10 Ways to Be More Emotionally Intelligent
For years, school districts have measured success based on how well their students perform on various standardized tests. Public school systems, in many cases, are at the mercy of good grades and passing test scores to secure funding from both state and Federal entities. Hence, such measures are extremely important.
Students spend hours during the school year preparing for these tests. They study, complete homework assignments, take practice exams in class, and have review sessions so that they fully comprehend and can process the information that is being given to them. Much of the success of the student is based on their intelligence quotient or IQ. Such tests do not measure social skills or emotional regulation. They only measure how much a student knows, how much information they can retain, and how well they can prepare themselves for a test.
Researchers are growing keen to this fact, recognizing that there is so much more to the successful development of a child than standardized testing. While a child’s intelligence quotient is one thing, their emotional intelligence is another. Today, research suggests that IQ is too narrow of a measure; emotional intelligence is a much wider indicator of lifelong success.
Emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to recognize, understand, and communicate their emotions effectively. We are seeing that individuals with high emotional intelligence fare far better than their intellectually brilliant, but socially inept counterparts in school, home, and in the workplace. For those who are interested in learning more and building their E.I. skills, here are ten ways to become more emotionally intelligent.
10Learn How to Recognize Your Emotions
One of the best ways to become more emotionally intelligent is to recognize your emotions. Emotions are strong feelings that derive from a person’s unique situation, mood, and relationship with other people. Emotions are important because they allow individuals to communicate with others. They are powerful signals that tell you what to do in certain situations.
Most people know when they are feeling angry. As a response to being angry, the body typically tightens up. The muscles contract, heart rate increases, and body temperature rises. This is similar to the body’s response to fear or fright. The body is, quite literally, preparing itself for either fight or flight, an important human defense mechanism. On the other hand, most people know how to describe when they are feeling happy, or content. These emotions are relatively easy to label and to understand.
What about when you are feeling blue? What about when you are feeling weary or nervous? What about defining some of those more difficult emotions that don’t always have a name? What do you do in those situations?
When it comes to being more emotionally intelligent, recognizing your emotions is a critical first step. To control how you are feeling and you respond to certain situations, you must be able to understand what it is that you are feeling in the first place. If you don’t know how to recognize your emotions, you are never going to be able to regulate them.
9Learn How to Understand What Your Emotions Mean
When it comes to developing emotional intelligence, you must also know what your emotions signify.
It is not enough to just recognize how you are feeling. You must be able to understand why you are a feeling a certain way in the first place. If you are feeling angry, why are you feeling that way? If you are feeling sad, why are you feeling that way? This is an important question to ask, as it will help you to identify certain emotional triggers. Are there certain people that make you feel a particular way? Are there specific situations that make you feel a certain way? One you can recognize why you are feeling a certain way and understand your triggers, you will be able to better control certain situations.
With this being said, it is also important to comprehend that it is healthy to feel all emotions. Too many people suppress unwanted feelings and emotions, which, in the long run, can be detrimental to their sustained health and wellness. Your emotions are an important indicator. To be emotionally healthy and have a high sense of emotional intelligence, it is important that you not only feel what you are feeling but recognize why you are feeling that way in the first place so that you can adapt accordingly.
8Learn How to Label Your Emotions
Many people think about emotions in a very black and white manner. Your life, much like your emotions, are so vivid and colorful. Rather than seeing and describing the full spectrum of emotion, most people tend to use only a few words to describe the full emotional experience.
When people are feeling angry, sad, or happy, it is easy for them to express this to others. Typically, when a person is feeling angry, you can tell from their body language. The same holds true for happiness or sorrow. But how do you know when a person is feeling joyful or curious if you can’t tell from their body language? Most people just don’t have the words to express how they are feeling. They use the words, ‘happy,’ ‘angry,’ and ‘sad’ to show a lot of different emotions that they just don’t have the vocabulary to accurately describe.
To build your emotional intelligence, you must start carefully labeling your feelings. Emotions are vast and varied; they are as colorful as the world in which you live. It is important that you describe them as such. Start by exploring your vocabulary. When you speak with someone about how you are feeling, think about how you are feeling. Are you feeling angry or is the situation making you anxious more than anything else? Once you learn how to adequately label your emotions, you can express them in a much more efficient manner.
