• 05/31/2023

8 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence

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People often think of grades when they picture their intelligence. You can measure your learning ability with a report card, but book smarts aren’t the only skills you’ll need to succeed. Interpersonal skills require a strong foundation of emotional intelligence. Read this guide to learn how to improve your emotional intelligence and enjoy more fulfilling relationships.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Intelligence developed in a school setting involves your ability to understand, evaluate and recall information. Emotional intelligence (EI) works similarly but with your inner self.

People will a high EI level know how to identify their feelings, find the root causes and regulate their emotional state. They can often sense and help others manage their feelings too, due to their higher awareness of how someone’s mental well-being works.

How to Gauge Your Emotional Intelligence

Your EI is a complex part of your mental processing. A quiz can help you gauge where you stand by reflecting on things like how well you can identify someone’s emotional body language and what is underneath your discomfort.

There are numerous reasons why someone might have a lower EI than others. You might not have had role models with an equipped emotional toolbox, so no one demonstrated skills like processing feelings. You may also have gone through life experiences that make emotional changes an uncomfortable event you’d rather avoid.

No matter what’s behind your EI abilities, there shouldn’t be any judgment for how those abilities came to be. Instead, focus on what you’d like to improve and how those improvements will benefit your life.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Start the inner work to improve your emotional intelligence by using these tips. With guidance and some expert help, you’ll enjoy more profound relationships and a greater sense of self-connectedness.

1. Learn to Recognize Your Emotions

You need to become confident in recognizing your emotions to grow with them. Meditating when a feeling becomes overwhelming and asking yourself what purpose that emotion serves can be a great way to learn how to do that.

People also start journaling about their emotions when they don’t feel concrete enough to name. Start using beginner journaling prompts to practice self-reflection for five minutes each morning or evening. Once you feel comfortable writing your honest thoughts, you can move onto emotional processing prompts that ask questions like:

  • What purpose does this emotion serve?
  • Why am I trying to avoid this emotion?
  • What does this emotion need me to do?

2. Read About Emotional Processing

Improving your emotional intelligence is challenging if you don’t know how to process what you feel. Trauma can make people stifle their emotions and have years of built-up feelings waiting to topple. Processing them will clear the path to personal growth. You can partner with a therapist to dive into your mental health or read helpful books like these to get immediate guidance:

3. Attend Therapy Sessions

Therapists know how to help people who want to improve their EI. Look for local therapists specializing in emotional processing with techniques like talk therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or flash therapy. They’ll pinpoint the best techniques for your situation based on your history and help you understand what’s holding you back from the personal growth you desire.

4. Ask for Feedback

You’ll practice empathy and compassion as you learn to wield more emotional intelligence. It can take time to learn how to convey those things. Ask for feedback from loved ones about how you handle emotional situations or respond when your emotions rise. They’ll encourage you and gently show where you can improve so your growth remains constant.

5. Embrace Inner Honesty

People have to be honest about how they’re feeling and reacting to situations if they want greater emotional intelligence. That will include moments when you recognize how you could have done something better.

Sometimes it’s easier to shy away from mistakes but embrace those moments as opportunities for growth. Once you acknowledge bad emotional habits or tendencies, you can take responsibility and move forward understanding how to avoid that situation again.

6. Accept Occasional Steps Back

No matter what you want to learn, you will always make the occasional mistake on the path to greatness. No one can live perfectly, especially when it comes to emotional growth.

You’ve spent a lifetime developing the emotional intelligence needed to survive tough times and overcome barriers. Retraining those neural pathways won’t happen overnight. Cultivating a strong sense of emotional intelligence about yourself and others takes time.

Practice recognizing emotional needs through active listening and giving yourself grace when you don’t always handle things perfectly.

7. Proactively Create Trigger Responses

Emotional triggers can also prevent people from developing better EI. If your mind used anger to protect you from abusive people in your past, even minor confrontations in healthy relationships could trigger a wave of anger because your brain has an automatic trauma response.

By naming your triggers, you can overcome those responses to have more emotional intelligence. Self-reflection journaling and therapy will help you identify and gradually acknowledge your triggers during and before they activate. You’ll understand what happens after that activation and better wield your responses because you know how your brain works.

8. Improve External Factors

External factors in your life could keep you from self-growth. Consider if your sleep routine gives you enough energy to experience stable emotional processing. Your diet might not provide the vitamins and nutrients your brain needs for emotional stability. You could also have a routine or social life that doesn’t support your well-being due to toxic individuals or high-stress routines.

Changing your lifestyle to meet these needs could give you greater self-growth success. Ensure you get these foundational necessities alongside any health advice given by your doctor:

  • A full night’s sleep each night
  • A healthy diet with essentials like vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy carbs
  • A social life with people who want the best for you

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence Today

Use this guide to improve your emotional intelligence this year. With time and practice, you’ll have a greater sense of self and an improved ability to care for the emotional needs of others. As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t get discouraged, you’ll foster better relationships because you can connect with people on a foundational level.

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