Developing emotional intelligence implies developing a cluster of different skills that help us enhance our mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. In the SESKAT project we have identified 12 suck skills that can help you raise your EQ (Emotional Quotient). Until we release our full training, here are six simple ways that you can follow to develop your affective awareness optimally.
- Identify and recognise negative emotions
The first step is always awareness, so is the case with emotions. To get better at managing your emotions you need to get better at identifying and recognising the type of emotion you are feeling.
Here are a few tricks to help you get better at this:
- When you feel overwhelmed by an emotion don’t react immediately. Take a few moments to identify what you are feeling and even name the emotion you are feeling, in your mind. Taking the time to name your emotion will help you gain clarity and understanding.
- Identify the root cause: Dig deeper to identify what triggered the emotion. You might be surprised by what you discover. Emotions have deep roots that might lead to experiences from the past that you unconsciously compare to the current situation. Think about what might have caused the emotion.
- Practice self-care: Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, or practice some yoga. Taking care of yourself physically can help you manage the emotional overwhelm much easier and will also help to let go of your emotions.
- Journal your feelings: Take a few moments to write down how you’re feeling. Putting your feelings into words can help you gain insight into how to address your emotions. You can do this any time of the day and write about both your current emotions and some more intense emotions you might have felt during the day.
- Talk to someone: Connecting with a friend or family member can help you process your feelings. Having a supportive network will help you gain perspective and make positive changes.
- Evaluate yourself
To get better at understanding others, get better at understanding yourself. To develop E.I., we must learn to assess ourselves objectively and look into our actions from a bird’s eye view. Your first though is rarely the right one when it comes to emotions, challenge them by regularly asking yourself questions like:
- How am I feeling at this moment?
- What thoughts am I having right now?
- What do I need right now?
- What did I want to gain in this situation?
- Did I react appropriately in this situation?
- Did I express myself clearly or was I misunderstood?
- How can I do it differently next time?
- How have I been treating myself lately?
- What can I do to take better care of myself?
- Improve expressing yourself
The best thing we can do with emotions is express them, this not only helps us exteriorise our emotions and consume them but also help people around us to understand us better, create a better connection and stronger bonds with others.
It’s difficult at the start because expressing them might be hurtful or hard to explain what we really think. But with good support and understanding and by asking questions and reflecting on how we express them we get better and better.
The best way to get better at this is by doing and, reflecting on it and repeating over and over. It might seem harsh at first but the benefits will be great once we get better at communicating what we feel.
- Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion can help to reduce feelings of guilt, shame, and self-criticism, as well as anxiety and depression. It can also help to increase self-confidence, motivation, and well-being. Needless to say it is a gateway to increasing your Emotional Intelligence.
Some ways you can increase your self-compassion are:
- Practice self-kindness. Allow yourself to be patient, understanding, and forgiving when you make mistakes or when life throws you curveballs.
- Acknowledge your successes. Make time to celebrate your accomplishments and take note of the positive things you have done.
- Connect with yourself. Take time out to get to know yourself better by reflecting on your experiences and writing in a journal.
- Practice mindfulness. Engage in activities such as meditation or yoga that help you be present in the moment and foster self-awareness.
- Reach out to others. Build supportive relationships by connecting with friends, family, and others who can provide a listening ear and validation.
- Be gentle with yourself. Speak to yourself with compassion and be aware of your inner dialogue.
- Set healthy boundaries. Respect your own needs and feelings by setting firm boundaries and communicating your needs.
- Practice Empathy
Empathy is the power to see the world with others’ eyes.
The best place to start practicing your empathy is at home, with your loved ones. Here are some easy ways you can start practicing your empathy.
- Listen closely to what others say and try to understand their perspective, even if you don’t agree with what they are saying.
- Ask questions and be curious about the experiences of others, your goal is to understand the way they think.
- Remind yourself to be compassionate and non-judgmental.
- Take time to reflect on your own feelings and experiences.
- Read stories, novels, and blogs that help you understand different perspectives.
- Writing letters to yourself as if you were the other person, this will help you understand the others’ experience better.