then use those feelings to improve your situation and progress through life.
This is the ability to regulate your own emotions and even helping other people to do the same. When you are able to identify how and why you are feeling as you are, you must also be able to manage those emotions in order to reach your true potential.
Being emotionally aware is important for all aspects of my life – my mental and physical health, my personal relationships, and also my workplace. So what can I do to improve my emotional intelligence?
#1. Be Assertive
Being assertive is not easy to do, especially if you have been used to not ever sticking up for yourself.
I want you to think about a moment where instead of vocalizing your needs, you chose to allow someone to ignore you or not give you what you were required to perform well. It probably did not feel terribly fantastic and even like you were being disrespected. Try standing up for yourself and clarifying what you need if nothing is given. You will become more self-confident as you do it more often.
#2. Practice Empathy
As mentioned previously, it is important to recognize your own emotions but also those of the people around you. When you try to be as empathetic as possible, you are able to put yourself in the shoes of a friend or coworker.
This allows you to view situations often from a different perspective as you are trying to understand their point of view. It can be extremely beneficial in conflicts because everyone is taking all aspects into consideration.
#3. Be Mindful
Being mindful is an excellent way to cope with stressful situations and prevent emotions to escalate. You can try techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or even taking a walk to regulate your emotions.
#4. Rebound from Problems
We all know that problems and conflicts will undeniably arise. However, a person with high emotional intelligence will be able to step back and view the situation more objectively.
When we are able to identify our true emotions, we are able to rebound from our problems and see them for what they really are, not what our imagination has made them out to be. Even when we are in negative situations, we can find ways to think positively to help us move through things.
#5. Problem Solving
When we find ourselves in conflict with another person, it is easy to allow our emotions to take hold of us and continue to argue. I urge you to try to be proactive and come up with solutions to the issues together. This is not a strategy to implement in only your personal relationships but also with your coworkers.
Take some time to cool off but come back together and discover ways to solve the problem at hand. If I am going to improve my emotional intelligence, it is important that I learn to handle issues together.
#6. Express Your Love
Often we become lazy in our personal relationships and forget to tell our partners, families, and friends how much we love them. We can get caught up with our day-to-day lives and sharing our feelings with them gets put to the wayside.
Being vulnerable with those you care about can be a scary task but releasing those emotions and sharing them can be completely rewarding as well. It is a form of respecting those emotions within yourself and also can be an invitation for others to share as well.
#7. Feel Those Feelings, Baby!
In many situations, we have been taught that certain emotions are inappropriate, not to be shared, expressed, or even felt. However, in order to be emotionally intelligent, we must acknowledge the feelings that we are experiencing.
Do your best to clearly identify them within yourself without dismissing them as invalid or pointless. You are feeling what you are feeling for a reason and it is your responsibility to observe that. Give yourself permission to experience them plainly for what they are.
#8. Pay Attention to Your Body
Your physical body is a magical machine. It is critical that you pay attention to the signs and signals it is giving you.
For example, are your shoulders tense right now? Perhaps you are clenching your jaw? Or your belly has been feeling a bit off lately? These are all little ways that your body is saying, “Hey you! Something is going on here and you need to pay attention!”.
Stress affects the body in so many different ways and needs to be taken seriously. There are often physical alerts telling you that you need to be making some other changes in your life like eating or sleeping better.
#9. Be Grateful
People who are highly emotionally intelligent are able to see the good that surrounds them, no matter the amount of negativity that may be occurring. They tend to have a more optimistic perspective on things and are able to appreciate all that is well.
Starting a gratitude journal can be extremely helpful because it puts down all those wonderful little things in life on paper so you can clearly see it. You can even revisit it regularly to remind yourself that you have so very much to be thankful for. Finding things to be grateful for has been one of the easiest and most rewarding ways I have found to improve my emotional intelligence.
#10. Remaining Calm
When we are stressed or faced with conflict, we may feel like exploding like a bomb. However, a part of being emotionally intelligent is being able to regulate and manage our emotions even while under pressure.
Try breathing slowly, or stepping away from the situation momentarily to help you handle your emotions adequately. Emotionally intelligent individuals do not blow up or take their anger out on those around them. They remain calm as they are able to rationally think through their feelings.
#11. Accept Change
Change is a necessary part of life if we are wanting to progress and move forward. This change may mean changes within ourselves, within others, or even in our situations. Most of life is beyond our control and we can either choose to fight it or adjust accordingly.
Being adaptable is a highly coveted skill and can help to make all those transitions in life less stressful. Do not be afraid of change – it is inevitable!
Being emotionally intelligent is critical to not only our success but to our happiness. We, as human beings, are not machines but a complex combination of emotions, thoughts, and physical parts. They are all intertwined and need to be developed in conjunction with one another so that we can rise up and be better!
Learning how to improve my emotional intelligence has made me happier and I encourage you to start your own personal journey!