5 Skills to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

The secret to a happy life?

There’s none.

But there may be one vital component in it – and it’s called being emotionally intelligent.

Not being convinced enough? Here, let’s crunch some numbers together.

Plenty of surveys and studies claim that up to 80-85% of those who thrive both in their personal and professional lives are emotionally intelligent.

But you know what?

Your emotional intelligence isn’t an inborn talent. Same as intuition, it’s a skill that can be grown and developed over time.

And yet, no one has taught us how. Let’s make up for that now.

Stick with me here to find out what’s the big deal with EQ and what you can do to improve your emotional intelligence.

What’s the big deal with EQ?

Plenty of people aren’t aware of the true importance of EQ simply because no one talks about it.

We’re not taught EQ in schools – you’re praised for your ability to solve equations or speak fluent Spanish within a year.

But no one says anything about knowing how to express anger properly – or how to push yourself through a bad day like a champ.

I don’t think that happens on purpose though. Chances are, your parents and teachers probably didn’t know much about their own EQ either.

So why is EQ important – it just means you’re smart, right?

Well, being intelligent may mean you’re smart.

However, being intelligent is not the same as being emotionally intelligent.

Being emotionally intelligent means you’re doing an awesome job in recognizing and managing both your own emotions and the emotions of others.

By no chance does that mean ignoring your emotions – or limiting your given right to feel.

Being emotionally intelligent simply means you know how to get the very best of your emotions – and use them to your own advantage. You control your emotions – and not the other way around.

Where to start working on your emotional intelligence?

The best part about your EQ?

You can always develop it more and more and more – even if you’re just starting out.

Here are some of the skills you need to acquire to help you improve your emotional intelligence!

1) Self-awareness

The first step in managing your own emotions successfully? Learn to recognize them and find out how they affect you and your life.

To put most simply, self-awareness is nothing more than just being honest with yourself.

But there’s one crucial thing here: don’t be harsh with yourself. Don’t group your traits into strengths and flaws – just observe them as neutrally as possible.

The point is to acknowledge the wide spectrum of emotions – not to judge yourself for feeling them.  

For me, the easiest way to practice self-awareness was to journal for a while. For example, I’d write what I’d be doing that day and how I felt – and then look back to connect the dots between certain events and my mood.

Find whatever works best for you and stick with that.  

2) Empathy

Next on the throne to self-awareness sits Empathy – one of the most important components of emotional intelligence.

Empathy is being able to show kindness, compassion. Understand others – know what it feels like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes without going the actual mile.

It doesn’t take much to be empathic – simply practice being a nice person. Be kind to others – smile, ask about their day, don’t judge. That’s all.

Oh, and do you know what’s the most difficult thing about empathy?

Being empathic towards the most important person in your life – you.

It’s somewhat easy to be nice to strangers on the street – but it takes a lot of effort to be nice to yourself. So quiet down your ego. Shower yourself with kindness – and treat yourself the same way you’d treat others.

I promise you, that’s a good enough start.

3) Express negativity

I’d love to tell you that you won’t have to ever again feel miserable in your life by growing your EQ but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

But one surprising thing happens once you improve your emotional intelligence: you realize negativity is just another part of life.

Yin and yang, know what I mean?  

It’s okay to experience a negative emotion. Better yet, start thinking of them simply as emotions without the adjective – they’re just another feeling on the spectrum.

What matters is knowing how to express negativity. Deal with it. Get it out of the system – and make some room for happiness.

4) Recognize emotions in others

Remember how we were all shocked to hear about Robin Williams? But he looked so happy and full of life!

That shows just how much we, as a society, are lacking the ability to recognize the true emotions in others.

Don’t be so quick to judge. Sometimes, people who’re always angry are just hurt. Those who are always smiling in front of others may be fighting depression at home. And those with anxiety might be just scared of getting it wrong.

Remember this:

You’re seeing only the tip of the iceberg in every single person you cross paths with.

There’s so much more going under the surface.

If you want to read others better, look at the little cues they give out – the look in their eyes, the way they play with their hands. Sometimes, body language speaks louder than words.

5) Developing resilience

If you do a basic Google search, you’ll find hundreds of success stories out there.

Do you know what’s the one thing all of those successful people have in common?

It’s easy: they never gave up, not even when failing hard. Instead, they picked up, brushed off and kept going.

Oprah was told she’s not good enough to work on TV. Walt Disney was told he’s not creative enough. J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishing houses at first.

But would you know them today if it weren’t for their persistence? Of course not!

So build your own resilience. Adjust – be flexible at whatever life throws at you. It’s okay, you can still make it work.

Drop your perfectionism. Failures do not define your worth – they’re just very important life lessons the Universe doesn’t want you to skip.

Do you regularly take the time to work on your EQ? What do you do to improve your emotional intelligence?

Share with me in the comments and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!