32 Mind-blowing Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
Humans seemed to have started exhibiting heightened emotional awareness and it has been discovered that this can help individuals to make better decisions and actions.
This could be referred to as emotional intelligence (EI) that resulted from the extraordinary rise in civilization and knowledge. Well, even Albert Einstein said – “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
Firstly, what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others. It is the ability to discern the difference between feelings and logic & label them appropriately.
This implies the ability to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour in a way that helps you to adapt to environments or achieve your goal(s).
Getting hold of your emotions has a lot of advantages. Over time, people with a high level of emotional intelligence have been discovered to show better performance at work.
They possess leading qualities and are good at maintaining relationships. These tips below will help you to improve your emotional intelligence too.
1. Be self-aware
People tend to freak out when they are faced with threats or tough decisions, and as a result, make wrong decisions that affect them a lot.
Self-awareness is simply discovering yourself. Imagine you’re at an amusement park sitting inside one of those big giant wheels. What do you do when the wheels roll so fast? You respond to the breeze in your face and sudden movement by holding on to your seat so tightly.
That’s basically what you can do when you are self-aware. You simply hold on to yourself, coordinating your emotions while responding to the rush you experience in tough times.
If you want to develop your emotional intelligence, you’ve got to take your time to discover your capacity and limits. You’ll need to foresee issues and avoid them or prepare appropriately.
Read: The ultimate guide to be mentally strong and fearless: 12 tips
2. Be actively curious by listening more
This is another quality of people with high emotional intelligence. You need to have the thirst to want to know more. This drives you deeper to know a little about a lot of things. Those who thirst for knowledge give birth to success.
From the quote I wrote earlier, Albert Einstein describes himself as a curious person. Curiosity is the fire that lights civilization. It is what drives you deeper and deeper into great discoveries. The discovery of yourself and others.
You can only get the best of curiosity when you have active listening skills. Try to learn a lesson in every situation. You need the thirst to find out what will happen if you try this or if you try other things.
What this world need is not a truckload full of smart heads or geniuses, what we need are people who are ready to listen for clarity instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. You should make sure you understand what is being said before responding.
3. Give attention to body language
Emotional intelligent people pay attention to the nonverbal details of a conversation.
This helps to prevent misunderstandings and misconceptions. When you allow the listener to respond before deciding to continue, it shows respect for the person you are speaking to.
To be emotionally intelligent, you need to decipher between when someone is bored or interested in your conversation and respond accordingly by making it short and succinct or going deeper.
You should know when someone wants to be alone from their body language or the look on their face.
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4. Be Assertively Analytic
There is this saying – “look before you leap” and this is one of humanity’s greatest forte. People with high emotional intelligence are good mind thinkers and awesome analyst. To improve your Emotional Intelligence, you will need to be able to look at things carefully while thinking through. This act can be very useful.
You need to be able to look at a situation from different perspectives without running into conclusions. Not just that, communicating your points should be done assertively without ruling out all other opinions or coming across as being rude.
This assertive analysis and communication go a long way towards earning respect and emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate their opinions in a direct way while still respecting other views.
If you can achieve this, you will do well in big companies because you will be able to make your points seamlessly as a result of careful thinking and deep analysis.
You’ll be like a fortune teller that persuades your company to not undergo a particular risk even in the presence of abundant resources. In the game of chess, a players’ strength and skill are usually based on how well he can predict his opponent’s move and what he can foresee ahead.
5. Don’t lose Focus
Sometimes, your emotions could get the best of you when you are in the midst of distractions. Imagine going into a grocery store and you see a lot of flashy things you didn’t plan to buy. At that point, your emotions go on fire and you lose focus on what you really want.
To develop your emotional intelligence, you need to be able to calm your urges and get what they really want. It is key to know what is important and what is not important. You should know what is worth and not worth your time. This is not only restricted to business people but everyone.
To focus consistently, you need to be self-motivated. Set goals and be resilient in the face of challenges.
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6. Be a positive change agent
To increase your emotional intelligence, strive to make your decisions bring about a change. You need to be able to make radical decisions and not be affected by your environment.
Practise devotion, loyalty and patience. Strive to maintain a positive attitude always. There could be times you may lose your positive attitude; don’t beat yourself up. Forget the mistake, remember the lesson.
A strong resolve is necessary to accomplish certain tasks and strong emotional stability is necessary to bring about change. A musician might have gotten a lot of criticisms from a plethora of producers but if he is emotionally intelligent, he will not stop trying.
7. Manage critiques
It takes a strong resolve and determination to carry on even when you’re faced with many pointing fingers. Critics are always hanging around looking for someone to bad-mouth, and this is where emotional intelligence steps in line to save you.
