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How to Increase Emotional Intelligence in 6 Simple Steps
Emotional intelligence is essential to having a great relationship with yourself and with others. But before anything else, let’s define what “emotional intelligence” is.
In a nutshell, emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. This is applicable to your own emotions, as well to those of the people around you (how you perceive other people’s feelings). When you have high emotional intelligence, you will be able to use the information you have (based on observation), and use this knowledge in the best way possible.
Emotional intelligence can help you to identify and manage your own emotions. It can also help you in recognizing other people’s emotions, which can lead to you to empathize with them better.
Now the question is, how does one increase emotional intelligence?
Today we’re listing down 6 simple ways on how to do this:
- Avoid interruptions. Stay focused and be observant. – The best way to learn about something, is to take time and study it. When it comes to increasing your emotional intelligence, you need to stop what you’re doing and listen to your feelings. Don’t preoccupy yourself too much. If you want to recognize other people’s feelings, make sure to ask them about what they’re feeling, while at the same time, paying attention to both their verbal and non-verbal cues. Let them talk. Don’t interrupt. Just keep your eyes and ears open.
- Don’t judge feelings too quickly. – Another great way on how to increase emotional intelligence, is to hold your judgements for later. For example, if you feel that you’re unhappy with your current setup at work, don’t dismiss it right away. Give yourself some time to think about it. Savor the emotions and find out why they came to be. Emotions usually come in waves- rising, peaking, and fading naturally at their own pace. The goal is to let your emotions take their course. The same principle applies when you’re paying attention to other people. Don’t force them into conclusions.
- Look for clues and possible connections. – One of the best questions to ask yourself whenever you experience a certain emotion is, “When have I felt like this before?” Recalling a similar event in the past will help you to find clues on what’s triggering those emotions. Are there any similarities in the circumstances? This exercise will help you to understand yourself better.
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you. – Your body often gives away obvious signals about your emotions. For example, people who are sick and tired of their jobs, literally get sick and often feel especially tired. Listen to your body and pay attention to your little ticks and sensations. They may be clues to your true emotions.
- Meditate and tap into your unconscious feelings. – Stop whatever you’re doing. Relax and breathe deeply. Clear your mind and allow your thoughts to roam freely. See where they go. Your mind will surely wander off towards a particular emotion or situation that’s giving you that sensation (whether anger or happiness, etc.). It’s also a good idea to analyze your dreams (especially the recurring ones) because they give a glimpse to the unconscious feelings inside our minds.
- Know when to ask others and when to just stop. – Sometimes, to increase your emotional intelligence, it isn’t just a matter of “how”, but a matter of “who”. Try asking the opinions of other people. Expert therapists can help, but so can your closest family members and friends.
But of course, you should also know when to stop. Sometimes, dwelling too much on just one emotion (such as anger, loneliness or fear) can lead to the amplification of that emotion. Focusing and acknowledging a certain emotion is good in order to find a way of using it for the better. But then again, there is much, much more to you and your life.
The best thing to do, is to embrace your emotions and figure out ways on how to use them in strengthening your character.