Emotional intelligence, or EI, refers to a person’s ability to comprehend and understand emotions. Emotionally intelligent people tend to be highly self-aware and can recognize, acknowledge and evaluate their feelings and those of others. These skills are highly beneficial in multiple aspects of life, including academic, professional, and personal.
EI is a valuable trait, especially when dealing with relationships, work, and educational matters. It involves logical and critical thinking, apart from an empathetic nature that one might showcase. EI is known to be made up of five components, namely self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. These skills play a vital role in developing your emotional intelligence.
What Exactly is it?
If you are able to handle criticism, regulate your feelings, are a pro at handling setbacks, and tend to stay calm under pressure, chances are you might be highly emotionally intelligent. EI requires being aware of someone else’s feelings or thoughts in inclusion to yours. This paves the way for empathy and leads to better workplace discussions, personal relationships, and self-development.
Empathy arises when one is in touch with their own feelings. Being aware of why you feel a particular way might be challenging, but evaluating your emotions and responding accordingly can go a long way in developing your EI. Emotionally intelligent people know their strengths and drawbacks and readily accept their flaws. Other signs of this behavior may include:
- Self-confidence and the ability to handle challenging situations.
- Ability to embrace changes.
- Ability to be empathetic and sensitive to what others may feel.
- Ability to take multiple perspectives into consideration.
- Ability to be open to constructive feedback.
People with this trait generally tend to keep negative emotions at bay and adopt a positive outlook on life.
Why Are These Skills Important?
Possessing EI can accelerate your career and relationships manifold. Emotional intelligence allows you to interpret and adapt to environmental conditions. Combining the skills that EI constitutes, you can effectively handle leadership roles in your workplace. Along with improved communication, EI will enable you to perceive your peers positively.
While technical skills can only take you so far, being empathetic and understanding toward your peers might make you a highly sought-after leader. It will generate a robust bond in your organization and lead to internal and external success. Once you can identify other people’s emotions, you will be able to adapt and react to the situation. This will enhance your judgment and eventually boost your performance and productivity.
When it comes to relationships, EI can help maintain and build everlasting love with your partner or a loved one. With the correct mindset and high awareness, you will be able to traverse stressful situations and create a deep bond or intimacy with your loved one. This may initiate a soulful relationship where you grow and advance together. You can keep your relationships alive and flourishing with mutual respect and emotional understanding.
Academically, highly emotionally intelligent students tend to perform better than their peers. EI enforces proactive learning in students, wherein they might utilize their education in real-world scenarios.
The Different Components:
EI is multi-dimensional and has various components associated with it. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, five elements constitute emotional intelligence.
1. Being Self-Aware
This is the first step in strengthening your EI. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your character, feelings, and emotions. It involves constant evaluation of self and awareness of how your emotions might affect others. It is a rare skill to develop, as most of us easily fall into the snare of emotions.
To develop self-awareness, you must constantly monitor all the feelings that you may experience. You need to identify your emotions and all the reactions that follow after. This helps you recognize your thought patterns and keeps you in control of your senses. You may be able to foresee or fathom the consequences of your emotions, which will help you make informed decisions.
A few traits of self-aware people include:
- They know their strengths and drawbacks.
- They are open to new experiences.
- They are confident and lighthearted in nature.
- They are aware of how others perceive them.
You can follow the steps given below to enhance your self-awareness and bolster your EI:
- Meditate: Every time we meditate, we train our brains to focus our energy on mindfulness. We let go of our distractions and embrace our feelings to achieve self-awareness. Meditation helps eliminate the constant stream of thoughts, ideas, judgments, and negativity. It allows us to experience the present moment as it is. Practicing mindfulness can strengthen your ability to perceive your emotions and help you gain a new perspective on life.
- Journal: Jotting down your thoughts in a journal can help you identify the patterns of your thoughts. This might make it easier for you to identify your traits and equip you for any challenges you may face. Simply keep track of your feelings, either happy or sad and evaluate them regularly to get the most out of this habit.
