You must have heard of Emotional Intelligence, right?

It sounds explanatory anyway, but if you haven’t heard of it before, that’s totally fine. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I also became more familiar with the term. Then I also took some classes in this aspect during my post-grad.

So many people lack emotional intelligence and may not even be aware of it. So I thought it was a good idea to share here on the blog because it’s a must-have life skill.

Emotional Intelligence “EI” or “EQ” is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It also entails that you understand and are able to read to an extent, the emotions of others.

EQ affects your performance at work, social health, mental health, and general relationships. So it’s really of importance that you learn to increase your EQ.

Research over the years points to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest.

Here are ways to be in better control of your emotions.

1. Be specific in explaining or stating how you feel

Not everyone will understand you and your personality. Not everyone will know the right way to approach you or the right thing to say at the right time, but having a rich emotional vocabulary sure helps. It helps you handle any event. When you feel hurt or offended, before reacting irrationally, try to tell yourself how you feel. Then calm down.

Just don’t say, “I feel hurt”. Be specific.

Are you anxious or irritated? Do you feel degraded or belittled? Do you feel insulted or embarrassed?

Being sure of how affected your emotions are, will help you make the right decision and use the right approach to handle the situation. So be specific with your emotional words and you will know the right response.

2. Understand your weakness and strengths

Again, everyone is structured differently, and we all have shortcomings in one way or the other. By now, I want to believe that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, at least to a certain extent.

Most often than not, if you are attacked with your weakness, this may be hurtful and painful to you. This offends your ego and may make you lose your temper. How you go about handling this situation will determine your respect in the workplace.

Will you go about throwing the first punch? Will you smile and walk out? Will you be confrontational?

I have a friend who says that her best way to handle offensive words is to laugh at her pains. This sounded weird to me initially, but she went on to explain further.

She explained that she knew her shortcoming and when anyone made her feel uncomfortable about anything, she would make a joke out of it. This helped with handling her emotions after all, what was left to say? She had already laughed it off and that business was long closed.

The question now is, what if you don’t know your weakness, maybe in the workplace? The answer is quite simple, lean on your present strengths and make sure you work on your identified weak sides as soon as possible.

For example, if you are criticized for a job not done properly, you don’t need to make excuses, just point out the good aspects of the job to your boss and guarantee that you will re-do the job within the deadline.

3. Empathize with yourself and others

Empathy is essential to raising your emotional intelligence. Increasing your ability to empathize with others will help you gain their support when you need it, and prevent conflicts in your professional and personal life.

A typical example I’ve heard of in this regards goes;

You go over to your mom’s house and she gives you a plate of salty food. The food is just too salty, but you know that your mom makes really tasty meals on most days.

It will be wrong to scream and maybe throw the food aside. A better approach may be to force yourself to finish up the food (if you can), or thank her for the meal, have a few spoons, and keep the rest aside. You’d go on to recount this experience with her some other day. She probably had a bad day.

Show empathy to yourself as well; however, it doesn’t always have to be about you, think of others too and why they might have reacted in some way: even at work.

Furthermore, stress could affect your emotional intelligence, so it’ll be good to learn ways to handle stress.

Read: 11 Tips for Managing Stress

Emotional intelligence is a life skill and involves a lot of practice. It’s really important because it affects every aspect of your life: work or not. Also, realizing the aspects of your life that are going well also helps with increasing your EQ because it helps even out your emotions. So remember to remain thankful and positive.

How do you increase your emotional intelligence in your personal and professional life? Share other ideas you may have in the comment section below.

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