Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, as well as those of others. It’s a skill that helps you navigate challenging relationships and thrive in stressful situations. Emotional intelligence is also known as EQ, which stands for “emotional quotient.” People with high emotional intelligence are able to identify and manage their own emotions as well as recognize when others around them might be feeling something different than they are. This is not the same thing as IQ (intelligence quotient), which measures your ability to think logically and solve problems. Rather, it’s a measure of how well you can recognize, understand, and manage your own feelings and the feelings of others.
What is the Measure of a High EQ?
There is no standard way to measure your EQ, but there are plenty of self-tests that can give you a good idea of where you stand. The ability to read other people’s emotions and respond to them appropriately is beneficial in many situations. For example, empathy is one of the components of emotional intelligence. If someone you know has recently lost a loved one, you might be able to understand what they are feeling and help them cope with their grief. If your emotional intelligence level is low, you might not understand how they feel or know what to say to help them. If your EQ is high, you can respond appropriately when someone is upset. Some researchers have developed scales for measuring emotional intelligence. One example is the MSCEIT, which is used by many researchers and has been translated into many languages. The MSCEIT measures four different components of emotional intelligence:
- Awareness of emotions: how accurately you label your own emotions and how accurately you label other people’s emotions
- Understanding the cause of your own emotions: how accurately you can explain why you feel the way you do about a particular situation and how accurately you can explain why other people feel the way they do about the same situation
- Managing your own emotions: how well you can regulate your emotions so they don’t interfere with your ability to think clearly and how well you can use your emotions to motivate you to take action
- Managing the emotions of others: how well you can help other people regulate their emotions so they don’t interfere with their ability to think clearly and how well you can help other people use their emotions to motivate them to take action
How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
The good news is that you can improve your emotional intelligence. All it takes is the awareness that this is a skill you can build and then taking small, consistent steps toward increasing your EQ. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Get to know yourself – To start building your emotional intelligence, you first need to get to know yourself. Pay attention to how you feel and why you feel that way. What are the triggers that make you feel a certain way? When do you notice that you are feeling an extreme emotion?
- Learn to listen – If you want to increase your emotional intelligence, you need to be able to listen to what other people are feeling. This means that you need to be able to shut off your own thoughts and emotions and focus on the person in front of you.
- Be curious – Curiosity is a great way to learn more about yourself and others. When you’re curious about what makes people tick, you’re using your emotional intelligence to understand the world around you. This leads to more empathy and compassion for others.
- Practice, practice, practice – You won’t become proficient at something overnight. It takes time to improve any skill, and emotional intelligence is no exception. The more you practice using your EQ, the more natural and instinctive it will become.
Boost Your Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. If you don’t know what you’re feeling, you can’t accurately interpret other people’s emotions or respond to them appropriately. If you want to increase your EQ, you first need to work on increasing your self-awareness. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Keep a journal – Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your emotions and figure out why you are feeling the way you do. You can journal about your past, your present life experiences, or your hopes and dreams for the future.
- Practice mindfulness – If you’ve never done a mindfulness exercise, now is the time to start. Mindfulness exercises are designed to help you get in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
- Meditate – Many people confuse meditation with mindfulness, but they are two separate things. Meditation is a great way to become more self-aware.
Develop Your Social Skills
Social skills are essential for successful relationships. They also play a big role in increasing your emotional intelligence. If you struggle with social skills, you might struggle with your EQ as well. Here are a few ways to improve your social skills:
- Join a club or take a class – Joining a club or taking a class where you have to interact with others can be a great way to practice your social skills. You may even make a new friend or two along the way.
- Start a conversation with a stranger – You can start a conversation with a stranger almost anywhere. All you need to do is find a way to start the conversation and keep it going. You may be surprised by how many people will be willing to talk to you.
- Ask for feedback – If you work with a team or are in a partnership, you can ask someone to provide you with constructive feedback about how you are doing as a team member or a partner.
Learn to Manage Your Own Feelings
Our feelings are very real, but we don’t have to be controlled by them. If you want to increase your emotional intelligence, you need to learn how to manage your feelings. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Create a list of your feelings – Make a list of all the different feelings you have experienced over the course of a few weeks. It can be helpful to keep track of your feelings in a journal or on a computer. This can help you better understand what feelings are typical for you and what situations make you feel certain emotions.
- Identify the cause of your feelings – Sometimes you can’t find a specific cause of your feelings because they are so deeply rooted in your experiences. If this happens to you, you can use your feelings to guide you toward healthier thoughts. For example, if you feel anxious, you can use that emotion to help you take a closer look at what’s going on in your life right now.
- Find healthy ways to express your feelings – You don’t need to keep your feelings bottled up. You can express your feelings in healthy ways so they don’t build up and cause you harm.
Emotional intelligence is a key part of healthy relationships and successful careers. If you want to improve your EQ, you first need to be aware that this is something you can improve. Then you need to work on increasing your self-awareness, developing your social skills, and learning to manage your own feelings. When you feel more in control of your emotions and are able to read others more accurately, you will be better prepared to handle any situation that comes your way.