Increasing your emotional intelligence
Even as the world gets more technical and wired, the softer skill of emotional intelligence or EQ is more important than ever. During October’s Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month, we wanted to focus on the relationship between our emotions, minds and bodies while taking time to highlight the importance of emotional intelligence and healthy emotional development.
If someone has a high EQ, they are able to recognize their own emotions as well as those of others and use this to guide their behavior and adapt well to various environments. EQ supports strong relationships and overall wellness while reducing stress and awkward situations.
The five key elements of emotional intelligence are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, motivation and relationship skills. As with most things in life, we must develop these skills within our self before we can focus on others.
“Strong emotional intelligence and awareness can help with everything from building lasting friendships to parenting to influencing others in work and personal settings,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “Whether this comes naturally to you or not, you can boost your emotional awareness and connections to pave the way for greater personal and professional success.”
To strengthen your EQ muscles, consider the following tips:
- Learn to listen and to respond rather than react. Rather than just waiting for a break in the conversation so you can jump in with your two cents, practice active listening to better connect with others. And next time you experience a conflict, rather than reacting immediately with anger or frustration, take a deep breath and focus on resolution over winning.
- Empathize with others. Empathy is a sign of awareness, strength and connection. It can help you relate to and better understand others. The more you recognize the verbal and non-verbal cues other people express, the more you will see where they are coming from and be able to walk a mile in their shoes.
- Ask for feedback (and be willing to hear it). Requesting and receiving honest feedback is not always easy, but it can help you determine where you need to grow and where you are already succeeding. Get feedback on how you handle conflict, your emotional intelligence and adaptability, and suggestions for future growth.
- Recognize and reduce stressors. What makes your hair stand on end and your shoulders climb up towards your ears? When you’re more aware of what stresses you out, you can proactively aim to reduce it.
And don’t forget to breathe! Deep breaths can help you slow down, release tension and focus on what’s most important.