How To Improve Emotional Intelligence
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Recent research has shown that emotional intelligence (“EI”) is one of the most important skills you can develop in your life. It impacts almost every area of your life, from workplace relations to friendships to relationships with your family.
By this stage, you have probably heard about some of the different types of emotional intelligence there are, such as empathy, motivation, and socialization. But what many people don’t know is that there are actually eight distinct areas of EI!
Eight? Eight areas of emotional intelligence?! That sounds like overkill compared to the three we mentioned before. And while it may seem like more areas mean you’re “more intelligent” of emotions, that isn’t always the case. In fact, some studies suggest that having too much emotion-related knowledge could be a hindrance instead of a help.
This article will talk you through the eight areas of emotional intelligence and how to improve yours.
Make eye contact
One of the most fundamental ways to increase your emotional intelligence is by making more intentional, regular eye contact. When someone looks you in the eyes, they are telling you something about them and themselves.
Their look says “I trust you” or even “I believe we can be friends” or even just “You are interesting to me.” The intensity of their gaze also changes depending on how confident or nervous they are around you.
Making direct eye contact with people is one way to improve your own social skills. By doing so, you will probably learn a few things about the person looking back at you.
It may help you understand what they want from you, what kind of relationship you both desire, and if they like you enough to work together as allies or partners.
Making eye contact does not necessarily mean sticking out your hand and saying hello, it can be a simple shift in focus or an intimate exchange.
Consistency is one of the biggest keys to improving your emotional intelligence. If you consistently show kindness, understanding, and compassion for others, it will make a difference in how people perceive you.
If you are always complaining about someone or something, people will begin to feel bad when they try to do things because they will be worried about what sort of reaction they’ll get from you.
On the other hand, if you are always showing gratitude and praise, people will expect to receive that same level of appreciation from you, and when they don’t, they may become discouraged or even offended.
Either way, these negative emotions won’t necessarily go away simply because you have them, but staying out of their range will help you cope with them and avoid further emotional turmoil.
Consistency is also important because it demonstrates that you are stable and not going through major changes, which makes other people more comfortable around you.
A lot of people get so focused on improving their emotional quotient that they don’t measure what works for them against who they are as individuals, or why certain things make them feel bad.
If you strive to be more aware of your emotions, there is no point in trying to fake it if you can’t control yours when something happens that makes you angry, sad, happy, etc.
You have to know thyself before thou dost protest too much about other people not being able to put up with you anymore.
Thou shalt not try to change someone else unless they ask thee to, and even then, only if they really want to see the changes thou hast to offer.
There will always be someone better at giving off positive vibes than thee, but ignoring how you make others feel cannot help but improve how thou feels about thy self either.
Share your experiences
Developing our emotional intelligence takes work, which is why it is always recommended that we try to improve our EQ through learning and practicing.
One of the most common ways to do this is by reading books about EQ or listening to podcasts about self-awareness, acceptance and empathy.
You can also find many online resources such as interactive courses or applications that help you test and boost your EQ.
There are even apps that offer quick rewards for improving your emotional literacy.
These strategies will not make you feel better immediately, but in the long run they have lasting effects because you’re developing important skills.
Be honest with your peers
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest things that can hurt emotional intelligence is being able to control your emotions in relation to others.
People will constantly put you down because they feel threatened by you or your success. They may even try to sabotage you or your efforts to improve your emotional literacy.
Don’t take it too seriously – sometimes people get jealous or feel insecure about what you have achieved. More than anything, just be aware of their actions and don’t let them affect you.
Listen to others closely
A lot of people have a misconception about what emotional intelligence is. Some think that it means being able to read someone’s emotions and determine if they are happy, sad or angry. That is definitely a part of it, but it goes beyond just those three.
Having good emotional intelligence also means being aware of your own feelings. You should be able to recognize other people’s emotions and know how to put them aside in order to focus on things like work, family, and friends.
This can seem tricky at times because we all have different personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to feeling emotions.
That is why the next tip is so important. By listening to others — really listening — you will learn a lot about yourself and your emotional skills.
Ask questions and listen actively
It sounds simple, I know, but this one makes a big difference. When someone is talking, try to understand their points by asking questions and listening actively. Don’t only pay attention to what they say, though – take into account how they say it and whether they look relaxed or not.
Don’t be egotistical
A lot of people with low emotional intelligence are too focused on how much they know or how smart they are — instead of focusing more on helping others. This can sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations for them, as well as for those around them.
If you feel like someone has emotionally checked out, then it is probably because they have given up or lost interest in something that was important to them.
This could be due to anything from personal issues such as health problems or loss of loved ones, to career changes or shifts in lifestyle (no longer spending time working or studying).
By being aware of this, you will be able to avoid creating unnecessary conflicts and tensions. On the other hand, if you notice that someone is putting in a great deal of effort to win your approval, try to remember what their priorities are before giving yours.
Most people have a very strong sense of self-importance that they carry with them through life. You may know yourself as someone who makes great decisions, is trustworthy, and always puts others ahead of himself, but inside you’re not sure if you would actually make the same choices in real life.
Everyone has things he or she are better at than other people, and everyone seems to believe that his or her opinions are more important than others’s. But unless you understand how other people think and feel, you will never improve your emotional intelligence.
Your colleagues and friends could be thinking about you all the time, even when you don’t realize it. If you want to improve your EQ, start paying attention to their looks, their tone, and what they say and do. More importantly, try to put yourself in their shoes for a minute and see whether you can recognize why they might be feeling something.
Humility means acknowledging our human limitations and potential weaknesses, and being honest about them. Because we’re only humans after all! Luckily, developing empathy comes naturally to most people, so there’s no need to strive for perfection. Just keep trying, and you’ll get there eventually.