Tips on How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Category: Healthy Living


Posted on May 27, 2021

Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.

how to improve emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an important part of our lives. It's even important to our career success.

Statistics show that emotional intelligence is responsible for a reported fifty-eight percent of professional success, and people with high emotional intelligence make an average of 29,000 dollars more each year.

But, how do you achieve high emotional intelligence? Read on to learn how to improve emotional intelligence.

Be More Assertive With Your Needs

Expressing yourself and your needs is a good way to get started when you're working on improving your emotional intelligence. When you're talking to your loved ones, make sure you let them know when they're hurting you, or when you're upset with actions they're taken.

And, let them know when you're having a bad day, so that they don't think your bad moods is about their actions or personality. When all parties involved are on the same metaphorical page, relationships are more balanced and everyone can trust one another more easily.

This can also help you learn to manage your relationships more successfully. When you know what you need, you'll be more likely to understand what other people need as well.

Let Go of Excess Negativity in Your Life

Being negative can be tempting, particularly with the world the way it is. But, it can be a huge turnoff to others, which is particularly important if you're trying to raise your emotional intelligence levels.

You need to be able to bounce back from adversity and pain in order to properly intuit the emotions of others. So, do your best to let go. If you're having trouble, there are lots of strategies out there to help you balance.

For example, meditation can benefit your mental health and help you let go of negative emotions. Try out breathing exercises to regulate yourself and any anxiety you may have. Make sure you're eating a balanced diet that suits your health needs.

You should also do your best to get plenty of sleep, which can help you improve your mental health and your physical health, as well. Basically, anything you can do to prioritize your mental and physical health should help you work through negativity in your life.

Evaluate Yourself Realistically

It's always important to evaluate your motivations, wants, needs, and ideas to understand what you're aiming for and the roots of your needs. This could be a good thing to work through with a therapist or another type of mental health professional.

Be as self-aware about yourself as possible when you're evaluating yourself, so as to be honest and not miss anything.

You need to be able to properly identify what you're feeling in order to communicate these feelings with loved ones, which is a very important part of your self-evaluation.

Accept your emotions, too. Self-denial is harmful, and it's much better for your emotional intelligence to acknowledge what you're feeling so that you can work through it. Practice regularly recognizing your feelings, so that you will notice more easily when there's a red flag that you need to address.

And, you need to make sure you take responsibility when you hurt someone with your emotions or actions. Acknowledging the harm you've done and taking steps to make amends will help you on your EQ development path.

Try and evaluate your communication style, while you're at it. Notice if you're interrupting people in conversation, or redirecting conversation in ways that other people may not appreciate.

Pay attention to the way that you respond to people in conversation, and how you follow the way that a conversation unfolds. Once you have a grasp on your communication style, you'll be better set up to understand how you communicate with others and ways to may be able to improve your understanding. The better you communicate, the better your emotional intelligence will be!

Listen to Your Loved Ones

Active listening is one of the most important ways to help you grasp your loved ones' emotional wants and needs. So, to improve your emotional intelligence, you'll also need to improve your active listening skills. 

This is part of why it's important to be empathetic and listen to people's needs. When people tell you something important, remember it. That's especially true when it comes to using proper preferred pronouns and recalling people's gender identity. If nothing else, ensure you are always using a person's preferred pronouns, and never misgender them.

Relatedly, it's important to listen to people when it comes to issues of race, class, and politics. Everyone's lived experience is different, and some people may have more knowledge than you do about certain issues. This is an important part of your EQ development.

Be careful with your vocabulary generally. Try to stay away from negative statements, and don't overuse stories or statements that center yourself — it comes off as selfish. It's all about a give and take when you're having a conversation, so ask questions about the person you're talking to and their life.

Being able to recognize the emotions your loved ones are feeling will help you develop more positive, stronger, and healthier relationships. It's not just about listening to their words, either. Listening to non-verbal cues is an important part of active listening and healthy communication.

Socialize Regularly (With Your Friends and Strangers)

Isolating yourself can be tempting, particularly when you don't feel like you have high emotional intelligence. But, to stress your muscles, you should push yourself to socialize regularly.

That way, you can practice making yourself approachable, making connections, and listening to interests. It's even a good way to network, which can be helpful for your career!

