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Boost Your Emotional Intelligence With These Simple And Incredible Techniques

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence With These Simple And Incredible Techniques

We’ve all experienced challenges in life that test our emotional intelligence. It’s usually a time when we feel disconnected from others, confused by what is happening, or our emotions got the better of us.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can mean more connection with the people in your life and a higher ability to cope with these challenging situations. When you read people well and respond in a way that helps everyone feel comfortable, you are onto a good thing. Your relationships are not only more satisfying, you are more likely to make that business deal and deal with that conflict situation in a calm and rational manner.

We could all do with more tips on how to boost our emotional intelligence, so here it is: five things emotionally intelligent people do, that you can practice, too:

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They are aware that working with others is a strength, not a weakness

If you’re emotionally intelligent you’re aware of both your weaknesses and your strengths, and accept both wholeheartedly. You know yourself well enough to understand that having weaknesses is normal; so you are not afraid to ask a colleague for help in order to get the job done. If you’re able to admit defeat and ask for guidance, you can see working as a team and sharing your vulnerability as a strong move. Sharing your problem just became an opportunity for you to grow.

They can take a hit

No one likes being criticized for anything, and most people will react on some level, to a critique of their work. The difference between someone who is emotionally intelligent or not, is, that they will process their emotions differently. They are more self-aware when reacting, manage any unpleasant emotions better, and this could be because they more aware of what might be going on for the person doing the criticizing, able to connect with that reality. Once they have taken a step back and processed their emotions, they can more easily look at the reality of whether the criticism can help them to improve whatever it is they are doing, or not.

Failure doesn’t phase them

Similarly, failure affects everyone, but if you’re emotionally intelligent, you will move on from setbacks quicker and more efficiently than someone who is stuck in self-criticism and doubt. They tend to have an unfaltering self-belief that means they are confident no matter the obstacle or problem, they will still succeed. This means they are less likely to get too upset about the small stuff, and to carry on doing what they love without worrying too much about it.

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They bring the good feeling, even when things are looking dire. They keep their cool outwardly and end up being the kind of people want to follow as a result.

The next time you have a setback, notice what you think about it, and how it makes you feel. If you can spot any self-criticism, change the direction you’re heading in. Try telling yourself instead, that you know this sucks, but at the end of the day, you know you can do it, no matter the obstacle or challenge.

“What was that?…”

When emotionally intelligent people are misunderstood or misheard, they don’t get into a fluster. -It is their aim to communicate effectively with their audience, and nothing will hold them back from getting their message across. So you change your plan instantly to meet their needs. Even when the projector you have been working with breaks down, or you spill coffee down your shirt, or even turn up to an interview in filthy clothes, you get your message across and end up with people appreciating you even more as a result.

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Next time you’re caught off guard, try improvising and enjoying the moment, instead of worrying about what ‘went wrong’. This builds rapport more than any planned interactions ever could.

They see actions and not reactions

Emotionally intelligent people see what actually happens in a conflict, not a blurred version with their judgments mixed into their interpretation of what happened. They are aware of what they felt at the time, but they do not let that color what they actually saw. They know how to take social cues from others at the time to inform them of what’s best to do, and they know how to manage those strong feelings in the moment, so that they don’t get out of hand, and can be calm enough to find a resolution. So next time you find yourself in the middle of a conflict take a deep breath, connect to your feelings first and react from a place of calm to what’s happening.

They’re connected to themselves

Emotionally intelligent people do not rely on the approval of others, nor do they heed their doubtful or negative thoughts.

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Having trained as a computer programmer, I learned early on the principle of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. While this works for creating websites, it also works with our own mental health. The beliefs we choose to believe or the unconfident people we spend our time with can have a huge effect. Sometimes we can’t avoid certain people, but we can add to the amount of positive people we surround ourselves with. So next time someone says something that leaves you feeling unsure of yourself, check your own opinion about it, before believing it to be true.

Connecting to your inner knowing can help free you of worry about what anyone else is saying or doing, and allow you to get on with your life’s work.

I hope these quick tips will help you to practice more emotional intelligence in your own life, so that you feel more able to be yourself, to put your whole self in your work, and to connect deeply with those around you.

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Daniel Owen van Dommelen

Coder, Director, Writer, Human

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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