Increasing Emotional Intelligence: Is It Possible?
Success Quarterly is a tech and business blog that focuses on the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, including technology, business, mobile, entertainment, media, and related topics.
Over the past few years, emotional intelligence has become one of the most popular psychology theories. Many professionals now recommend that you should try to develop your emotional intelligence as much as possible because it can have major impacts in your life.
This is an interesting claim because before emotional intelligence was a thing, we were all pretty emotionally intelligent!
Our ancestors lived in tribes where everyone helped each other out by sharing food, clothes, and shelter so they didn’t need strong emotions like gratitude or compassion to survive.
In fact, early humans may even have had emotional intelligence because they understood when their friends or family members needed help and adjusted their behavior accordingly.
It wasn’t until many thousands of years later that people started learning how to control their own emotions and understand others’ emotions. This is what made it possible for us to live together in larger groups.
With the emergence of civilization, emotion regulation became more important than ever. People needed to agree to share resources and work together to create things such as houses and tools.
Without this understanding of empathy, there would be no way to ensure that everything gets shared fairly. Without emotional literacy, we wouldn’t know what to do if someone breaks their promises, which could lead to violence and/or destruction.
Over time, powerful elites began to use our lack of knowledge about emotion to manipulate and take advantage of us, which is why some call it “the demon of stupidity.
Look at your reactions
Many people get into bouts of anger or frustration over something trivial, and it usually takes a lot for them to calm down.
They may even start an argument because of what made them angry in the first place. If you can recognize a pattern of behavior with someone, be aware that this person might not seem like their usual self.
It’s important to understand that emotional intensity is a part of most people’s lives, but when it’s excessive, it becomes pathological.
Emotions are powerful tools, so it makes sense that they could either help us succeed or hinder our progress.
But too many times, they do both.
When we lose control of our emotions, it can hurt ourselves and others around us. In fact, research indicates that people who use less emotion regulation tend to experience more stress and depression, as well as lower levels of happiness.
Practice having difficult conversations
Recent research suggests that emotional intelligence can have major benefits for your career and life. While there is no clear definition of what makes up emotional intelligence, studies do agree that being able to recognize and manage your emotions is an integral part of it.
Some experts believe that we all have a limited amount of emotional intelligence, but some people seem to have more than others. People with higher levels of emotional intelligence are aware of their feelings and show less negative emotion in certain situations.
They may also use their own experiences or those of other people to identify how they feel and compare these experiences. This helps them come to conclusions about what needs to be done next or which actions will help them achieve their goals.
There are many ways to increase your emotional intelligence, including through education and training. Many educational institutions offer courses related to emotional intelligence, and you can find online resources as well.
Watch your language
Recent research has shown that how well you speak is linked to how well you regulate emotions. The more efficient your speech, the better you’ll be at regulating your own emotional responses as well as those of other people.
Good speakers are noticed and given respect because they use effective vocabulary, employ clichéd phrases, and emphasize important points.
When you’re a good speaker, your listeners feel respected and valued. They also may feel inspired or motivated after listening to you.
However, being a poor speaker doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with you.
Some people are naturally talkative while others prefer staying quiet. Some people are direct whereas others are diplomatic.
It’s totally normal to not know what to say sometimes, but if you notice that this is happening a lot, it might be time to work on your verbal skills.
Making small changes to your speaking style can have big benefits for you. Here are some tips for improving your verbal efficiency.
Be honest with yourself
Recent research suggests that we all have a limited amount of emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. Some people seem to have more empathy than others, but no one is completely devoid of it.
That’s why trying to improve your own EQ is so important. You can learn how to be kind and compassionate towards other people, but if you don’t know what makes your partner or friend happy, then your empathetic skills are pretty useless.
You need to be able to recognize their signs and figure out what makes them feel good about themselves and life, which is a totally different thing.
So while learning how to be happier is great and well-trodden territory, understanding emotions is an essential part of human flourishing.
Finding ways to increase your own EQ is like finding new toys — not only do they make you happier, they help you achieve your goals and contribute to overall wellness.
A lot of people have a misconception about what emotional intelligence is. They believe it means being able to control your emotions when things go wrong, or being able to show how much you care by putting on a big smile.
That’s not what we mean when we talk about emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence actually refers to our ability to recognize, understand, evaluate, and manage our own feelings as well as others’. It also includes how well we use empathy to relate to other people.
By this definition, anyone can develop their emotional intelligence – even if they feel like they never lose their temper, they’re always in control, or they’ve got a knack for eliciting laughs.
It may be that you’re more likely to realize your lack of EQ because you’re aware of your limitations, while someone who seems less vulnerable could still miss important signals from those around them.
Developing your emotional intelligence is not like learning to play the guitar or take yoga classes, where you can simply learn how to manipulate certain emotions for good.
It’s more like mastering anything else that requires practice, repetition, and effort. You have to put in the time into it every day before you see results.
And there are no quick fixes either. This means no one-session courses or self-help books that claim they will help you develop your EQ.
Instead, it takes work to build over time. That’s why most people don’t consider themselves highly emotionally intelligent. Only a few lucky individuals were taught how to use their emotions from birth!
But we all have a basic level of empathy at our disposal, which helps us relate to other people. And when we're in touch with our own feelings, we tend to behave more rationally and consciously about life.
So if you want to increase your emotional intelligence, start by practicing everyday skills such as acknowledging and naming your feelings, taking breaks before acting on angry thoughts, and asking yourself what would make someone feel better around you.
Then, ask yourself whether these behaviors are being practiced consistently. If so, you've got a chance to improve.
Learn to laugh
Learning how to be happier is like learning any other skill — you have to practice, practice, and keep practicing in order to achieve that goal.
But what kind of practice are we talking about? Are we thinking along the right lines?
We need to understand that getting happy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to develop your emotional intelligence. You can’t simply learn by reading books or listening to podcasts either; you have to do exercises, try them out, and see results.
And don’t worry if this new behavior makes you feel uncomfortable for a little while! That’s totally normal.
It took me many years to realize that there was a reason why I kept looking emotionally down after I lost my parent(s). It took even longer to work through those feelings and build up my self-esteem. But once I did, I could enjoy more of my life.
Share your experiences
Developing your emotional intelligence is not something that happens overnight, but it is learnable through systematic practices. You can improve your EQ by sharing your own experiences, reading about others’ experiences, talking about things that make you feel good and bad, practicing self-awareness, recognizing emotions in other people, replacing negative patterns with positive ones, and learning how to manage your feelings.
There are several strategies for improving your emotional quotient – they all work towards the same goal of enhancing your ability to identify, understand and regulate your emotions.
One way to increase your emotional intelligence is to develop the cognitive understanding aspect. This means identifying what emotion you are feeling and why. For example, when someone makes a comment that makes you feel hurt or insulted, ask yourself why this person said this thing and if there was anything underlying about them that made them say such things.
This also includes being able to recognize emotions in other people and whether these emotions are appropriate for certain situations.
The most important element of developing your emotional intelligence is having adequate levels of related emotions. People who lack empathy cannot help but be harmful to those around them.