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How to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence
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How to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence

A woman meditating in yoga clothes

Strengthening your emotional intelligence can help you stay calm in the face of life’s stresses.

Imagine your emotions as the characters in Pixar's beloved animated film Inside Out (which you can watch on Disney+). Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust all play critical roles in your life. The movie showed just how important feelings are and how essential it is to learn how to process emotions by strengthening your emotional intelligence (EI). 

 

Think of it as battle gear, making you more resilient and capable of weathering stressful seasons. Learn more about EI and its life-changing benefits, then find out what you can do to give yours a tune-up.

What’s Emotional Intelligence?

EI refers to one's ability to understand and manage their emotions and those of others. According to the non-profit organization Mental Health America, the five key elements of EI are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Having high EI means you can identify your feelings, recognize their impact, and cope healthily. It also means the capacity to tune into others' emotional states, read social cues, and maintain balanced relationships.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Two friends holding hands while comforting each other.

Emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate their feelings and empathize with others’ experiences, too.

The benefits of emotional intelligence include improved communication, conflict resolution, stress management, mental resilience, and self-confidence. Given these, developing your EI can significantly boost your personal, social, and professional life.

 

Being an effective communicator, efficient problem-solver, and level-headed decision-maker allows you to thrive no matter the situation or context. With high EI, you can easily inspire and motivate others, work comfortably in teams, and safeguard your mental well-being against life's stresses.

How do you know if your EI needs improvement?

You can take an assessment to measure your current EI level. There isn't a singular standardized emotional intelligence test. Still, a few widely used options in psychology exist, with some variations available online. Expert-led magazine Psychology Today offers a free option on their website.

 

Most of these tests are self-report questionnaires, so they have their limitations. After all, individuals often view themselves through a skewed lens, and emotions are challenging to pin down. No test can capture all of your complexities. So, it's best to approach these tests as one of the many ways to understand yourself better.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

A woman writing in a journal.

Self-reflection habits, like journaling, can boost emotional intelligence by helping you work through any situation.

Given the numerous benefits of having strong emotional intelligence skills, it'll always be in your best interest to hone them. Here are a few practical tips for improvement.

1. Make time for honest self-reflection.

The only way to become more self-aware is to sit with your thoughts and feelings, reflecting on them without judgment.

  • Try journaling to help you process difficult, stressful, or uncomfortable situations in a creative and concrete manner.
  • Consider mind-mapping if you're a visual thinker to identify connections between your experiences and how you respond or react to them.
  • Use self-assessment tools, like personality tests, to help you identify key traits and areas for growth.

2. Practice emotional regulation techniques.

These coping techniques can help you manage, control, and experience your emotions healthily, so they don't overwhelm you.

  • Pause and take deep breaths during panic-inducing moments to help quiet your mind, promoting relaxation.
  • Gradually release tension in different muscles whenever you notice yourself tensing. Most people hold stress in their jaw, neck, and shoulders, leading to headaches, body pain, and sleepless nights.
  • Engage in comforting activities, like taking warm baths, stretching, and listening to soothing music. Taking a few minutes to center yourself will always be worth it.

3. Become an active listener.

Active listening means being fully present and engaged in your conversations. In doing so, you gain a deeper understanding of others' emotional state and perspective, allowing you to bond with them more meaningfully. It also helps improve your conflict resolution skills, as you can see varying viewpoints and form objective judgments. Active listening is a gateway to becoming more empathetic and compassionate in your relationships.

4. Seek feedback from trusted peers.

Start a dialogue with friends and family about your areas for improvement. Their perspective can help you see your behaviors, reactions, and communication style in a new light. Periodically checking in with your loved ones about how you affect them daily can also help build empathy. Just be sure you're ready to face constructive criticism and take it as an opportunity for introspection and growth.

5. Look into therapy.

Therapy sessions often require honest self-reflection to make progress, which is crucial for improving EI. Licensed psychiatrists can also help you work through mental health challenges, untangle negative memories, and suggest emotional regulation strategies. Remember, you don't need to be in dire straits to seek help. Anyone who wants a safe space to understand their emotional state with guidance from a professional is welcome to try it.

 

Strengthening your emotional intelligence can lead to personal growth, a thriving social life, and professional success, among other benefits. Use these tips to jumpstart your self-improvement journey and continue looking for resources to help you. Thankfully, the digital world offers endless knowledge. Access everything you need to know about this topic and more with Globe At Home GFiber Plan or GFiber Prepaid. Both are fast, reliable, and made for 24/7 learning.

Vibe check! How does this make you feel?

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