How Emotional Intelligence Can Be Enhanced
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular concepts in the psychology field. Many claim that it can be effectively improved through training and practice.
Some even say that it is a skill like any other, such as reading or writing. This makes sense because we are born with limited levels of EI, and some people are naturally more empathic than others.
However, there is still much disagreement about what defines “empathy” and which types of emotions contribute to it. Some believe that only certain ones matter, while others think all emotions play an equal part.
This article will go into more detail about why being able to identify your own feelings and those of others is a good thing. It will also discuss how you can improve your empathy by developing several key skills.
The material in this article should not be used as medical advice for treating mental health conditions and/or disease. Instead, see a doctor for diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Also, the author does not work for a company that produces performance enhancing drugs or equipment, nor do they receive income from doing so. I have no connection to the drug industry and make no money off of improving anyone’s mood.
Understand your emotions
A large part of emotional intelligence is understanding yourself and your own emotions. You will find that most people have a lot of misconceptions about what emotions are and how they function.
Many believe that feelings such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear occur due to external or internal stimuli. External factors like things such as other people’s actions, events happening around you, and situations can cause an emotion to be triggered.
Interior factors such as thoughts can also influence our emotions. Some people may feel unhappy with themselves and their life because they think there isn’t anything they do well. They get upset by this and start feeling more down-hearted.
It takes us a while to process our emotions so it is important to give yourself time to understand them. Only then can we work towards controlling them and improving upon our EQ.
There are several ways to improve your understanding of emotions. One way is to recognize and identify different emotions. This can help you determine if something is causing an overreaction in your body/mind.
Make eye contact
A recent study suggests that making direct, meaningful eye contacts with people can be a powerful way to enhance your emotional intelligence. The researchers conducted an experiment with twenty undergraduate students at Stanford University. They were asked to talk about a topic of their choice for two minutes. While talking, the participants had to make five minute long eye contact with another person sitting across from them.
The researcher then measured how many times the other participant looked away or made indirect eye contact with someone else in the room. He/she also counted how often the participant had longer, more intimate conversations with others in the room.
He/She found that when the participants made prolonged eye contact with each other, it was like they were having a normal conversation. It reduced interpersonal distance and intimacy, which are both important components of healthy relationships.
But he/ she did not find such benefits when the participants made short, casual eye contact. Only one student’s eyes lingered too long on his/her conversational partner, and this individual scored lower on the EQ test than anyone else.
So, the research indicates that making extended, intense eye contact is not necessarily a good thing if you want to develop your relationship skills!
However, making shorter, less elaborate eye contact IS a positive behavior if you want to improve your emotional intelligence.
Be honest with yourself
One of the most important things you can do to improve your emotional intelligence is be honest with yourself. You’d like to think that people who have high levels of empathy are just naturally nicer, but this isn’t always the case.
Some people who seem emotionally intelligent in fact don’t really care about other people very much. They may even hurt others intentionally for their own personal gain.
So how does someone who doesn’t appear to have much empathy manage to get by? It's because they're hiding it.
They've trained themselves to only show certain emotions. Only showing certain emotions helps you stay detached and makes it easier to forget what you feel so you can keep behaving unethically.
It also means there's no one around to notice all those fake smiles. 😛
Be honest with yourself about why you behave the way you do. Is it because you fear losing something if you don't, such as money or status? Or could it be due to poor self-esteem?
If you find that difficult to believe, then try giving up some thing you know will make you feel better. For example, spend time doing things that you love instead of trying to read a book you'll never finish.
Give yourself a chance to re-evaluate whether staying in the situation is worth the cost.
Be honest with others
Sometimes, in our daily lives we get so focused on ourselves that we can’t see what is going on around us. We put up walls to protect ourselves from things we don’t like or people we are not friendly with.
We also may forget how important other people are to us because we seem to have everything we want.
If you ever feel like someone doesn’t appreciate you, try to think about why that is. Is it possible they don’t like you because of something you said or done? Did you do your best to be kind when there were problems?
Hopefully you will never need this advice, but if you ever find yourself at a low ebb, take some time out to consider these points.
You never know who might be reading these words right now.
Share your feelings
It is very important to be aware of how your emotions affect those around you. When someone does something that makes you feel bad, it is important to let them know why they made you angry.
It can also help if they ask you why you got so upset. This way, they will understand the effect their actions had on you, and hopefully avoid doing the same thing in the future.
When someone does something good for you, tell them how much it meant to you. If there’s anything that person can do to make you happy, let them know!
Everyone feels insecure at times, which is normal. However, when these fears are constantly running high, this becomes emotional instability.
If you notice yourself becoming too stressed or anxious about certain things, talk about what is making you worried. You may need to address the issue directly, but chances are someone close to you will know how to help you cope.
Look at your reactions
Recent research suggests that we are all born with some degree of emotional intelligence, or EQ. You may be more likely to recognize an emotion in someone else then, but it is how well you manage yourself that matters.
Becoming more aware of your emotions can help you deal better with everyday life as well as relationships. It can also aid in career success and improving social skills.
There are several ways to develop your emotional intelligence – through learning and practicing specific strategies, developing basic qualities such as empathy and self-awareness, and altering how you perceive and interpret situations.
You can learn about EE from different areas, including psychology, psychiatry, counseling, health studies, and education. Some courses focus more on one part of EE, while others cover overall concepts.
Learn to be assertive
Being able to control your emotions is an important quality for anyone to have. When you are in control of your feelings, you can better handle stressful situations or changes that may occur in your life.
By learning how to manage your emotions, you will also learn how to motivate yourself more effectively. You will realize that it’s not so hard to put off what you want once you recognize the reason why you wanted it in the first place.
There are many ways to improve your emotional intelligence. Some of the things that can be done include practicing mindfulness, developing relationships, having goals, and understanding others’ points of views.
But one of the most fundamental ways to enhance your EI is by being aware of your own emotions.
You should try to acknowledge your emotions and understand what they mean before letting them take over. This way, you will be able to avoid acting on impulses and instead make more rational decisions.
Develop your emotional intelligence
Recent studies have shown that EQ is an important factor in successful relationships and career success. While there are many theories about what makes up emotional intelligence, one of the most widely accepted definitions comes from Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence” and other books such as “Working with Emotions."
Golem defined it as how well you understand and manage your emotions -- whether yours or someone else's — and how these feelings influence your behavior. He also said that having high EQ means recognizing your own emotion and those of others, understanding why people feel and behave the way they do, and using this knowledge to help them regulate their moods and behaviors.
Research has linked higher levels of EQ to better job performance, healthier relationships, and overall happiness. Because EQ can be learned and practiced, we recommend developing your EQ through self-awareness, practicing appropriate skills, and creating supportive environments for growth.
It may even be possible to learn specific EQ skills like empathy, motivation, and leadership. Many professionals offer courses on improving your emotional intelligence, some free online and sponsored by companies seeking to improve employee engagement and productivity.