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Last Updated on January 6, 2020

What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

Many experts now believe that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) may be more important than their IQ and is certainly a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and overall happiness.[1]

    It’s interesting to note how the concept of emotional intelligence has evolved over the years, from its inception as something called “social intelligence” all the way back in the 1930’s, to “emotional strength” in the mid-20th century, to its current terminology, “emotional intelligence.”

    But what exactly is emotional intelligence and why is it important?

    What Is Emotional Intelligence?

    Emotional intelligence (EI) is, in layman’s terms, our level of ability to:

    • Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions (self-awareness)
    • Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses (self-management)
    • Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take appropriate action, commit, follow-through, and work toward the achievement of our goals (motivation)
    • Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions, and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively (empathy)
    • Build relationships, relate to others in social situations, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team (social skills)

    The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

    If you think emotional intelligence is only important for those who always have to interact or communicate with people, think it again. Emotional intelligence is a gateway to a balanced-life. It’s essential to basically every aspect of life:

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    Physical Health

    The ability to take care of our bodies and especially to manage our stress, which has an incredible impact on our overall wellness, is heavily tied to our emotional intelligence. Only by being aware of our emotional state and our reactions to stress in our lives can we hope to manage stress and maintain good health.

    Mental Well-Being

    Emotional intelligence affects our attitude and outlook on life. It can also help to alleviate anxiety and avoid depression and mood swings. A high level of emotional intelligence directly correlates to a positive attitude and happier outlook on life.

    Relationships

    By better understanding and managing our emotions, we are better able to communicate our feelings in a more constructive way. We are also better able to understand and relate to those with whom we are in relationships.

    Understanding the needs, feelings, and responses of those we care about leads to stronger and more fulfilling relationships.

    Conflict Resolution

    When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with their perspective, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts or possibly avoid them before they start. We are also better at negotiation due to the very nature of our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.

    Success

    Higher emotional intelligence helps us to be stronger internal motivators, which can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal.

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    It also allows us to create better networks of support, overcome setbacks, and persevere with a more resilient outlook. Our ability to delay gratification and see the long-term directly affects our ability to succeed.

    Leadership

    The ability to understand what motivates others, relate in a positive manner, and to build stronger bonds with others in the workplace inevitably makes those with higher emotional intelligence better leaders. An effective leader can recognize what the needs of his people are, so that those needs can be met in a way that encourages higher performance and workplace satisfaction.

    An emotionally savvy and intelligent leader is also able to build stronger teams by strategically utilizing the emotional diversity of their team members to benefit the team as a whole.

    Emotional intelligence is still not completely understood, but what we do know is that emotions play a very critical role in the overall quality of our personal and professional lives, more critical even than our actual measure of brain intelligence.

    While tools and technology can help us to learn and master information, nothing can replace our ability to learn, manage, and master our emotions and the emotions of those around us.

    How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional intelligence is not something inborn, there are ways to take control of your emotions. Here’s how:

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    1. Observe Your Feelings

    We easily lose touch with our emotions when we’re too busy worrying about what to do next and what can be done better. Instead of really taking good care of our emotions, we choose to ignore them most of the time. What we don’t realize is that suppressing our emotions only makes things worse. The more we try to put our emotions behind, the more uncontrollable our emotions become.

    When we have an emotional reaction to something, it can be due to the fact that we’re having some unsolved issues. So next time when you feel like having some negative emotions, calm down and think about why you’re experiencing this. Take a deep breath and write down the emotions you’re experiencing and the possible reasons.

    When you have things written down, you can identify your emotions triggers and think of ways to deal with each of them. Learn more about this here: How To Control Your Emotions Effectively

    2. Practice Responding, Not Reacting

    Reacting is an unconscious process where we behave in an unconscious way that expresses or relieves an emotion. Responding is a conscious process that involves paying attention to your feelings and deciding how to behave.

    When you’re more aware of your emotional triggers, you can always think about the way to behave in advance.

    For example, if you know that you get angry easily and throw temper to colleagues when you’re feeling very stressful at work, take note of that and think about what you can do next time when you’re experiencing the same trigger. Maybe you can try to tell your colleagues that you need some silent moments because you’re feeling stressful at the moment, or maybe you can get a few minutes of alone time just to calm down yourself first.

