Have you ever wondered why some people know what to say, especially in certain moments or in difficult times, and others say something that makes it worse or even avoid you because they don’t know what to say? This depends on the emotional intelligence of that person. Emotionally intelligent people usually know what to say in times of trouble and how to say it, or that it is time to just listen. Usually, these kinds of people are caring and understanding. These people are aware of their needs and are usually those who feel the emotional needs of others (Goleman, 1995). But how do you improve your emotional intelligence? The following are 8 ways how to elevate your emotional intelligence:-
1. Practice observing how you feel.
People who are emotionally intelligent are self-aware of their emotions and tend to be intuitive as well. Being self-aware means that they are in tune with their emotions and also how they can affect people around them. Also, they observe and pick up others’ emotions, especially through body language.
2. Pay attention to how you behave
It is not only what you say but also how you behave. In fact, they say that people will forget what you said but will definitely remember how you made them feel so you need to pay attention to how you behave.
3. Be an active listener
Emotionally intelligent people have the tendency to listen and understand what is being said before they respond. This facilitates understanding and clarity and prevents others from misunderstanding others, preventing conflicts. Also, waiting for your turn to speak aids in a better understanding of your thoughts, giving you the time to think before you speak.
4. Empathise with others
Being emotionally empathic is a strength, not a weakness. Empathy helps people relate on an emotional level. Try to understand other’s feelings and also to see things from their point of view.
5. Maintain a positive attitude
Sometimes we do not know what life throws at us; however, maintaining a positive attitude is the drive to move forward. Practicing meditation and starting the day with a good breakfast can also be practical ways how to start the day on a positive note. You may also consider keeping positive quotes on the desk or attached to a mirror, which you can keep as a reminder to keep up a positive attitude.
6. Be approachable
Emotionally intelligent people are approachable and give off a positive attitude towards whomever they have around them. If you utilise your social skills with the people around you, such as smiling, you give off a positive presence.
7. Respond and not react
People have different views and ideas, so we can agree that we disagree; however, we need to show respect to others. If we react impulsively, we are not responding but reacting. This will lead you to conflict rather than dialogue. Also, when you react, there is a chance that we end up in disagreement and miscommunication. Remember that you have a choice about how to react.
8. Emotional intelligence is a process
Remember that you are in a process of learning, and be open to this journey of learning to become emotionally intelligent and improve this skill. Emotional intelligence is something that develops over time through more self-awareness and self-reflection. Keeping a diary and investing in therapy can also help you improve your emotional intelligence.
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Rachel Osmond is a Family Therapist with Willingness who works with individuals, couples and families. She also has experience with children and adolescents. References: Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books.