Be able to take critique without losing your sanity. Instead of getting offended or defensive, high EQ people take a few moments to understand the critique and how best to constructively use it to their advantage.
With good emotional intelligence, you should be able to take good advice from people without feeling bad, even when they communicate it in the most awful way. Use those small rocks thrown at you to build stepping stones that will make you constructively resolve issues and become a better you.
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8. Respond well to conflicts
During moments of misunderstanding, emotional outbursts and feelings of anger are common. Unfortunately, some people react to it immediately. To be emotionally intelligent, you need to always know that two wrongs don’t make a right.
The emotionally intelligent person knows how to stay calm during stressful situations. You shouldn’t make impulsive decisions that will blow the situation out of proportion because you’re temporarily hurt.
This could lead to even bigger problems. Try to understand conflicts test your emotions and if you can keep your calm, you will see the positive aspect of the situation in the long run. The goal of an emotionally intelligent person should be a resolution, and that can be done by focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel and not the tunnel itself.
Ensure your words are prudently picked. Respond with your head, not with the state of your heart at that point.
9. Don’t recruit others to think less of another person
When you’re hurt, there’s a high probability that you want someone else to reason with you and pick your side. When you do that and the person picks your side, you will, more often than not, lose the lesson embedded in the situation.
You’ll self-justify yourself knowing that you have some supporters. However, when you’re no longer hurt, you may not remember to undo what you have told others.
To be emotionally intelligent means you will make temporary things temporary. You don’t have to let others think less of the person who has hurt your emotions. If you must, speak to someone who doesn’t know the person.
Share the hurt by using a hypothetical example without pointing out the offender. Why? The offender might be going through a tough time to have acted that way and they might come back to admit their mistakes.
If you’ve spoken badly about them already, you may not be able to erase what you’ve planted in other people’s mind.
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10. Feel what others feel
Even if you have a contrary opinion, you should practise supporting others first. Emotionally intelligent people know how to empathize. Always understand that empathy is the characteristics of emotional strength and never a weakness.
For example, someone is hurt and you want to empathize, your words should sound like – “I understand how you feel and I feel the same way. It’s so painful. I have experienced this before and I must say it is the most awful things to undergo. However, you can let it go by being strong.”
The last line is an encouragement but you don’t let that come first. You’ll improve your emotional intelligence when you first feel the situation before switching the moment to another stage – recovery stage.
Empathy helps you to relate with others on a basic human level. It helps you to see and feel what others see and feel which opens the door for mutual respect. Understanding that people have different opinions and react in different situations can help you coin your words effectively.
11. Appreciate before you correct
I call this technique a toasted sandwich. What makes the sandwich well packaged is how carefully you place the sandwich in between the bread. Similarly, if you really have to say something odd, start and end with something nice. This way, the person knows you were at least positive before negative.
Ending your statement quickly with something nice also helps to manage the reaction of the person in question. For example “Michael, I really appreciate your punctuality and attitude to work, but I observed lately that you sleep during work hours which I think you should work on, however, your eyes look very awake today”.
Considering people’s emotions and reactions will increase your emotional intelligence.
Read: 9 Tips you need to be successful in your exam, school and life
12. Use sticky notes to remind yourself of your values
Write out the kind of values and leadership skills you want to see in yourself.
- What kind of comment do you want people to say about you?
- Which attribute do you want to be remembered for?
- What are your current attributes you want to work on?
Write these things out and if you still struggle to remember, use sticky notes in the rooms you use frequently. You could also paste one on your phone, computer and any other thing you sometimes take a glance at such as your mirror. After a while, you will begin to see these desired attributes in you. The ones you want to do without will also begin to wane subconsciously.
Emotionally intelligent people have excellent leadership skills and standards for themselves. You should set an example for others to follow. Improve your emotional intelligence by taking new initiatives, courtesy and attitude.
and have great decision making and problem-solving skills. This allows for a higher and more productive level of performance in life and at work.
13. Develop problem-solving skills
Emotionally intelligent people take note of when things are beginning to go awry and quickly find a solution or alternative to such problems. This might make you put other people’s problems before yours and as long as they are doing fine, you are also satisfied.
Even when you don’t have any idea of how things are going to work out, act like they are going to work. The extra confidence and energy that comes from acting like things are going to work often help them work.
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People with high emotional intelligence are known to be able to keep up with what they are doing. They have the mindset to keep at it, they know that they are not perfect and that they can always learn from their mistakes.
They are not drawn back by little setbacks, this is most common among scientists. As someone who has given himself to science, scientists have the mindset that mistakes are inevitable and that’s important on the road to science. A scientist that turns back after one error won’t go far.
