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10 Tips to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Daily Life

Hey there! Ever heard of Emotional Intelligence (EI), or the slightly fancier term Emotional Quotient (EQ)? 

Put in the simplest of ways, EI is the ability to identify, understand, and manage your own emotions, and the responses of others. 

It means having self-awareness to process your emotions and know how to respond in an appropriate way to your surroundings. Having good EI skills will help you to nurture meaningful relationships with others in both personal and professional settings. 

Ever been in situations where you felt unable to process your own feelings, or not knowing how to respond to others? Honing your EI skills will help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself as well as build empathy so you can understand others. 

In turn, this leads to increased success in many areas of your life, including: 

  • Better communication and conflict resolution skills
  • Improved teamwork and leadership abilities
  • Stronger and more meaningful relationships
  • Build a more positive work environment
  • Adapt and adjust to new situations positively 

In fact, EI skills are so crucial, it’s hugely important for parents to start nurturing them in their children from a young age. Research shows that EI skills even have a direct impact on improved academic performance! 

Feel like you need lots of help in this area? Don’t worry! EI skills can be developed and polished through mindful practice. Here’s how to practise the 5 key components of EI: 

  1. Self-Awareness

This is the ability to identify and understand your emotions, as well as how your mood and behaviour are affecting others. You can recognise your strengths and weaknesses, and identify which areas to improve in. 

Practice tips: 

    1. Journal - Journaling is a wonderful way to process your thoughts. Keep a daily log of your emotional responses to events, so you can identify your triggers, as well as how you responded to them.  
    2. Take a pause - In an emotionally-heightened situation, take a moment to assess all the factors instead of reacting instantly. Examine your emotions, and think of a way to respond that would constructively help the situation. 
  1. Self-Regulation 

In essence, self-regulation means you can control your emotional responses and the ways you express them. For example, when you are experiencing strong emotions like frustration, anger, or embarrassment, you’re able to control the way you react, as well as calm yourself down. It also means being able to control your impulses. When others are having a hard time, you are also able to use your skills to offer help. 

Practice tips: 

    1. Work on calming techniques - Find methods that work to relax you, such as deep breathing, when you need a physical and mental break. This helps you to keep your calm when things get difficult, and lets your mind refocus itself so you can respond in a constructive way.  
    2. Reframe negative thoughts - When you’re experiencing a negative emotional situation, examine your thoughts and ask yourself if they are really true. Reframe them in a positive way, that helps you take steps to move forward and improve. 
  1. Internal Motivation

This means your ability to set and achieve your goals. People who are highly self-motivated can overcome obstacles without giving up, take the lead in acquiring new skills, and seek ways to improve themselves. 

Practice tips: 

    1. Work on self-discipline - Decide on a goal you want to achieve this year, and make it a habit to work on it for a set period of time every day. Strong self-discipline will keep you on track even when you’re “not in the mood”. 
    2. Identify your focus areas: What makes you happy and content? Whether it’s a thriving career, or a rich family life, decide what keeps your soul nourished. Your goals, both short and long-term, should prioritise what keeps you going. 
  1. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognise, understand and appreciate how others feel. You cannot be a good communicator, nor have effective relationships without strong empathy skills. You understand that people are different, and therefore communicate differently. This helps you interact with them in a way that helps you achieve mutual goals while fostering positive collaboration. 

Practice tips: 

    1. Be curious - Get curious about the people around you - strike up conversations with strangers, get to know them better, and observe with an open mind. Become exposed to different world views and lifestyles without imposing your personal judgement or opinions on them. 
    2. Focus on similarities, not differences - Choose to see the similarities between you and the other person. This fosters better understanding of their individuality, unique qualities, as well as their motivations. Be conscious of your internal biases, and make an effort to separate these biases from your judgement of this person. 
  1. Social skills

Social skills are your ability to manage relationships effectively in multiple areas of your life. These incorporate strong communication, teamwork, and collaboration skills. They help you build and maintain meaningful relationships with others, and are a critical part of navigating life. 

Practice tips: 

    1. Show appreciation: Freely express gratitude when someone helps you, whether it’s verbally, or through actions. This helps you maintain a connection to them, and shows them you value them. 
    2. Practise active listening: Use non-verbal cues, such as eye contact or nodding, to show you’re engaged in the conversation. Follow up with questions that show you’re actively listening to them and engaged in the subject. 

With practice and self-discipline, you’ll slowly but surely strengthen your EI skills, enabling you to build meaningful relationships that will benefit you throughout your life. 

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