EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient, describes an individual’s ability to recognize and process emotions while also understanding their powerful effect on other’s lives. A high EQ helps you understand yourself which in turn helps you understand others—how they do things, why they do things the things they do, and why they react the way they do. Not only that, but a higher EQ gives you an increased opportunity to successfully achieve your goals.
If you’ve ever wondered how to improve your emotional intelligence, we list a few steps and tips to take to help you develop these core skills.
Step 1: Focus on Managing Negative Emotions
One of the biggest things you can do to develop your emotional intelligence is to understand the healthy ways to communicate anger and other negative emotions. To do this, you first must figure out what your core emotion is; this requires self-reflection and self-understanding. Are you feeling more hurt, sad, or angry? Determine what’s driving you, process that, and then move forward.
Step 2: Pay Attention to How You Behave
Like we stated above, high emotional intelligence first works within yourself and then works toward your ability to understand others. While you work to increase your EQ, you need to take the time to understand and identify your own emotions and reactions to different scenarios, as this heavily impacts how you live your day-to-day life. The more you understand about yourself, and your reactions, the more you’ll understand others.
Step 3: Gain More Perspective
We often don’t realize how others view the way we react to different scenarios. Asking for other perspectives, however, is not about determining if one person is right and one is wrong; it’s simply about understanding how different people’s perspectives differ. Ask those closest to you how you’ve reacted in emotional moments—it will help you understand yourself better and recognize how what you do affects others.
Step 4: Pause to Take a Breath
Take the time to breathe and process before you act or speak. The “think before you speak” mindset is incredibly important to have in different situations. This goes further than just “bad” situations and carries into good moments, too. It’s always a good idea to take a minute to process events before you react to them; pausing gives you a moment to understand your emotions in the moment.
Step 5: Understand Your Stressors
Take the time to figure out what stresses you out in life, and then take steps to have less of those moments. If you struggle with saying no to things, but all those responsibilities stress you out, you need to work on saying no. If you know that checking social media lowers your confidence, don’t check it. The more you understand these moments, and steer clear of them, the happier and more emotionally intelligent you’ll become.
Step 6: Practice Empathy
The more you can comprehend others verbal and non-verbal cues, the bigger insight you’ll gain about the people in your life. A big part of emotional intelligence is the ability to practice empathy. You need to practice taking a moment to focus on the others around you and walk in their shoes. Also, it’s important to recognize that empathy does not equal weakness; empathetic statements are not about excusing behavior—they help remind you that everyone is dealing with their own issues.
Step 7: Respond, Don’t React
Finally, understand the fine line between responding and reacting to events. Reacting is an unconscious process to an event, where we experience an emotional trigger and behave in a way to release that emotion. Responding, however, is a conscious process that involves noticing how you feel (step 2) and then deciding how you want to behave. Try your best to always respond rather than react.