Emotional intelligence measures our ability to understand and manage our emotions, along with the emotions of other people. It is used to determine how well we are able to manage the emotion in a healthy and productive way.
EI is crucial to our lives, as it can greatly influence how successful our careers and relationships are. Regardless of what stage you are at in your life, the following guidelines will be very useful in enhancing your emotional intelligence level.
One of the most challenging yet very helpful steps in your attempt to increase your emotional intelligence is to take responsibility for your feelings as well as your behaviour.
Don’t forget that both your emotions as well as your behaviour come from no one but you. Therefore, it is you who is responsible for them.
If you are hurt by the actions or words of someone, and as a result, you lash out at them, it is you who is responsible for the reaction – not them!
Your feelings can give you information about your experiences with the other individual along with your personal preferences and needs; however, your feelings are not the responsibility of anyone else but you.
Learn to Take responsibility for your feelings and actions, and you will automatically start to have a positive impact on many areas of your life.
When we react to something, we pave way for an unconscious process which is triggered by a certain emotional state. We also behave in a manner that relieves or expresses our emotion. For instance, if someone interrupts you when you are talking to someone, you may feel irritated and snap at the person.
Responding, on the other hand, is a conscious process that involves you noticing how you are feeling, and then deciding the course of action with regards to your behaviour. For example, if you are feeling irritated, it would be wise to tell the person that you are feeling this way, and it isn’t the appropriate time for them to interrupt you.
Empathy is all about understanding why an individual feels/behaves in a particular way. It is about communicating that to them. It doesn’t only apply to others, but also to ourselves. Practicing this can significantly enhance your emotional intelligence.
Initially, your focus should be only on yourself. Whenever you are feeling or even behaving in a particular way, ask yourself ‘Why am I feeling or doing this?’ At the very start, your response would probably be ‘I don’t know.’
With time, as you continue to focus on the reasons that make you feel and behave in a certain way, you will begin to answer that question.
Once you have gained significant control over your emotions and behaviours after understanding the factors behind them, start empathizing with others.
Remember Emotional Intelligence is an Ongoing Process
Emotional intelligence is not something that you attempt to improve once, and then completely let go of it. It is an ongoing process, just like an individual continues to learn new things in life; emotional intelligence continues to improve with our experiences and understanding of emotion and behaviour. You cannot talk yourself into feeling, you can only experience your senses on a body level. Practices such as yoga or Pilates can help you access your body and enhance your EQ.