7Learn How to Express Your Emotions Effectively
Holding your emotions hostage and not being to effectively communicate them to others is thought to be a sign of emotional immaturity.
Think, for a moment, about those closest to you in your social network. Chances are you know someone who is not very good at expressing how they feel. Perhaps they get angry and lash out, letting their anger get the best of them. Perhaps, when they feel sad, they let a wave of negative energy effect every facet of their life. They are down and depressed, but don’t communicate this well with others. Instead, they bottle all of their emotions up inside. Sometimes, these emotions take a toll on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the person. Sometimes, these emotions slowly start to grow inside of the individual until they break down or erupt, causing a violent scene.
When it comes to being emotionally intelligent, communication is essential. Emotionally intelligent people can not only understand and label their emotions but communicate those feelings with others in a constructive manner. Rather than bottling all of their emotions up and letting them erupt, they consider their feelings thoughtfully and discuss them with someone that they can trust. Rather than waiting until they have an outburst, they process their emotions and generate a favorable response. Talking about how you are feeling and why you are feeling a certain way is key to becoming a more emotionally intelligent person.
6Learn How to Regulate Your Emotions
While it is important to label, understand, and express your emotions, it is also important that you learn how to control your emotions effectively. Regulating your emotions is a critical step in becoming a more emotionally intelligent person.
So, what does it mean to control your emotions? It means that you can stop and think about what you are feeling. Once you have processed your feelings, you are then able to come up with an appropriate response. Regardless of how you are feeling and what type of situation you are in, you can take a moment to think about your reaction, rather than reacting immediately to the situation.
The easiest way to do this is to take a step back from the situation. When you are faced with an extremely difficult, stressful, or anxious situation that might make you angry, simply pause. Take a few deep breaths. Think, for a moment, about how you are feeling. What are you reacting to? How is this situation making you feel? What would be an appropriate reaction to this stimulus? When you stop for a moment to think about the situation you are in and how it is making you feel, you are more likely to handle the situation in a constructive manner. When you react right away to something and let the emotions get the best of you, it is easy to say or do something that you might regret. It is the negative emotions that need the most care, so this is a critical component in emotional intelligence.
5Be Responsible for Your Emotions
One of the most important things you can do to gain emotional intelligence is to start taking responsibility for your actions and your feelings.
Emotional intelligence is more than just understanding your emotions, labeling them effectively, and being able to express how you are feeling with others. While all of those aspects are certainly important, it is critical that people take responsibility for their emotions.
In many places, there are social stigmas that make it difficult for some people to express their emotions openly and freely to others. It may be frowned upon to show that you are feeling sad or upset about something. As a result, there are many people who hide their emotions; their smile serving as a mask with which they hide those darker, more negative feelings. They internalize everything and bottle it up.
There are others, still, who rather than bottling all of their emotions up, place blame on others for how they are feeling. For instance, have you ever heard a person say, ‘he made me feel unhappy’ or ‘she made me feel jealous and upset’? When it comes to emotions, no one can make a person feel a certain way. It is not the individual who is making you feel jealous, unhappy, or upset. It is your reaction to the situation at hand.
When it comes to being a more emotionally intelligent person, it is important to recognize that no one is responsible for your emotions but yourself. When you stop playing the blame game, stop hiding your negative emotions, and start accepting that you are the only person who can change how you feel, you will become a much happier and stronger individual.
Another important step in becoming a more emotionally intelligent person is to learn and practice empathy with everyone you meet.
So, what is empathy and why does it matter? Empathy is different from compassion and sympathy, although these words are used commonly in the same context. Compassion and sympathy both mean that you feel for someone. Perhaps a close friend of yours is going through a difficult time. You see how they are struggling and your heart goes out to them. You feel sorry for them and sad for what they are dealing with then. That is what sympathy and compassion mean.
Empathy, on the other hand, is being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes to understand what they are going through. It is not merely observing their struggle and feeling sorry for them. It is living their fight with them. Stepping into their shoes and taking a peek at what they are feeling and dealing with at any given moment.
