Spend time in the business world and the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EI) will likely come up. Used in hiring, management and even performance evaluations,n EQ, the measure of EI, is thought by some to be even more important than IQ.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
In general, Emotional Intelligence is being smart about your emotions. This means you have the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, including applying them to solve problems, and that you can perceive and understand the emotions of others. Some psychologists believe tips to improve emotional intelligence are critical, while others believe that, like IQ, you are born with it, or not.
However, those in both camps believe skill building is valuable and encourage people to develop their knowledge and skills set continually. So, just as any practice we look to improve, reminders and refreshers help us to self-evaluate first, then apply second. After all, what good are skills if you never use them?
Tips to Improve Emotional Intelligence
1. Demonstrate Self Control
Saying ‘No’ can be difficult for a variety of reasons: you may not want to delay gratification, you may not want to hurt feelings, you may feel you can handle something better than another person could… whatever the reason, saying ‘No’ is a good practice in Emotional Intelligence. Not only will you role model the behavior for others, you will likely experience less resentment from doing things you never wanted to do in the first place.
Say ‘no’ in a way that honors both you and the other person/people as much as possible. Doing so will help your EI, and stress levels.
2. Be Honest with Yourself
Emotional Intelligence starts with good self-awareness. Be honest with yourself about your abilities, your weaknesses and your motivations. Knowing yourself well allows you to more confidently make decisions, because you understand where you stand.
Liking yourself allows you to not feel pressured by others, so build your self-awareness and EI to build your confidence!
3. Practice Lifelong Learning
Those who fear change, never will. A mentality of lifelong learning opens you up to new ideas and activities that teach you more about yourself and those around you. Staying flexible and curious aids you in solution-finding possibilities and creates a more positive outlook on life.
4. Recognize You Are Human
Perfection is an illusion- everyone makes mistakes, so let go of the idea that you won’t, or even that you could have done better than your best. Analysis paralysis is the idea that by analyzing your mistakes, you could have done something to change the past. Instead, keep moving forward, and give yourself permission to be human.
5. Show Empathy
Empathy is the practice of metaphorically putting yourself in someone else’s shoes or seeing things through their perspective. We can really only interpret things and process and understand them through the lens in which we live. Taking time to truly listen and understand another way takes a high level of emotional intelligence.
By practicing empathy, we build our EI by seeing how others feel about the world around us.
6. Be Forgiving
When people think of forgiveness, they may consider it a monumental task requiring therapy, and for some, it is. However, forgiveness can start as small as letting go of negative emotions you are holding for the person in the morning commute who cut you off. Forgiveness doesn’t make the wrong committed against you right, it does however aid you in feeling better because you considered another perspective and released the emotion.
For example, if a commuter cuts you off, rather than be angry about a fact you can’t change, take the perspective that maybe that commuter is on their last chance with their boss, or is rushing to the hospital to see a loved one they just received an emergency call regarding. The truth is, you don’tn really know why you were cut off and forgiveness, and the resulting Emotional Intelligence, allows it to not ruin your day.
7. Express Gratitude
Gratitude journals, lists, mantras and more are popular right now because gratitude offers a multitude of benefits.n Gratitude supports a positivity which is needed when impulse control and emotional balance is required.
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