Some situations you can practice socializing include the following:

  • Head to a bar or club
  • Join a sports league
  • Go to the movies or a group watch-along
  • Hit a concert and meet music fans
  • Go to church, synagogue, or the religious institution of your choice
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless center, or another venue
  • Join a book club
  • Go hiking or do other outdoor activities

Try a wide range of different places to socialize and expand your emotional intelligence, and find what works for you.

Connecting With People in a Virtual World

You don’t have to meet people in person to practice your socialization, either. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that there are plenty of ways to connect remotely.

Meeting people from outside of your location will also help you widen your worldview. The more people with different lived experiences you meet, the more you'll be able to emphasize and sympathize with a wider range of people.

If you’re a big reality television show fan, for example, you can sign up to start playing social strategy games on Zoom and other teleconferencing software. Download the Clubhouse app or similar platforms to start chatting with people all over the world that have similar interests as you.

There are tons of social networking apps you can sign up for to meet people in your neck of the woods and all over the world. Really, the world's your oyster — just experiment and find what's right for you.

Take Constructive Criticism (And Take It Well)

In order to improve your emotional intelligence, you need to be both self-aware and emotionally aware. That's where constructive criticism can help you out.

It can feel hurtful to be criticized, but being able to accept and internalize constructive criticism is necessary for all aspects of your life — including your emotional intelligence. 

Take a deep breath before you get criticized, to steel yourself for the problem. And, make sure that you're really internalizing the criticism you get. It's one thing to acknowledge a problem, and another to take steps to rectify any issues with how you relate to other people.

This is also a good way to practice responding to stimuli, rather than reacting to them. That's a preferred practice for building up your emotional intelligence. Essentially, you should take constructive criticism as a way to learn and grow as a person, rather than as an attack on your character or who you are as an individual.

Work on Your Mental and Physical Health

Making sure you have a solid health basis is the best way to improve your emotional intelligence. You need to build a strong and sturdy foundation of mental and physical health before you try and branch out. Here are some strategies you can try out for improving your health, inside and out:

  • Create a regular sleep schedule (and stick to it)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Make (and go to) appointments for regular checkups and dentist appointments
  • Go to the eye doctor, if you need to
  • Take all your prescribed medication, and take it as prescribed by your doctor
  • Start exercising regularly 
  • Flex your creative muscles 
  • Get your feelings out by writing or journaling
  • Take measures to fight off the effects of stress

Once you are feeling good about yourself emotionally and physically, you'll be ready to get on your path to improving your emotional intelligence.

Channel Your Emotions Positively

Now that you have the tools to correctly identify your emotions and their origins, you need to learn how to express them in a positive way. Once you start recognizing your emotions, you can also start recognizing your triggers so that you can head off major meltdowns at the pass, which will help you expand your ability to feel other people's emotions.

If you're feeling angry, you can't take that feeling out on your friends and loved ones.

You need to find a better way to express that anger. For example, you can talk it out with a therapist. You can look into anger management techniques to help you work through your aggression.

If the negative feelings you need to express are sadness or anxiety, you'll need to take a different tack. Try your best not to wallow in or dwell on these feelings. Instead, think of positive things in your life to combat these upsetting feelings.

Basically, no matter what your emotions are, you need to make sure that you're regulating them and expressing them in an effective manner. 

Remember You Have to Continue Your Journey

Developing emotional intelligence isn't like riding a bike. It's an ongoing process that you will have to commit to throughout your life. So, you'll have to incorporate the process of emotional intelligence into every aspect of your life, not just for a short time but for the long term.

You can use a calendar application on your phone to remind you of your commitment to improving your emotional intelligence. However, you’ll also want to make sure to pace yourself.

You don’t want to do too much, too quickly, or you may end up burning yourself out. You can also reach out to your friends and loved ones, and have them support you on your journey to improve your emotional intelligence.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence? It's a Snap

Clearly, it's not all that difficult to answer the question, "How to improve emotional intelligence?" Just take it one step at a time. Take a deep breath, relax, and get started. You'll be set up for your journey to build up a new level of emotional intelligence.

Do you need more physical or mental health advice? Make sure that you contact us today for all the help you need.

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