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How To Develop Emotional Intelligence & Why It Matters

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

How to develop emotional intelligence (EI) is a critical skill that influences various aspects of our lives, including personal and professional relationships. It's something I've worked on mindfully over the years, learning from many coaches, mentors, and therapists along the way. Back in my teens and early 20s, I had lower emotional intelligence, which led to abrasiveness, strong opinions, and outbursts of frustration and anger. Over time, I've become more calm and collected, and I attribute this growth to developing my emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence involves understanding, managing, and effectively expressing our emotions. It consists of five primary components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence leads to better decision-making, improved relationships, increased self-awareness, and overall well-being. It can also boost your career, as individuals with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to navigate workplace challenges and communicate effectively with colleagues.

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Be self-aware

- Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. - Practice mindfulness, journaling, and self-reflection. - Schedule regular check-ins with yourself throughout the day to assess your emotional state. - Ask for feedback from trusted friends, family, or colleagues to gain insights into your emotional patterns and blind spots.

Learn to self-regulate

- Identify your triggers and practice self-control. - Develop healthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress and emotional challenges more effectively. - Practice deep breathing or mindfulness techniques to calm yourself during emotionally charged moments. - Create a list of activities that help you de-stress and incorporate them into your daily routine.

Show empathy

- Practice active listening and putting yourself in others' shoes. - Engage in volunteering or community work to expand your perspective and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. - Practice compassion by understanding and sharing the feelings of others, allowing you to connect more deeply and build stronger relationships.

Build social skills

- Master effective communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. - Participate in group activities, clubs, or workshops to practice your social skills in different settings. - Learn and practice assertiveness techniques to communicate your needs and boundaries effectively while respecting others'.

Final word

Developing emotional intelligence is a lifelong journey that can significantly impact your personal and professional life. By following the tips outlined above, you'll be well on your way to becoming more self-aware, empathetic, and socially adept, leading to improved relationships and overall well-being.

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