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6 Ways To Raise Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

6 Ways To Raise Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

We all probably know people, at work or in our personal lives, who are great at listening and helping us feel more hopeful and optimistic. Like me, you probably know people who are masters at managing their emotions. You find yourself in awe, and wish you had the ability to control your emotions too. Your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings can determine your success and overall happiness in all aspects of your life. Raising your emotional intelligence has a direct and positive effect on your level of energy and consciousness.

Definition of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how they affect the people around you. People who function at a high rate of emotional intelligence have the ability to adjust their behaviors and are more effective at recognizing and managing their own emotions as well as the emotions of others.  Ergo, emotional intelligence equals interpersonal effectiveness; the more effective you are with others, the more successful you’ll be.

The Six Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

If your desire is to raise your emotional intelligence, here are six pillars of emotional intelligence to incorporate into your life:

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  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Empathy
  3. Self-Regulation
  4. Motivation
  5. Social Skills
  6. Happiness

1. Self-Awareness

Serving as the core area of emotional intelligence, being able to identify how you feel throughout the day, as well as who you are, helps you make important life choices. One way to raise your emotional intelligence is to use present language to help focus more on the present moment. Put your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on paper. By doing this, you’re able to put things into perspective, which helps you become more aware of who you are, what you want and why. Learn to increase your emotional vocabulary by using it to describe your full range of emotions.

Knowing how to express your emotions can often help you manage them in a proper and healthy way. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the gift of silence and meditation. Reconnect with your inner self and watch your perspective and your life transform.

2. Empathy

Empathy is extremely powerful and essential to raising your emotional intelligence. Increasing your ability to empathize can help you get closer to others, gain their support when you need it, and potentially defuse high-charged conflicts in your professional and personal life. Empathy is recognized as the second-most important emotion to acquire, since by showing someone that you understand where they’re coming from, you’re able to gain their respect. Be aware and listen carefully to what they are telling you. You know you are becoming more empathetic when you’re able to decipher and recognize the feelings of others.

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3. Self-Regulation

All humans share the desire to have intimate relationships with a few trusted people. However, part of growing as a person involves acquiring new skills while experiencing new relationships. By learning to control and manage your emotions, especially your impulses, you are able to prepare yourself for emotional self-management.

People who self-regulate think before they act, have the ability to say no, and shift their thoughts to prevent their emotions from controlling them. They are self-aware enough to know their strengths, weaknesses, and are willing to look at themselves honestly. Emotionally intelligent people aim for assertiveness, appropriately sharing their emotions, thoughts, and beliefs with the right people at the right time as a means to let others know where they stand.

4. Motivation

Willing to defer immediate results to establish long-term success, emotionally intelligent people are generally characterized as motivated. People are often guided by their emotional knowledge, which results in a flawed impulsive decision. People who are emotionally intelligent, however, are excellent decision-makers, and they know when to trust their intuition.

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Susceptible to criticism, they take it well, and know when to use it to improve their performance. Emotionally intelligent people know when to stick and when to switch their emotional attachments. They are motivated to look at a problem and find a resolution in a calm and rational way. When it comes to their careers, motivation drives emotionally intelligent people to be more productive and passionate about succeeding.

5. Social Skills

Another way of raising your emotional intelligence is being able to easily talk and connect with others. Being socially responsible demonstrates that you really care about others and not just about your own personal gain. Individuals who focus on the development of others rather than their own, practice emotional intelligence as well as humility. Humility can be a wonderful quality to possess because it indicates to others that you’re able to take responsibility of your actions while still participating and being a team player. Having a high emotional intelligence gives you the social skills to manage the emotions of others too.

6. Happiness

Raising your emotional intelligence involves knowing when to be happy, sad, excited, anxious, or even vigilant. Unfortunately, very few people know how to manage their happiness as it is frequently associated with material goods or gifts they receive from others.

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Generally, people who possess high emotional intelligence are happy people. The really happy ones are those who always give. Happiness, for clarification, feels like a warm, steady glow harbored inside your body. Because happy people accomplish more tasks than those who are sad or depressed, it is important to note that the emotionally intelligent have the ability to control their mood to serve their purpose, motivating them to find more solutions to problems. Remember, it costs nothing to spread happiness, and what you receive in return is priceless.

In order to raise your emotional intelligence, it is essential that you try to incorporate these six pillars into your life. Not only will you no longer feel like a slave to your emotions, you’ll be able to create and maintain more meaningful and intimate relationships in your professional career and personal life.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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