8 tips to improve emotional intelligence

The benefits of emotional intelligence impact human endeavor. Here are some tools to enhance this self-awareness in your life.

Last update: October 02, 2021

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand and regulate one's own emotions and those of others. The proper development of this capacity guarantees greater psychological well-being. Therefore, improving emotional intelligence helps us maintain healthy relationships.

Unlike IQ, which remains relatively constant throughout life, emotional intelligence can be strengthened with practice. In this sense, there are studies that have shown that it is possible to improve it through a series of programs and proposals.

Next, we will summarize some of the keys that must be executed to achieve this. We are going to put them into practice.

1. Identify the emotion behind your actions

Most people live disconnected from their emotions. They are so busy with daily responsibilities that they never stop to think about how they feel. That is why it is quite common to meet people in a bad mood who do not know why they are like this.

In this way, to improve emotional intelligence it is essential that you pay attention to your emotional life. When something makes you act or feel a certain way, wait a moment and reflect on the emotion behind it. To do this, start naming your emotions.

At first it is very likely that you will have a hard time identifying why you act or feel in a certain way. But don't despair. It is normal that it happens. As you focus on your emotions, you will find the answers more easily.

2. Expand your emotional vocabulary

So you can identify the correct emotion it is important that you learn the baggage of emotions that you may experience. According to some explanatory models, there are 6 basic emotions: joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust. From them all the others are created.

In order to understand your emotions, it is essential that the names you give them are specific and consistent. Avoid saying "I'm angry" when the words that best describe your emotional state would be the following: disappointed, indignant or ashamed.

That is why having a vocabulary rich in emotions will help you describe your feelings. Not knowing the complex range of emotions limits understanding of what you are experiencing, creating the feeling that you do not know what is happening to you.

Being able to name emotions is a great step towards self-knowledge, which then leads to emotional management.

3. Deepen your emotional analysis

Another important aspect that you should take into account when identifying your emotions is that, in general, behind an emotion others are hidden. Imagine that you don't like a coworker; You don't really know why, and some of their actions make you angry.

The most apparent and obvious thing is that you feel angry, but if you remain angry, we will not be doing anything. Ideally, you should dig deep to find out what is behind that emotion.

It is likely that you will discover that what you feel is something more complex, like jealousy or envy. This will allow you to approach and handle the situation from another perspective.

4. Avoid judging emotions as good or bad

Most people tend to judge positive emotions (joy, excitement, pleasure) as good and negative emotions (fear, anger, sadness) as bad. In this way, they tend to evade and suppress the latter.

Nevertheless, all negative emotions have a function. For example, fear warns you of threats; anger pushes you towards defense when your rights are violated; sadness prepares you to overcome a loss.

Therefore, fighting them will cause you more problems. Instead, you must understand, address and feel them. This way you will be more aware of yourself and your surroundings.

5. Pay attention to your body language

Paying attention to body language is a great tool for identifying our own emotions and those of others. In this case, postural changes and physiological reactions provide us with clues of what is happening inside people.

For example, crossing your arms can be a sign of anger, because the person feels attacked. Flushing on the face can indicate anger or embarrassment. Clenching your fists is a sign of anger.

Having said that, We advise you to begin to identify the physiological and gestural patterns of each emotional state. Thus, you will not only notice how you are feeling at a certain moment, but you will also recognize what others may be feeling.

6. Control your thoughts

Feelings are the result of emotion and what you think of that emotion. In this sense, emotions are automatic and we cannot avoid them, but we can modify our thoughts about them.

In this way, the next time you experience an emotion, pay attention to the thoughts that arise around it. From there, decide what thought you want to have and how you want to behave.

7. Ask yourself what feelings others are experiencing.

Another way to improve emotional intelligence is wondering what feelings may be behind the reactions of others. We tend to make the mistake of judging only the reaction and ignore the background emotional state. This prevents us from understanding people.

8. Express your emotions assertively

Broadly, assertiveness is defined as the ability to express adequately, without hostility or aggressiveness, our emotions and thoughts to others. This implies not being silent, but also not going over the top of the others. This is the best way to publicize our priorities, our preferences and manage conflicts.

Emotional intelligence is a path to improvement that allows us to deny something without sounding aggressive or running over the other.

Why is it important to improve emotional intelligence?

Improving emotional intelligence has a number of benefits. Some of them are the following:

  • Strengthens self-knowledge and decision-making.
  • Boost job performance.
  • Avoid stress and reduce anxiety.
  • Improve interpersonal relationships.

Now that you know some of the benefits of boosting your emotional intelligence, what are you waiting for to start it up? Improving is within everyone's reach.