Emotional intelligence is often defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. When we use our emotional intelligence in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, manage difficult emotions more easily. We can identify and name an emotion and then apply that to objective thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Emotional intelligence is often referred to as EQ or emotional quotient. (kind of like the emotional version of IQ).
- Perception of emotion: Being able to identify and differentiate between different emotions and feelings.
- Use of emotion to facilitate thinking: Being able to use emotions to foster reasoning, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.
- Understanding and analyzing emotions: Being able to understand the causes and meaning of emotions.
- Reflective regulation of emotions: Being able to prevent, reduce, enhance, or modify one’s own and others’ emotions
Benefits of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is linked to really important positive outcomes including:
- Better self-management
- Ability to approach problems with an analytical mindset less emotional turmoil
- Better communication with co-workers, family, friends, and customers
- Deeper, richer relationships
- Improved social skills in day to day situations
- Better mental health
- Better social relationships:
- Improved academic and workplace success
Skills to increase emotional intelligence
Just like other types of intelligence, you can grow your emotional intelligence. You can build your emotional skills and engage in activities that help you better understand and work with your and others’ emotions. Here are some examples of skills you can build to increase your emotional intelligence.
- Positive thinking
- Emotional expression
- Emotion regulation
- And many more
To grow your emotional intelligence, focus on improving these four aspects of yourself:
- Become aware of the emotions you are feeling in this moment, and the next
- How do these emotions make you feel or act?
- Ask yourself, why do you do the things that you do?
- Reflect on your personal values to understand the why behind what you do.
- Get clear on your emotions to understand what you feel and why.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few moments to be more present.
- Reframe the situation to see if you can find the silver linings.
- Take time to solve complex problems in your life and find the right solutions for you.
- Without judgment, ask yourself how you could have acted differently?
- Take care of your body and your health.
- Stay focused, and make a conscious effort to be more present in your social interactions.
- Practice empathy and compassion to better understand why people who are different from you do the things they do.
- Put yourself in their shoes. What might they be experiencing?
- Have a “back-pocket” question on hand—or a question you can ask to start up a conversation or defuse awkwardness.
- Practice gratitude for all the little things.
- Express your emotions by telling other people when you appreciate them, care for them, admire them, or feel positive about them in some other way.
- Explain your decisions and be willing to listen and learn about why others make the decisions they make.
Building any or all of these skills can help boost emotional intelligence.
Why emotional intelligence is important
Emotional intelligence is an important set of skills that improve the quality of your life, your communication and reduce stress in yourself and those around you. These skills can be built, even as an adult.
Need help with evaluating or developing your emotional intelligence? Reach out to me, I’m happy to chat about how I can support you on your journey to a happier, more resilient emotionally intelligent way of being.