How Emotional Intelligence Can Be Improved
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ for short) has become one of the most popular themes in psychology. In fact, many experts believe it to be more important than cognitive intelligence.
Many employers now require employees to take an EQ test as part of their job applications. And while some may consider this trend excessive, there is actually solid research backing up the importance of EQ.
In this article, we will discuss how you can improve your own EQ by changing what you do about things related to emotions. We will also look at some strategies for testing your current level of EQ so that you can make changes if needed.
I have included links to additional resources at the end of this article.
Emotional quotient or “EQ” was first described by James Allen Gesell in 1972. Since then, researchers have identified five main skills within this domain.
Understand your feelings
A lot of people believe that being strong means to not show how you are feeling. This is very wrong! Being able to identify and understand your emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence.
Many things can make you feel bad like having a job that you don’t enjoy, or going through a difficult time at work. Sometimes life just isn’t easy and there’s no one to help you deal with it.
But if you could learn how to manage your own emotions then maybe things would be different. You might find yourself enjoying what you do for work more than you do now. Or possibly finding another job that suits you better.
There are many ways to improve your understanding of your emotions. Some strategies are beginner level and others are more advanced. No matter where you are right now, try practicing some new skills.
You will see changes in your mood, energy levels and motivation. Also, speaking about your emotions can help you get rid of hiding them. Talking about your feelings can also help you figure out what makes you feel happier and why.
Drinking alcohol or taking drugs may seem like quick fixes, but they can have long-term effects on your mental health. Avoiding these substances and reducing their influence on you is a healthier approach.
Hopefully you'll never need to use this information, but if you ever do, here's all you needed to know.
Make eye contact
A large amount of nonverbal communication happens through your eyes, making it one of the most important things to have in this world. When you are talking to someone, make sure that they look at you directly with open, interested eyes.
When you meet someone for the first time, it is natural to be nervous or even self-conscious. But staying focused on looking them in the eyes can help you feel more confident and relaxed. This also helps show respect for their position and as such, opens up conversation possibilities.
Making direct eye contact does not mean staring, it means having some focus. If you watch TV, then keep watching the screen without moving your eyes much. If you read a book, stay within close range so your gaze is not going far.
If you’re listening to a podcast, remain attentive but do not stare too intently unless the other person invites it. Simply paying attention shows interest, and people notice this.
Be honest with yourself
It’s impossible to improve your emotional intelligence if you are not willing to be honest about how you feel, and why you feel it.
Many people try to play down their emotions in order to seem more “normal.” This is never okay!
By denying your feelings, you only create more negative emotion and stress in your life.
On the other hand, when you acknowledge and accept your own emotions, they can help you achieve your goals and reduce stress in your life.
So, be clear about what you're feeling and why you're feeling that way. Also, remember that everyone feels different things, so don't compare yourself to someone else.
Your personal strengths and weaknesses will always change, but being aware of your emotions will help you deal better with whatever situation you find yourself in.
Be honest with others
When you’re in a relationship, your partner will sometimes feel hurt or invalidated by something you say or do. This can easily be avoided if you are more aware of their feelings. If they try to tell you what is wrong, ask them how they are feeling instead!
By being conscious of your own emotions, you will understand why they may be reacting the way they are. Then you can choose whether to acknowledge that emotion or not, depending on whether it is appropriate for this situation.
Share your feelings
Most people keep their emotions to themselves for two main reasons. One is that they are not sure what to do with them, so they don’t say anything. Or, they think that if they show how much they care, then they will hurt someone else, so they don’t.
In both cases, these individuals are limiting their own potential growth. By avoiding emotional experiences, you deny yourself an important tool for success.
On the other hand, people who learn how to manage their emotions are more likely to succeed in life. They believe that things can still go well even when you are feeling strong emotion towards something or somebody.
There is some truth to this. It has been proven that certain types of training can help reduce stress and improve focus. But it is very difficult to achieve such benefits without learning how to relate to your own emotions.
If you want to grow as a person, you have to feel like you’re okay with how you feel. You need to be able to acknowledge and accept your emotions, instead of trying to ignore or control them.
Look at your reactions
Many people seem to have a hard time recognizing their own emotions. They may deny, downplay or even ignore how they are feeling in order to keep up with what they think is expected of them.
This can make it difficult to identify why you feel something way beyond your control. You may also forget that others do not always know what you are going through.
You should be aware of how you respond to things when they are happening, but if you notice changes in yourself it is worth looking into whether these changes are due to external factors or internal ones.
If possible, try to remember past situations where you showed similar behaviors and see if there were any patterns. This could help you understand your emotional needs better and maybe find ways to address them.
Learn to be assertive
Being able to identify your emotions is the first step towards improving your emotional intelligence. Once you are able to recognize what you feel, you can begin to understand why you feel that way about something and how to better handle those feelings.
Becoming more aware of your emotions helps you in many ways. For example, it can help you manage your stress levels, keep yourself motivated, and improve your relationships.
When was the last time you heard someone say they were too stressed out to do something? I will bet you there have been times when you said that to yourself!
By learning how to effectively control your emotions, you’re developing one of your essential skills sets. You’ll also find that you’ll be much happier due to the decrease in stress caused by life issues.
Develop your self-confidence
Many people believe that being confident is an external quality you are given, or something that happens to you occasionally, just like some times of the year it is the weather!
In fact, confidence is not something outside of you, but rather an internal state of mind. Your level of confidence can be affected by many things, including how you feel about yourself and your abilities.
If you think you’re never going to succeed then why would you try? Plus, without motivation, you will probably give up before you even start.
So this week, we are looking at ways to improve your emotional intelligence (or ‘EI’ as I like to call it). These strategies could help you increase your confidence and motivate you to achieve your goals.