From your workplace, relationships with friends, family and even the strangers you meet on the line at your favorite coffee shop, it is important that you have total control over your emotions. Emotional intelligence is a skill that we rarely talk about, but is also very important. In this article, you would learn the behaviors that you would adopt to help improve emotional intelligence.

Behaviors that helps improve emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s). (Wikipedia)

In several books, emotional intelligence is also labelled as emotional intelligence (EI),  emotional quotient (EQ)  and emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ).

Several researches on the effect of emotional intelligence in the work place shows that employees with high emotional intelligence are more productive and improve the bottom line of the company significantly.

Similarly, in personal relationships where the partners have high emotional intelligence, there are more likely to solve problems and last longer in the relationship. You would be able to empathize with your partner and have serious conversations without escalating it.

You don’t have to worry on whether you have low or high emotional intelligence. I have a compiled this list of over 22 behaviours that you can adopt to help improve emotional intelligence.

1. Keep Track of Your Feelings

How many times during the day do you stop everything you are doing and just take a deep breath?

Most of the day we are busy and live a hectic lifestyle. It is very easy to lose track of your feelings and emotions. It is important to center ourselves at least once in 2 hours.

Centering yourself is quite easy, all you need to do is perform some easy breathing exercises. You can perform a quick and effective exercise in 60 seconds. Breathing exercises would help relax your nerves and give you better control of your emotions.

Mindful balanced breathing exercises

Source: Flow and Grow Kids Yoga

2. Understand what Triggers your Emotions

While learning how to improve emotional intelligence, you should also try to understand the kind of things that triggers your emotions.

When you are conscious of what can get you angry, it would be easier for you to avoid such instances. You would also know how to react when faced with situations that would normally make you uncomfortable since you already prepared for it.

What pushes your buttons

3. Respond Instead of Reacting During Conflict 

It is very normal to face instances of conflict as you go about your daily tasks. It is also normal to have outbursts of anger during conflict, but it isn’t the best approach.

Emotional intelligent people make an effort to stay calm during times of crisis. They ensure that they do not act impulsively.

An emotional intelligent individual understands that the main goal during conflict is finding a suitable resolution for both parties. So all their actions and emotions are geared toward reaching this goal in an amicable manner.

4. Be Responsible For your Feelings 

You have to accept that you are in charge of your feelings. Your emotions and behavior comes directly from you. It is not hereditary. The moment you accept that and stop blaming others for your action or reactions, you are a step closer to becoming more emotionally intelligent.

In charge of your emotions

5. Celebrate the Positive Moments 

People who have and relish positive moments are more resilient, have better relationships at work and at home, and lastly face their problems with a more optimistic outlook.

Even in time of distress, remembering positive times can help improve your mood and get you back to working on a solution to your problems.

6. Improve your Listening Skills

An emotional intelligent individual listens to understand instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. Before speaking they ensure that they understand what message the person they are in conversation with is trying to relay.

Not only do they listen to words, they are also pay attention to the non verbal aspects of the conversation.

Improve emotional intelligence

This allows the listener to respond adequately. It also shows that you respect the speaker.

7. Do Not Ignore Negative Moments 

The same you you celebrate positive moments, in the same vain do not ignore the negatives. Reflecting on the negative moments would help you deal with similar situations better in the future.

The key here is not to dwell too long on negative moments because this can lead to depression.

You should just see where you made mistakes that led you to that point and learn the valuable lessons to prepare you for future.

8. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Before we go on with this guide to help you improve emotional intelligence, understand that everything takes time.

Building emotional intelligence is a lifetime process and you would continue to develop and grow each day. They would be times when your emotions might overwhelm you, it’s okay. Just keep moving on and improving on yourself daily.

9. Be Motivated

Emotional intelligent people are self motivated. They set goals and are always determined to achieve those goals.

Improve emotional intelligence : stay motivated

10. Look at Yourself Objectively

This might be quite difficult for you to do on your own. Majority of the time we would be bias in the analysis of ourselves and characters.

You would need the input of your friends and family. Ask them what they think your weaknesses are. Write them down and work on improving them.

Compare what they tell you and the perception that you already have about yourself. This way you know what areas to improve.

Additional reading:

11. Take Criticism Well

An important behaviour to develop that can help improve emotional intelligence is learning how to take criticism well.

People with high emotional intelligence would try to understand where the critique is coming from instead of getting angry or offended immediately. After this, they find constructive ways to find a solution to these issues.

They see constructive criticisms as an avenue to improve on themselves.

How To take criticism well

Source: WSJ

12. Empathize With Others

One key characteristic of emotional intelligent people is that they know how to show empathy towards others.

You have to understand that empathy shows emotional strength instead of weakness. Empathy allows you to treat others with respect even when you do not agree with them.

It allows you to understand others well even when you have differing opinions. Empathy is the doorway to basic human interaction.

Show empathy to improve emotional intelligence

13. Improve Your Leadership Skills

Emotional intelligent people have developed their leadership skills tremendously. They have high standards and goals that they have set for themselves and also serve as a source of inspiration for others.

They take initiative, have good decision making skills and are highly productive.

Ways to improve leadership skills

Source: Irish Jobs

14. Be Approachable 

To build emotional intelligence, you have be social and approachable.  Having great intrapersonal skills is very important.

People who are approachable smile a lot and have good verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

15. Know your Stressors

Know the things that stresses you out and take a proactive step to reduce or entirely get rid of these stressors where it is possible.

Additional Reading: An In depth Guide And Overview of Effective Stress Management

If you know that going to work without eating in the morning destablizes you, make an effort to wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast before going to work.

Is stress killing you?

An important stressor that most people don’t realize is lack of sleep. Inadequate sleep can have tremendous effects on your emotions.

Effect of sleep on emotions

Source: American Psychological Association 

Additional reading: The Art of Sleeping Better For Maximum Productivity

Do the following things to de-stress on a regular basis.

Improve emotional intelligence by de-stress

Source: DeStressMonday

16. Create a Positive Environment

Creating a positive environment for yourself not only gives you the opportunity to thrive and grow, it can also be contagious to people around you.

These are ways you can create a positive work environment:

17. Keep a Diary

A diary is a good way to keep track of things that occurred during the day. Documenting your activities during the day would help you highlight what you are doing, your emotional state and also pinpoint areas that gives you problems.

You would also be able to keep track of trends, understand your stressors better and improve the quality of your life in the process.

18. Trust Your Intuition 

Whenever you are unsure of what path to follow, the best bet is usually to follow your intuition.

Take this steps to listen to your intuition:

Source: Lonerwolf

19. Maintain and Stick to your Schedule 

It is important that you keep a schedule and also stick to it. A daily schedule would keep you productive, efficient and more organized.  You can make use of a notebook, planner or an app.

20. Eat right

You might not have thought of this, but what you eat have a significant effect on your emotions. Try eating right and maintain a balanced diet.

How to eat clean

Source: Heart.org

21. Set Personal Goals

It is important to set both short and long term personal goals. Make sure the goals you set for yourself are S.M.AR.T goals.

Improve emotional intelligence

Source: FitnesPal

22.Practice Leaving Your Comfort Zone 

Beautiful things happen when you learn to leave your comfort zone. The biggest barrier that stops you from reaching your potential is fear.

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