A popular scientist who goes by the name Thomas Edison who invented the bulb realized he didn’t get it right at first attempt, second, third, fourth not even the 50th attempt. I have to admit that it takes a great deal of emotional intelligence to endure failure to that point.
Even as a writer, I need emotional intelligence to crack open some ideas. Everyone needs to persevere at some point even when our emotions say “give up”. You will have that idea in your hands sooner than you think when you persevere.
15. Value Relationships
People with high emotional intelligence tend to form a lasting and strong relationship with the people around them. If you want to develop your emotional intelligence, you need to be capable of understanding the emotions of those around you. Whenever there is a conflict between you and a friend or those in a close relationship with you, be quick to understand what to do and how to react.
Take your time to pick your words and don’t be harsh because you’re temporarily hurt. Know when to react and know the type of advice to offer people when they ask for your advice. If you have no direct or past experience of the situation, keep your advice brief and minor.
The emotional intelligent ones are drawn to people and quick to build strong and lasting relationships. This is also necessary and important in the business sector. Companies need someone with good emotional intelligence in the Human resource department who can form a good relationship with other people and companies.
16. Ask before you add a contrary opinion
If you notice that everyone takes a side of a discussion and you are the only one who has a contrary opinion, it is obvious you may not win that argument. What an emotionally intelligent person will do is to ask for an opportunity to share their own contrasting opinion.
If you don’t, it will make no sense to just jump into a conversation or event where you think you can convince all other people. Intelligence tells you to keep your opinion if it’s so evident you’re not going to be heard.
Controlling your emotions is incredibly crucial for your well being. It brings peace & harmony among people. However, in our new world, Emotional Intelligence will remain important but not dominant.
17. Stay far away from toxic people
Surround yourself with good people as much as possible. The world is already full of people who do not care about a damn thing. If you’re trying to build your emotional intelligence, you need to have people with similar interests and values.
Do you still stay close to people who do not care about all the points discussed? You might need to rub some of your values on them. If you can’t, try not to be too close, else, you’ll be influenced.
If you can’t influence them, they will influence you. You have to choose one. Also stay away from anything that is gruesome, gory, and violent, especially in entertainment, movies, games. It might desensitize your emotional receptivity.
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18. Don’t compare A to B in the presence of B
Stay away from anything that ignites jealousy or envy or unnecessary competition. Emotionally intelligent people will not compare two people in the presence of both parties. These comparisons often make one person feel worse than the other and vice versa.
Instead, call the person in question separately and apply point 12 above to pass your message across effectively. Everyone is special in their own special way. This is not to say you cannot tell someone to learn from someone else but you should do it in a constructive way that wouldn’t make either party offended or jealous.
19. Respect people’s privacy
I have come to discover that people that leave you to be alone when they see you are not ready to talk are one of the most emotionally intelligent people. There are times that some bad news will get to you and you might need to be alone for a while.
At such points, emotionally intelligent people will give you space until you are ready enough to talk about whatever the situation is. You shouldn’t force a conversation or a response from an emotional person. In fact, telling the person to talk whenever they feel comfortable can encourage her to snap out of the emotions in time.
20. Live happily
Invest in anything that makes you happy to keep your emotional intelligence stable. Listen to Classical & Instrumental music or learn to play a musical instrument.
Read books that make you happy, surround yourself with good people, laugh out loud with your parents, take care of the elderly and young. Watch good movies, dance with every part of your body 😆
21. Be sociable
22. Don’t transfer your aggression to others
There’s a high chance that when you are angry and you haven’t recovered, anyone who comes to you at that point may get a fair share of your hurt. You need to be able to control your state of mind and not pass it on to an innocent person who knows nothing about your worries. Don’t use profane and vulgar language.
Keep your calm and if you can’t, you could tell the person to give you a minute. You could also walk away for a while. These alternative are better than making everyone around you hurt because you’re hurt. Emotional intelligence helps you to manage such highs and lows.
23. Cry it out if you have to
Tears are beautiful, calming and therapeutic. If something hurts you deeply, you could get a quiet place to cry out until you feel better instead of transferring your hurt to others.
24. Make thrown stones your building blocks
A very good way to develop emotional intelligence is to go through very painful and very difficult failures, in relationships, among friends, or with families. I’ve found its only the extreme and unbearable pain that follows heartbreak that forces you to go back to the drawing board to restrategize.
You should ask yourself questions like:
- Why did I behave this way?
- How did that affect the other person?
- What are the cues or signs I missed or ignored?
- What should I have done better?
Most importantly, what am I willing to admit about myself that needs changing to prevent that from happening again?
