With practice you can build this key trait for happiness and success
Emotional intelligence can help you succeed at work and in your personal life, and is a key to emotional healing. According to one recent study, cultivating greater emotional intelligence can reduce the frequency and intensity of negative emotions we experience in life.
Emotional intelligence refers to how well you recognize and deal with your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Becoming more emotionally intelligent helps you manifest and process your feelings in healthy ways. This can help you cope with conflict more effectively, build stronger relationships, and reduce stress.
Studies show that it is possible to increase emotional intelligence over time. Here are some simple ways to improve it:
1. Practice Empathy — Empathy is one of the keys to emotional intelligence. It’s about understanding why someone feels a certain way and how those feelings might affect their behavior. If you’re empathetic, you’re able to communicate that you understand where others are coming from. While some people may be naturally more empathetic than others, you can improve your empathy with practice. Begin with yourself. Ask, “Why am I feeling this way or acting this way?” You might not know the answer at first. But if you keep paying attention to your feelings and behavior — stopping to acknowledge them and reflect — you’ll become better at empathizing with yourself, and responding with empathy to others.
2. Observe Your Emotions — In the busy grind of daily life, it’s easy to lose track of or lose touch with our emotions. This may make us more likely to act without thinking, missing out on the insights we’d gain if we took more time to stay in touch with ourselves. By paying more attention to your feelings, you can learn to trust your emotions, manage them, and learn from them. To practice this, take time to purposely evaluate your emotions. Check in with yourself by setting an alarm a few times a day if you need to. When it’s time, breathe deeply and think about how you’re doing emotionally. Are your feelings manifesting themselves in a physical way? What does it feel like? Practice this regularly, and eventually you’ll do it without having to remind yourself.
3. Practice Emotional Healing — Emotionalhealing is a key part of building better emotional intelligence. The less emotional baggage you carry around, the easier it will be to manage your feelings and how you respond to others. Tools such as The Emotion Code® may help you release emotional energies that could be bringing you down or affecting your emotional healing. With those energies removed, you can focus on becoming a more emotionally intelligent person.
4. Take Responsibility for Your Feelings — Many of us tend to place blame on other people or circumstances for the way we feel. But your feelings and behavior come from within you — not any external source. You’re ultimately responsible for them.You’ve probably seen people react harshly to something someone says. Maybe you’ve done this yourself. It’s often hard to control anger, frustration, or hurt feelings when they seem to come out of the blue. But while we can’t control what other people do, we can control how we respond. When you feel hurt, consider this responsibility and take stock of your emotions before you react. Those feelings can provide valuable insight about your relationships and your own needs.Accepting responsibility for how you feel and behave is a sign of emotional intelligence.
5. Focus on Responding, Not Reacting — As you take responsibility for your feelings and behavior, you might find yourself better able to respond to people and situations rather than simply react. There is a subtle but important difference between the two.Reacting is like an unconscious reflex. When your emotions are triggered by something, you may feel like reacting in a way that expresses emotion. For example, you might snap at your kids when they interrupt your work. Or you might get defensive when your boss offers what he or she thinks is constructive criticism. It’s much better to respond instead.Responding involves a conscious process. It requires you to take note of how you feel and then cognitively decide how to behave. For instance, instead of getting defensive with your boss, you stop to recognize what you’re feeling and decide to take the criticism as a learning experience. Or when your child interrupts you, rather than lashing out, you take a minute to explain why now is not a good time for an interruption. Responding in an emotionally intelligent way takes practice, so be patient with yourself as you work on this skill.
Embrace the Process of Emotional Growth
Improving your emotional intelligence is a lifetime journey. The more you become aware of your feelings and able to express them in healthy ways, the happier you will be in your life, work and relationships.