Improving Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important that IQ. It helps us to be more successful in our relationships, work and life. Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-discipline and self-compassion. It also involves awareness of and compassion for others. A high EQ helps us resolve conflict and rise above challenges.

IQ alone does not make for a fulfilling relationship or a successful career. It is our EQ that helps us manage stress, build relationships and find the beauty in life. Some people have learned to ignore or shut off their feelings. They have trouble connecting with strong emotions like fear, sadness, anger or joy. When they were children, they may have been discouraged from expressing their emotions. But numbing emotions does not make them go away, however it does make it more difficult to manage them.

Practices To Improve EQ

Improve Self-Awareness

  • Pay more attention to your emotional reaction to experiences. Notice what happens in your body. Where do you feel stress? In your stomach, chest, head, neck, shoulders or back?
  • Be aware of non-verbal communication, pay careful attention to and understand the messages that you are sending and receiving.

Improve Self-Discipline

  • Practice self-soothing. By learning to catch and sooth your rising emotions before you are overwhelmed or flooded by stress, you will be better able to use both your intelligence and your emotions in a given situation.
  • To self-sooth find ways to ground yourself in the moment. This can help keep your mind from spinning into a negative over reaction.
  • Decide and practice how to behave ahead of time. Vividly visualize how you want to behave.

Improve Self-Compassion

  • Do not take yourself too seriously. Using humor and long-range perspective can help you cope.
  • View problems as a challenge rather than disaster.
  • Practice forgiving yourself.
  • Watch the language that you use. Are you looking through dark sunglasses or looking for the silver lining?

Improve Awareness of Others

  • Practice listening first, give your full attention to understanding the other person.
  • Make a habit of making gentle eye contact when communicating with others.

Improve Compassion for Others

  • Accept that sometimes it is better to be happy than to be right.
  • Practice letting go of the past and forgiving others.
  • Learn to disagree agreeably.
  • Practice accepting that we do not all think alike and that is great.