- Reflect: At certain intervals of your day, slow down and reflect on how you feel. This will help you manage your emotions effectively.
2. Being Motivated and Setting Goals
A large chunk of our lives is usually devoted to setting and chasing goals. Achieving these goals requires being consistently motivated and unafraid of any obstacles. Emotionally intelligent people tend to be self-motivated and remain true to their goals and aspirations.
To build your emotional quotient, you must become aware of what drives you. Intrinsic motivation refers to the motivation that arises from within you. Your thirst to succeed should come from within you and must not be driven by external factors such as rewards, acclaim, or punishments.
It is integral to be action-oriented rather than goal-oriented to achieve maximum efficiency. A few steps to increase your motivational quotient include:
- Setting measurable and achievable goals.
- Celebrating all wins – however small or big.
- Not being afraid of challenges or obstacles. It makes the journey more worthwhile.
- Always following up or being committed to the goals that you set for yourself.
- Being accountable to yourself.
- Avoiding chasing monetary or any kind of external reward that might fuel your motivation.
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3. Ability to Self-Regulate
It is essential to regulate and manage your emotions to acquire a high emotional quotient. Being aware of how and when to express your feelings is an integral component of EI. You should have the ability to assess the environment or situation and respond in an appropriate measure.
Self-regulation allows you to gauge your emotions before taking any actions. This lessens the probability of hasty decisions and verbal abuse in tense situations and will enable you to stay in control of your feelings. With a high EI, you might become flexible in your decision-making and adapt well to change.
If you have an automated nature, you might consider your reaction’s effect on others. Here are a few ways to improve self-regulation:
- Recognize how you react in stressful situations and try to manage your triggers.
- Don’t associate challenges or obstacles with negativity.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness to manage your emotions better.
- Be accepting of your thoughts and feelings.
- Don’t give in to impulses. Take a moment to think and breathe before responding to a trigger.
4. Having Social Skills
Being able to hold conversations and interact well with others is an important element of EI. Regular human interaction is necessary to understand how others feel. This not only fosters friendships or relationships but also helps in building lifelong bonds with other people.
Having open-minded discussions or interactions encourages free thinking. It allows you to understand human emotions and perceive them in situational contexts deeply. In workplaces, it strengthens the bonds between teams and peers. Social skills include being an active listener and speaker, persuasive, and receptive to criticism.
You can enhance your social skills by following the steps given below:
- Be a proactive listener.
- Practice your communication skills.
- Maintain eye contact while talking to others and address them by their names.
- Be mindful of your body language.
- Observe the communication skills of your peers and other individuals.
5. Being Empathetic
Empathy allows one to understand what others might feel or think. It is an essential aspect of emotional understanding. Empathy involves recognizing and acknowledging a person’s emotional state before sending out an appropriate response. This can help immensely in your relationships, where it is integral to interpret the feelings of a loved one in order not to hurt them.
An empathetic person tends to be respectful and sensitive toward others. Seeing thighs from their point of view and reacting accordingly leads to much stronger and more meaningful relationships.
If you are looking for ways to improve your empathetic skills, follow the points given below:
- Be a good listener. Before responding, let the other person speak their heart out.
- Communication is a two-way street.
- Be open to sharing your feelings as well.
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes to gauge their experiences and feelings.
How to Improve Your Abilities
There are various ways to enhance your emotional intelligence abilities. First and foremost, make a habit of noticing your emotions. Observe your triggers and recognize how you feel when difficult situations arise. Once you can recognize and understand your emotions, start managing them.
You can also check in with yourself throughout the day. Notice your behavior at several parts of the day. Observe the changes you go through and note your reaction or response to identify and track your patterns. Also, don’t forget to slow down and take a deep breath regularly.
Other ways to enhance your EI skills may include:
- Creating a positive outlook toward life.
- Testing challenges as opportunities.
- Interacting with others to understand human emotions better.
- Practicing self-care occasionally.
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