How To Strengthen Emotional Intelligence
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Many people think that emotional intelligence (EI) is something you are either born with or you are not, like your smart/dumb or good/bad luck gene. This isn't true!
Everyone has some level of EI. It's just that some people use it more than others.
Some people may have limited access to their own internal resources related to emotions, whereas other people seem to get these tools easier.
This can make them feel less stressed out and overwhelmed by situations because they're able to utilize their understanding of emotion for self-regulation.
However, we all need help at times. We'll always have needs beyond our own knowledge.
That's why there are many strategies to improve your emotional intelligence. You don’t have to learn how to manage every single one of your colleagues' feelings, but you can start with this.
There are several ways to strengthen your emotional skills - learning about empathy, controlling your anger, knowing when to be proud of yourself, etc. These things relate to each other, so don't try to focus only on one area.
Reading articles like these will give you a lot of tips and tricks. Try experimenting with one or two to see what works for you.
A lot of people get stuck because they want immediate results. They feel that if they do something then things will change immediately, but this isn’t how it works for most people.
It takes time to develop emotional intelligence. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t expect yourself to be able as you are now with your limited amount of emotions to have them all at once either.
This is why it is so important to have patience with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others who seem to have their inner workings in order, but instead think about what you can do right now to work on developing yours.
Make eye contact
Looking into someone’s eyes can be one of the most powerful ways to connect with them. It is a nonverbal way to show interest in their well-being, and it creates an intimate space where conversations can happen.
Making direct eye contact with people is a universal sign that says, “I care about you.” When we avoid making eye contact, we sometimes have trouble understanding what other people are saying or feeling.
It can also make us feel uncomfortable because we don’t know how to respond. For example, if someone makes a comment that seems very strong, like telling you your life means nothing without them, they may look away.
This could hurt their own feelings as well as yours. They might think you didn’t appreciate what they said, or even that you don’t love them.
By not looking at each other, you risk misunderstanding and frustration. You both lose out on important connections.
Make an effort to meet each other’s gaze at least once during a conversation. This will depend on the size of the group and whether there is natural flow to the talk.
If possible, try to do this every couple of minutes while talking so things don’t get too off track.
We’ve discussed how important it is to understand your emotions, but sometimes we get so focused on trying not to feel certain things that we don’t realize how much control we lose over our feelings.
By acknowledging and naming your feelings, you give yourself more of an opportunity to actually work through them and then make smart decisions based on what you learn from those experiences.
Don’t try to ignore or suppress your emotions because that only makes them stronger. Instead, use their strength to help you determine who and what needs your attention at this moment in time.
If someone does something hurtful to you, put your energy into moving on instead of proving to yourself and others that you are no longer emotional.
You will live longer than that!
Avoid using emotion as your main source for decision-making unless you are very good at it. Use logic and reasoning as a supporting factor when making choices.
Share your experiences
Developing emotional intelligence is not just about knowing what emotions are, it’s also about understanding why you feel them and how to regulate your feelings.
Share your stories — both positive and negative — as well as your reactions to these stories.
By being aware of other people's behaviors, you will begin to understand why they behave in certain ways and whether or not this behavior benefits or hurts you.
You can also learn how different situations may be affecting their mood and what they are trying to achieve with these changes.
If you're able to recognize such things, you'll know how to help them find solutions that work for them.
Furthermore, by acknowledging your own weaknesses and mistakes, you'll have less chance of making the same ones again.
This will strengthen your self-awareness, an important part of EI.
Be honest with your peers
Sometimes, in our daily lives we get so focused on getting what we want that we can sometimes forget how important it is to be friendly and supportive of others.
This emotional intelligence (EI) goes beyond just wishing someone good luck on a job interview or telling their parents they will call them every night for life. It includes things like supporting them during times of success, encouraging them when they are doing well, acknowledging their efforts, etc.
It also means being honest with them- not because you feel bad, but because you care about them and want to help them succeed.
If you really wanted something from them, you would try harder than trying to fake your feelings.
Listen to others carefully
Develop your ability to listen with all of your senses so you can understand what other people are telling you and how they is feeling. This also means being able to distinguish between important information and non-essential noise.
Most of us have experienced someone who talks incessantly without saying anything meaningful or interesting. We get distracted by this person’s energy because we feel compelled to match it, even though most of what they say does not make sense.
This is why having friends that contribute to your well-being is very important. They may talk about things that matter to you, but which you do not relate to immediately.
By using your listening skills, you will be better at distinguishing whether what they tell you makes sense and if it changes, you will be able to evaluate whether their message has altered.
If you cannot give them your full attention, then try to find time later when you can focus more closely on what they say.
Don’t be egotistical
Many people have a hard time understanding the concept of emotional intelligence because they think it is about being more like Tony Robbins or Dr. Robert Sternberg, who developed the theory.
However, that isn’t what emotional intelligence actually means. Rather, it refers to how well you use emotions to function in life.
For example, someone with strong empathy skills would know when something bad happens to another person, and they would feel sad for them. They would also try to determine why the other person was feeling this way so that they could figure out ways to make them feel better.
People with strong empathy are aware of the effects that things have on others and work hard to reduce the negative effect that those experiences may have had on the other person.
But there is a big difference between using your own personal feelings to understand the effects that things have on others and being focused on yourself all the time.
The first type of emotional intelligence is called self-awareness, and it is important to have it. However, if you are only looking at the world through the lens of how much money you made today or what kind of pizza you ordered, then you will lose sight of the fact that other people care about you and want you to succeed.
Self-aware individuals recognize their weaknesses but don’t get too attached to them. They realize that things change and things come and go, and they remain consistent even under stress.
We’ve discussed before how emotional intelligence is like having strength of will, but there’s something more important you should be aware of. It’s not just about being able to control your own emotions, it’s also about knowing what causes people to get emotionally aroused or stressed out, and why these things happen.
This aspect of EI is called empathy. You have to understand other people and their experiences if you want to effectively relate to them and help them feel better.
And while it may sound simple, developing this ability can be tricky at times. That’s because we don’t always know what makes someone else happy or sad, and why they are acting in a way that seems irrational.
It could be anything from talking about personal issues that matter to them, to finding similarities with them so that you can connect, to reading body language and tone of voice.
All of these things take practice, and it can be hard to recognize all of them unless you’re actively looking for them. But once you do, then you really must apply them because they make a big difference.