The truth is, sometimes, you have to lose big to consider changing the most fundamental aspect of your outlook. It’s far more dangerous to persevere an unhealthy emotional self and continue to have mediocre and disappointing relationships than to fail big and be forced to address what needs to be addressed.
25. Take responsibility for your actions
Taking responsibility for your actions means you don’t ignore what you caused or avoid the people you offend. You need to set things right by addressing the issue so that it doesn’t repeat itself. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize directly and work on yourself. Most importantly, an apology is a two-way thing – being sorry and ensuring it doesn’t happen again by finding a solution to the problem.
People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right. Always ensure you examine how your actions will affect others before you take those actions.
If your decision will affect others, put yourself in their place.
- How will they feel if you do this?
- Would you want that experience?
- If you must take the action, how can you help them deal with the effects of that action?
- What other options do you have if you don’t take those actions?
26. Learn from others
You can also learn from other emotionally intelligent people. Find people you admire and study them. Do you know some happy, successful, or well-liked people in your family, at work and among friends?
Chat with them and have them share their experiences with you. Although you no longer have a sponge-like brain, you can still absorb patterns and be positively influenced by the company you seek and behaviour you emulate.
27. Listen to both sides of the story
In this hyper-connected world of vain ideas, you could fall into an ‘opinion bubble’. This is a state of existence where your own opinions are constantly re-enforced by other people with similar viewpoints. Irrespective of the support you get, you should train your mind to see things from another angle.
Take time to listen to the other side of the story and have your views challenged even if you still feel they are right. This will help you understand other people and be more open to new perspectives and perceptions.
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28. Demonstrate humility and humour
Don’t think a child you spoke to 10 years ago will still accept your style of speech after 10 years. Young, old, single, married, male, female, poor, rich and whatever class of people you might think of, wants to be treated with dignity and honour.
Coin your words to make people feel like they are more than they really are, then watch the magnificent response you will get. If you seek attention or require appreciation, try letting your work speak for itself.
Putting the spotlight on others demonstrates humility and a high degree of self-confidence. When faced with challenges, instead of letting it show on your face, simply take a deep breath and have a sense of humour.
29. Practise journaling
A good way to get an accurate gauge of yourself is to keep a diary. Keeping some history facts of similar occurrences could help you grow your emotional intelligence. How? You will be able to quickly relate to what has happened in the past and how you solved it. This will help you to overcome the next set of challenges without emotional fears.
You could start by writing down what happened to you at the end of a memorable day, how it made you feel and how you dealt with it. Documenting details like these will make you more aware of what you’re doing and will highlight problems you could have avoided.
Sometimes emotional outbreaks occur because you don’t take the time out to slow down and process how you are feeling. Give yourself a break and make a conscious effort to meditate about the situation.
If it’s overwhelming, you could listen to a song, practise yoga or listen to a podcast or some Tedtalks. Each time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react. Take the time to process your emotions before communicating them.
31. Eat good meals
This might sound unrelated but regulating what you eat and drink can have a massive effect on your emotional state. Ensure you eat good foods that are good for your brain and emotional well being. Try your best to maintain a balanced diet with fruits and plenty of water.
32. Ensure trust is mutual
Trusting entails opening up and predicting responses to a very good extent but when someone keeps information from you, it might be that he doesn’t trust you well enough to handle it. If you end up trusting such too much and offering more than you get, you might be disappointed.
Fact is, establishing trust with a person can be pretty difficult and once it’s lost it’s very hard to regain. By offering your trust, you are inviting people to offer their trust in return. Hence, to keep your emotional state happy and strong, you need to understand when something is mutual or not. Some people are not even interested in the extra details you give.
The basics of emotional intelligence are all about controlling your emotion and the emotions of the people around you to make the best decisions.
At times, you feel so trapped and locked out of everything. Your feelings tend to get the best of you & you’re faced with tough decisions that make you panic. But if you’re able to get hold of your emotions and be sincere with yourself, you will be surprised by the amazing feats and exploits that you will be able to accomplish.
When it comes to the business, people with a higher emotional intelligence serve as better employees, because they are capable of effectively leading their team to success. People tend to lay more emphasis on who is smarter or who has the best grades, but the secret to success might not be how smart a person is but how well he can control his emotions.
Let me give you an analogy – A company’s profit suddenly went down by 10%, now that’s something, this is enough to crush a person’s spirit and wreck the person emotionally and mentally, it takes a person with a high emotional stability and intelligence to stand firm and ensure that does around him don’t falter, people tend to underestimate how powerful emotions can be. Emotions, if adequately and efficiently utilized, can build a business successfully and mend lives.