How are your people skills?
Are you aware of when someone may be happy, upset, or nervous? Can you tell when you are feeling sad, excited, scared, or filled with joy?
Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognize our own and others’ emotions, label feelings, know the difference between particular feelings, and use this information to direct our thinking and behavior.
Having high emotional intelligence helps us in all areas of our lives. Why? Because humans are relational and we appreciate when others’ notice our emotional experience.
Basic emotional intelligence skills are developed when you learn to be aware of yourself and others by tuning into your emotions and the emotions of others. Once you are aware of the emotions, process them by thinking through where that emotion is coming from and what do to with it. Care about others, their experiences, and their emotions. Talk to a real person, in-person. It’s difficult to be really, really mad at a person when you are looking into their eyes.
Some ways to increase emotional intelligence:
Process your feelings and experiences through journaling.
As you write freely, you become more aware of yourself and your experiences.
Step into another person’s shoes by thinking or journaling about what they might be going through. Try to see things from more than just your own perspective. Gain empathy towards others by hearing their story. Ask people about their perspective and experiences.
Learn the names of various emotions.
Get a feelings wheel or list of feelings and download it to your phone to look at whenever you need to label an emotion.
Link to Feelings Wheel from The Gottman Institute: https://cdn.gottman.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Gottman-Institute_The-Feeling-Wheel_v2.pdf
Or download it here:
Take it to the next level by naming the thought that accompanies that emotion.
Thoughts and feelings are generally tied together. If you are having a feeling, there is usually a thought that accompanies it. Such as feeling scared and thinking you should turn the lights on or thinking you are not safe.
If you are having a thought, there is usually a feeling that accompanies it. Such as thinking you cannot wait to eat pizza tonight and feeling excited.
Are you experiencing your emotions in your body?
The answer is yes. Begin to notice how your body feels when you experience various emotions. When you are scared, does your heart race or do you get that feeling like a pit in your stomach? Can you feel the tears gathering in your eyes before you even cry when you are starting to feel sad? When you are angry, do your palms sweat or cheeks flush? Do you have butterflies in your stomach when you are excited? How about the feeling of being completely relaxed in your muscles when you feel calm? Notice the emotional experience in your body.
Process emotions, thoughts, both yours and others.
It can take a moment to process information. Give yourself permission to pause for ten seconds. You do not have to respond to someone immediately. Take three really deep breaths by breathing in for a count of three, holding the breath for three counts, and breathing out for three counts. Repeat this at least two more times. Pausing gives your brain a chance to catch up before reacting. Ever heard the phrase, “think before you act” or “think before you speak”? That is really good advice. Ask yourself: what am I feeling? What might (another person) be feeling? What thoughts do I have about these feelings? Do I need to ask that other person what they are feeling to see if my assumption was correct?
You have ownership over your life.
You can choose how you respond to any given situation. Try the suggestions in this post to increase your emotional intelligence. Focus on what you can control and experience the freedom that accompanies that mindset.
Thank you for reading!
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