When it comes to developing your interpersonal skills, learning how to practice empathy is invaluable. Not only will it help you understand someone’s emotional struggles, but it will help you connect with that person on a much more intimate level. Humans all share the same emotions. Everyone has felt sorrow, nervousness, jealousy, or happiness at some point in their life. Each person can relate to another person’s struggle. When you practice empathy, it allows you to establish a much closer connection with another person and enables you to process and understand your emotions in a much more efficient way.
3Create a Positive Environment
One of the easiest things you can do to become a more emotionally intelligent person is to build a positive atmosphere. When it comes to work, recreation, and your home life, it is important to create experiences that are positive and conducive to growth.
To create a positive environment, you must believe in the power of positive thinking. While it is natural sometimes to feel sad or unhappy, it is important that you find a way to switch your thinking. Stop focusing on the negative emotions. It is best to stop thinking about all the ways in which you are feeling sad or all of the things that happened to make you feel hurt or upset. Rather, take the situation at hand and try to find the silver lining. Sure, you may have gotten into an argument with your co-worker, but what did you learn? What kind of positive experience grew from such unrest?
In addition to steering your thoughts in a more positive direction, it is also important to rid your life of negative agents. For instance, if you have a friend who is constantly talking down to you or making you feel bad about yourself, perhaps it is time to speak with that person about how he or she makes you feel. Perhaps, in a more serious light, it is time to reanalyze that friendship.
Thinking positive thoughts and creating a more positive environment will not only make your life a bit brighter, but it will also help you become a more emotionally stable individual.
2Discover Your Inner Passions
While this may seem a bit silly, discovering your inner passion is an important step in becoming a more emotionally intelligent adult.
They say that everyone has a purpose or something that they are destined to do in this lifetime. For some, that may be helping others by working in the non-profit sector or a public service job. For others, this may be making money in a well-paid corporate job. Everyone has a different drive; something that pushes them to take chances and to be the best that they can be.
Far too many people, however, get stuck along the way. They get stuck trying to discover what it is that they are good at or that they are destined to do. Many people find themselves, as a result, in dead ends jobs where they go through the motions just to get the job done but never feel fulfilled. Emotionally, they are unhappy and unsatisfied.
When it comes to finding happiness, creating a positive environment, and making the most out of your life, finding your true passion is key. If money was no object, how would you choose to spend your days? What can you see yourself doing? What would make you the happiest? While your true passion may not pay the bills, it is important that you find a way to weave that into your life for ultimate success.
1Understand that this is a Process
Lastly, to become a more emotionally intelligent person, you must understand that this is a process, not something that happens over the course of a single night.
Emotional intelligence takes time. Most people are stuck in the old frame of thought, where school dictates how smart you are and how successful you are going to be when you grow up. You take tests so that you can get good grades and pass your classes. You get good grades so that you can graduate high school and go on to college to secure an advanced degree. You work hard in college so that you can then secure a lucrative and successful professional career, raise a family, and live happily ever after.
The problem with all of that, however, is that school is not equipping you with the social or emotional skills needed to thrive as an adult. Schools do an excellent job of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, but do not teach you how to understand your emotions, label them adequately, or communicate them with others.
When it comes to true success, being intellectually smart is only one piece of the puzzle. It is important that you develop the social and emotional skills needed to successfully navigate the real world, as well. It is not something that will come easy. Becoming more emotionally intelligent requires a lot of time and concentrated thought. By following these ten easy steps, however, you can develop a high level of emotional intelligence over time and find true success in both the workplace and in your home environment.
Have you ever met someone who was academically brilliant, but emotionally and socially inept? They may have a high intelligence quotient, or IQ, but are completely void of all of the social and emotional skills needed to adequately manage their emotions and develop meaningful relationships with others?
A new body of research suggests that while IQ is an important indicator of success, emotional intelligence, or E.I., is perhaps more so. Children who are taught the social and emotional skills needed to learn how to understand, label, and adequately express their emotions to others at a young age are more likely to succeed later on in life.
Emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to understand, manage, and express their emotions. It involves learning how to decipher how you are feeling, why you are feeling that way, and how you must communicate that feeling with others. It also involves being able to adequately understand how others are feeling by practicing empathy.
While emotional intelligence is a process, not an immediate response, it is something that can be achieved with a little bit of dedication, conscious thought, and hard work. It is a level of thinking that won’t come easy, but will be worth it in the end.