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12 Ways to Encourage Emotional Intelligence


By Laura Morrissey

High emotional intelligence (the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions, and those of others) is important in our personal relationships. Did you know it also leads to productivity and efficiency at work?

Here are 12 tips for how to improve your emotional intelligence and enjoy the life-enhancing changes that will naturally follow.

  1. Embrace your emotions: As long as you aren't using them in a way that will hurt others, embracing your emotions is a good way to build humility. We have a wide spectrum of emotions, and they are all supposed to be felt. Once embraced, it comes naturally to be patient and kind, as you can identify with and recognize how others may be feeling.

  2. Anticipate karma: Do something good for someone else. Do it just because it will make you feel good. Don't expect anything in return, enjoy the feeling that doing good for others brings. Trust that something good will happen to you later.

  3. Judge less: Or just stop judging. People act in different ways for a reason; we aren't all the same and an explanation is not necessary all the time. Just chill and accept it.

  4. Meditation: Meditation will quiet your mind and rid you of bad feelings. The aim is to eventually reach a higher level of consciousness and inner calm, that can then be projected onto your daily activities. Others may even notice a change in you.

  5. Find an outlet for your emotions: Often the workplace is not the place to be letting your emotions get the better of you. Many jobs require rationality. Workplace efficiency training tools can help here, to let you know more about yourself and others and your personality styles. To stop emotional responses from affecting workplace performance and relationships, find an outlet that will help you use them constructively. Some emotive outlets are physical -- running or yoga are popular -- or try creative outlets such as painting or writing down thoughts and feelings.

  6. Follow your heart and your head: Don't waste time on mistakes that could have been easily prevented by being honest with yourself about what you want and how feasible it is going to be. Don't act on a whim; be considered. As good as it is to recognize emotional responses, don't always act on them; self protection might be needed in the form of taking the time to think rationally.

  7. Take full responsibility: You and only you are responsible for your life. Don't allow a victim mentality to creep into your thought processes.

  8. Ask yourself what you really want: Take a step back and think about what you would really want if life had no restrictions, financial or otherwise. Don't say you don't know. You do. It probably scares you a little, but don't be afraid to admit it to yourself. Making small changes to move in the right directions toward your goals will make you feel more positive each day.

  9. Stop blaming others: Regularly blaming others leads to bitterness. Being bitter means that focusing on past hurts and mistakes of others will encompass your feelings about the present and future. This is pointless and a waste of energy, as the past is gone.

  10. Stop blaming yourself: The reverse of blaming others is bad for you, too. It leads to guilt and possibly anxiety if you're spending too much time feeling down on yourself.

  11. Give yourself permission to succeed: Consciously give yourself permission to accept the good things in life. By no means get complacent, but acknowledge when you have done well. So many of us go through life never doing good things for ourselves. Start doing so, you deserve to.

  12. Face up to assumptions: It might be subconsciously, but we continually form assumptions about life, be it situations or relationships. Most of these are negative and stop us from doing something or behaving in a certain way, leaving us feeling disempowered. These beliefs can lead to a tentative life of anticipating failure. Change this by facing up to your assumptions and challenging them; failure in the past doesn't mean failure now or in the future.

To make these kind of changes in your life it will help if you really 'get you' and help you even more if you make an attempt to be understanding to others. This is easier said than done and you might find yourself asking 'BUT WHY?' when someone does something seemingly inexplicable.

A simple tool can be used to help you with improving understanding: the Everything DiSC. DiSC will analyze you and your colleagues or the people you spend the most time and provide detail on your style of personality. This deeper understanding is useful in implementing the steps outlined above.

Emotional intelligence can help to improve your performance at work, can be good for your mental health and makes for success for those in leadership roles, therefore it is worth adopting even just a small number of these traits.

Image credit: Everything DiSC

Laura Morrissey is a writer for Everything Disc UK, a Performance Management Tool for assessing human behavior in the corporate world. She loves to engage leaders and professionals globally through her motivational and leadership articles.

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