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Mental Wellness

6 Most Important Emotional Intelligence Skills To Have

Written by Nancy Solari
Nancy Solari is an accomplished CEO, life coach, and motivational speaker.
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Have you ever considered whether you are an emotionally intelligent person or not? Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize our emotions and those of others and respond to them thoughtfully and effectively.[1] Having emotional intelligence skills is key to connecting with others and forming lasting relationships.

If you are struggling with improving your emotional intelligence or assessing your level of understanding, here are the 6 most important emotional intelligence skills that you should develop.

1. Strong Inner Confidence

Emotionally intelligent people can act and speak without second-guessing themselves. This stems from them being self-aware and trusting their intuitions. Being emotionally intelligent means that you are confident and can “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.”

You might say that you want to work out or start eating healthily, but to actually take the action and go to the gym requires a higher level of emotional intelligence. The next time you are thinking that you want to learn a new skill or maybe go to therapy, take a moment to consider what you need to make that jump from thought to action. It might be finding an accountability partner who will call you out when you are slacking, or perhaps using an exercise app to track your process.

Being proactive allows you to feel more self-assured, which gives you increased confidence in assessing the risks and rewards of your decisions. When you understand your emotions, you will find it easier to have conviction in your actions.

2. Ability to Go With the Flow

Having the skill to adapt to different situations shows that you have a high level of emotional intelligence. If you can adjust your game plan without getting frustrated when a project doesn’t go as planned, it means you are in tune with your emotions.


Being able to go with the flow also means that you don’t get stuck in trying to fulfill checklists. If you plan your career or relationship goals and attempt to achieve them in a strict time frame, you may end up feeling disappointed and exhausted. Someone with good emotional intelligence skills understands when they have given it their all and allowed themselves to move on—even if the project is incomplete.

There will be times when calls take longer than expected or when technology doesn’t work as planned. Being flexible will give you more space for adjustments. To be more emotionally intelligent, remind yourself that life is fluid and that you only have control over your own decisions. You can be in charge of how much you allow outside factors, like people and unexpected circumstances, to impact your life. Emotionally intelligent people will not get rattled. Instead, they re-evaluate and push forward.

3. Selective Reacting

Another notable emotional intelligence skill is the capability to only react when it is necessary, effective, and thoughtful. It is easy to get caught up in your emotions and respond defensively when a friend tells you something that makes you feel angry or small. An emotionally intelligent person will have control over their energy and the power to listen, process, and then take action.

Whenever you receive an unnerving email or harsh criticism from someone, take the time to determine if there is any truth to what they are saying. From there, you can choose how you will react. Maybe a colleague’s words can shine a light on an area where you can improve, which allows you to grow. You can go back to that person with a new perspective and willingness to hear their feedback.

On the other hand, you can also brush off what someone says if you know it is inaccurate. Being able to understand your emotions deeply and choosing when to react will guide you in elevating your emotional intelligence.

4. Recognizing Unhealthy Thoughts

This is a truly valuable emotional intelligence skill—identifying negative and unproductive thought patterns. An emotionally intelligent person recognizes when they are falling into a cycle of putting themselves down and can quickly switch gears.


For example, instead of dwelling on the thought that you may have made a bad impression on a new friend or overshared on a first date, stop your head from spinning out of control. If you let your imagination run away with you, then you will constantly be full of worry and despair.

Consider using a journal to become mindful of the harmful stream of words you repeat in your mind. What you say internally might be completely different than how you act and are perceived in the world. An emotionally intelligent person tries to align their inner reasonings with their external actions.

Along with putting your feelings into words, venting to someone and hearing the detrimental thoughts out loud can be a way of recognizing destructive patterns. Purging negativity will result in more joy and allow you to have control over your emotions.

5. Seeing the Bigger Picture

Emotional intelligence also means being able to see beyond the present moment and visualizing the bigger picture. People with high emotional intelligence think through life adjustments and look down the line at how decisions might affect the future.

There are many ways to practice this skill in our daily lives. Before leaving a job, consider the risks and benefits. You might go online to explore other positions that are more in alignment with your purpose, or consider the salary and whether you will need additional schooling. If you are in a relationship and feel like it is no longer a good fit, then reflect on the bigger picture. Start by jotting down qualities you would love to have in your ideal partner. Moving on from that connection can lead to finding the person of your dreams.

Emotionally intelligent people can make life changes with confidence because they think through their actions. They are not as concerned with whether the grass will immediately be greener on the other side, but they recognize the value of carefully moving towards greater happiness and prosperity. Maintaining a broad perspective is an important emotional intelligence skill that will allow you to live a more fulfilling life.


6. Quick Processing Speed

Another important emotional intelligence skill is being able to not only quickly access your own emotions but other people’s emotions as well. This is essential because it helps you act effectively and with empathy towards others.

When someone shares their opinions, rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind, an emotionally intelligent person will make a rapid assessment of the other person’s perspective. To practice this skill, the next time you are speaking with someone, take a brief moment to consider who your audience is, any stress they might be under, and the purpose of the conversation. You will then be able to carry out a thoughtful discussion where you know what you say is landing on the other person in the right way.

An emotionally intelligent person also figures out the best communication method. Sometimes, writing an email is more effective than talking about it in person. This will also strengthen your relationship with coworkers, friends, and family because you take time to quickly put yourself in their shoes before speaking. Quick processing speed will assist you in communicating more effectively.

Final Thoughts

Emotional intelligence is a concept that we can all work on for our entire lives. It allows you to lead a life that aligns with your true values. Once you begin the process of becoming more in tune with your emotions and thoughts, you will also find you are living at a higher vibration and carry out actions with intention. Challenge yourself to develop 2 or 3 of these skills in the coming months, and you will be proud of the personal growth that manifests.

More About Emotional Intelligence Skills

Featured photo credit: Caroline Veronez via unsplash.com


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