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Boost Your Emotional Intelligence

Simple Steps to Becoming More Emotionally Intelligent

There are two main types of intelligence: cognitive and emotional intelligence. The former describes a person's ability to learn, reason, problem solve and think logically, whereas the latter describes a person's ability to understand, manage and express their emotions .

Reading, completing puzzles and continuing your education can help improve your cognitive intelligence or IQ. But these activities won't impact your emotional intelligence, or EQ. Here are four things you can do to increase your emotional intelligence.

1. Ask for feedback

One of the main components of emotional intelligence is self-awareness, which is the ability to identify your emotions and understand the impact these emotions have on others. It's hard to objectively analyze how well you respond to conflict or express yourself, which is why it's best to ask others for feedback.

Reach out to trusted friends, family members and coworkers to find out how they would rate your emotional intelligence. Encourage them to share honest feedback so you can identify areas that you need to improve upon to become more emotionally intelligent.

2. Challenge your preconceptions

Emotionally intelligent people strive to understand other people's thoughts and feelings. However, it can be hard to show empathy to others if you have preconceived notions about what they are experiencing. To overcome this obstacle, it's important to challenge your preconceptions.

For example, you may assume that a teenager who isn't doing well in school is lazy or irresponsible. But in reality, the teenager is not performing well because of a learning disorder. In this situation, your preconceived notions may prevent you from empathizing with the teenager about their struggle to cope with a learning disorder.

Try to put your assumptions about others aside. Challenging your preconceptions will make it easier for you to show empathy and increase your EQ.

3. Keep a diary

Get in the habit of writing in a diary or journal at the end of each day . Single out several things that happened to you during the day and jot them down.  It doesn't matter how insignificant the event may seem — include anything that sticks out in your mind. Then, describe how each of these events in your day made you feel.

Did it make you happy when a coworker complimented your new sweater? Were you frustrated when you got a parking ticket? Putting these thoughts down on paper will help you identify your emotions, learn how you react to certain stressors and discover what makes you happy. This exercise is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your emotions, which is the key to improving your emotional intelligence.

4. Dive into a good book

Studies have shown that reading fictional stories can actually improve empathy. This is because a good fictional story will introduce you to complex characters with various traits, emotions and motivations. Seeing the world through the eyes of these characters will help you develop the skills you need to demonstrate more empathy to others in the real world.

Improving your emotional intelligence may take time, but it's well worth the effort.

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!