3 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence or EQ can be defined as the ability to identify and manage our emotions and the emotions of others.  And although EQ may sound like a skillset that has more to do with our personal relationships than our careers, research indicates that isn't the case.  By and large, studies have shown that emotional intelligence is a better indicator of success than intelligence and relevant experience.

Having said that, you may be wondering how you can develop this skill if you don't feel that it comes naturally to you.  Fortunately, there are ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Body's Signals.  For people who have a hard time discerning their feelings, body cues can be especially useful.  Notice when your muscles feel tight, you have “butterflies” in your stomach, or your palms begin to sweat.  These are all important indicators of how you're feeling emotionally.

  2. Ask Yourself “How?” And “Why?”  Check in with yourself throughout the day by periodically asking yourself how you feel and why you feel that way.  This is a good opportunity to notice your feelings rather than trying to suppress or deny them.

  3. Take Responsibility for How You Feel.  This can be a challenge even for people who typically have a high EQ.  Rather than attributing your feelings to others, own them and acknowledge that you are responsible for how you feel.  Although many people find this concept difficult to accept, it's easier if you think about how differently people respond to being cut off in traffic.  Whereas some people might be inclined to shrug and think, “That person must really be in a hurry,” other people might begin yelling and honking their horns repeatedly.  As you can see, a bad driver isn't responsible for a person's feeling of rage—if the driver was, then we'd all experience road rage when we were driving rather than just some of us.  By owning your feelings, your ability to manage them will improve, ultimately increasing your EQ.