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    3. Stay Humble All the Times

    When you always believe that you’re better than others, you’ll not see your own faults, and you’ll likely to get emotional about things that don’t meet your expectation.

    Try to look at the same thing from a different perspective. Instead of judging someone or something, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to think or feel like them: would you do or feel the same too and why?

    In this way, you’re likely to understand other people’s thoughts and emotions more; and you’ll probably learn something new about how to deal with stuff in similar situations too.

    Be humble enough to know you’re not better than anyone, and wise enough to know that you’re different from the rest!

    Final Thoughts

    Emotional intelligence can be learned, it’s a lifetime process. It’s never too late to learn anything, it just takes continuous observation and practice. So no matter how old you are, you can still take up EI and make the rest of your life better and happier.

    More About Mental Strength

    Reference

    [1] Dr. Travis Bradberry: Emotional Intelligence Statistic

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on July 13, 2020

    9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

    9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

    It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.

    However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:

    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson

    When I was younger — in my teens and early 20s — I was trapped. Not physically, but mentally: by the destructive thought pattern called pessimism. This negative thinking poisoned what might have been a pretty good and opportunity-filled childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This pessimism created ceilings and walls where there really were none.

    Throughout the period when I was ridden by pessimism, my life and I mostly stood still. Looking back, it was a terrible waste. If you are in pessimistic place, you don’t have to stay there for the rest of your life. I didn’t, for I learned to replace my negative thinking with optimism.

    In this article I’ll explore nine positivity habits that have helped me to go from someone who was pessimistic most of the time to someone who is now optimistic almost all the time. I recommend to not try to add all the habits at one go but to choose one habit and to practice it for 30 days so it becomes a habit, before adding the next.

    1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

    This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.

    A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:

    • “Why did this happen to me?”
    • “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”

    But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:

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    • “What is one good thing about this situation?”
    • “What can I learn from this situation?”
    • “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”

    2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In

    The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.

    Watch this YouTube video and learn the power of a positive environment:

    So choose to:

    • Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
    • Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.

    3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)

    A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.

    I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:

    1. What can I be grateful for in my life today?
    2. Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
    3. What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

    Just spend 60 seconds or a few minutes during your day with answering one of these questions to reap the wonderful benefits.

    4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self

    Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.

    I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.

    If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.

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    So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.

    5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way

    The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.

    So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?

    A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.

    This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.

    6. Focus on Solutions

    A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.

    If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:

    What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?

    Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:

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    What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?

    The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.

    7. Reduce Your Worries

    The worrying habit is a powerful and destructive one and can take over anyone’s thinking. It used to be one of my biggest obstacles to optimism and to moving forward in life.

    Two effective steps that have helped me and still help me to this day to minimize the worries are:

    1. Ask yourself: how many of my worries ever happened in reality? If you are like me you will find that the answer is: very few. Most of the things you fear throughout your life will never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. This question can help you to do a reality check, to calm down and to realize that you have most likely just been building another imaginary nightmare.
    2. Focus on solutions and the action you can take. The worries grow stronger in a foggy mind and an inactive body. So use the questions in Steps 1 and 6 to move out of your worries and into resolution.

    8. Don’t Let Ideals Ruin Things

    A common mistake people make when making a shift in their attitudes is that they think that they have be perfect and do things perfectly all the time. This traps them from being positive.

    Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive viewpoint more and more.

    But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.

    So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can.

    This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.

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    9. Finally, a Reminder to Help You to Not Give Up

    I would like to end this article with a simple but powerful and timeless thought that comforted and encouraged me to continue on when things looked bleak.

    That thought is: It is always darkest before the dawn.

    This thought has helped me to hold on and keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It has helped me to continue on in my online business when things looked like they would never pick up. It has helped me to put one foot over another even when things looked dark.

    I have found this thought to be very true. Why? Because when things seemed to be at the lowest for my blog, business, dating life or life in general, something positive would always happened. That’s probably because being at a low point forced me to change how I did things.

    But maybe also because life has a way of evening itself out when I go on. By taking action rather than give up, something good will always happens.

    Seeing this thought live itself out has strengthened my belief in staying optimistic, in taking action and to keep going even when going through rough patches.

    Re-syndicated 9 Simple Habits to Stay Positive in Life | Personal Excellence

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    Featured photo credit: Allie Smith via unsplash.com

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