How To Improve Emotional Intelligence
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In our increasingly connected world, there are never before been more opportunities to share thoughts, experiences, and information. Technology has made it easy to stay in touch with people that we know, and even make new friends or connect with people around the globe!
However, as technology advances at an astounding rate, so do studies proving how much of a detrimental effect this connectivity can have on us. Technological dependence is a growing problem that is very difficult to solve.
Many experts refer to this dependency as “addiction” to technology, because of its powerful attraction over time.
People become too attached to their phones, computers, televisions, and other devices and applications, to the exclusion of other activities.
In fact, one study found that most adults use technology for twenty-four hours a day, which means they spend almost half of their waking hours exposed to digital media.
This exposure can have negative effects on your emotional intelligence (EI).
Emotional intelligence — also known as EQ — refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions; identify those of others; and use your feelings to motivate yourself toward goals.
A lot of the times, however, people don’t realize that they aren’t taking good care of themselves due to lack of knowledge or skill in understanding and managing their emotions.
Sometimes we get so focused on wanting something to change that we don’t take the time to understand why things are the way they are.
We may also forget how much of an impact our actions have on other people. A lot of times, our behavior is what makes someone else feel bad or good about themselves, so it seems like a trivial thing, but it has major consequences.
If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, then you must be able to recognize when you’re getting angry or frustrated about nothing. You must be able to accept that some things will always remain the same, and that’s okay.
You need to learn how to be patient with yourself and others. Don’t worry about being more compassionate at all times – only do that if you feel like it!
Instead, try being more aware of your emotions and see whether there are ways to control them or not. Then, once you've mastered that, you can apply this knowledge to situations where emotions are running high.
Make eye contact
A large part of emotional intelligence is how you perceive and interact with others. Making direct, meaningful eye contact is one of the most important nonverbal behaviors that humans use to connect with each other.
When making an impression, having strong eye contact is like putting up a flagpole and letting people know you are there for them. It encourages trust and engagement.
While it may feel uncomfortable at first to make direct looks, understanding the importance of eye contact can help you when interacting with others.
By practicing appropriate eye contact, you can improve your empathy, communication skills, and overall self-confidence. Plus, just by looking into someone’s eyes, they will send out subconscious messages to you about what they want and don’t want.
So next time you’re trying to have a conversation or understand why someone seems upset with you, try investing in some eye contact gear. There’s no need to overdo it, but taking a few minutes every day to invest in eye contact could help you achieve your goals more quickly.
A lot of people get emotional intelligence in theory, but they lack it in practice because they are not living in the present moment. You have to be able to recognize that things don’t always go your way, but you can still enjoy this time while you have it before you lose it forever.
You also need to accept situations as they are instead of trying to change them for what you want them to be. This is an important part of being able to control your own emotions.
If you cannot do these two things then staying away from social interactions is your best bet until you work on your emotional intelligence. Socializing will only make your emotional hang up worse so try limiting yourself at first to see if that helps.
On the other hand, there are ways to improve your emotional intelligence by changing how you interact with others. For example, practicing acceptance and letting go will help you achieve that.
Share your experiences
Developing empathy is an important part of emotional intelligence. It’s not just about feeling bad for someone else, it’s also about understanding why they feel that way.
By sharing our own experiences with other people, we bring out similar emotions in them which can help motivate them to do their job well.
This is called ‘reciprocal altruism’ because both parties benefit from the relationship.
If you read enough books, you will eventually run into stories where the main character has strong feelings towards somebody or something. You will get this sense that there is something wrong with this person or thing, but you won’t know what until you talk to them.
That is what makes reading good books so powerful – you learn how different individuals handle difficult situations.
Your colleagues may be having trouble at work and you could be the only one who knows what to do, so develop your skills by sharing your experiences.
Be honest with your peers
As mentioned earlier, one of the major areas that can hurt emotional intelligence is being dishonest with others. This can be done by either lying to someone or making false assumptions about them.
By this, I mean if you think they will not like the truth then you may try to avoid telling them so as not to upset them. Or maybe you believe something that is not true and so feel compelled to go along with it.
Either way, doing these things takes away from their emotional intelligence because it affects how well they perceive other people.
If you are trying to help them in some way, by giving them advice, then don’t lie about what got you that tip.
Listen to others closely
It is very important to understand that not everyone functions in the same way, nor experiences life through the same lens. What makes someone feel good about themselves can make another person feel bad or even hurt their feelings.
This is part of emotional intelligence. You have to recognize what types of communication are okay for other people and how to apply this knowledge to your relationships.
If you want to improve your relationship skills, start by paying more attention to what matters to the people around you and learn how to reduce tension in conversations.
You can also ask them if there’s anything they would like you to know so you can help them with whatever problem- solving process they have going on.
In addition to listening to others, ask questions and get involved in their lives.
Don’t be egotistical
One of the biggest reasons why people lose motivation and can’t seem to achieve their goals is because they get distracted by thoughts about how great or bad they are.
If you feel like you never succeed then probably because you fail to recognize your successes.
You may also over-evaluate yourself and your performance, making it more difficult to accept help and reward from others.
This negative self-talk distracts you from focusing on what needs done next and discourages you from trying as hard as you could otherwise.
It also prevents you from acknowledging your achievements because you don’t believe that you deserve them.
Never compare your own performance with other people – this only sets you both down.
Your perception of your own abilities is very influenced by the perceptions and opinions of those around you.
We’ve discussed before how emotional intelligence is like having a second set of eyes that can see into you, and what emotions mean for your life. But there is one important thing about this eye-sight – it doesn’t work if you don’t use it.
That means you have to be willing to look within yourself for those signals. And while everyone has different levels of emotional awareness, no one really likes looking inwards more than others.
So, when you find yourself feeling down or anxious, try asking yourself why you are feeling that way and then do something to take care of yourself.
Practice self-compassion by saying things such as “I am not very good at dealing with stress right now” or “It seems I am struggling with my feelings today.”
Also, ask yourself whether all these thoughts and feelings are helpful and appropriate. If they aren’t, then try talking to someone you trust about how you feel and get help changing some habits.