Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence, and how do I know if I even have any? If you’re like me and had never heard of the idea of EQ until very recently (maybe you’re just discovering it through this blog post) then buckle up; We’re going to take a journey.

Now that you know what emotional intelligence is, do you know how to improve it?

With the basics covered in the previous post, you should have a good idea of what emotional intelligent actually is and where you fall on the radar. If you’re finding yourself failing in some areas, don’t panic, I’ve got you covered. There are many different things you can do to improve your emotional intelligence. You can practice at home, in the workplace or even in public. It’s all about learning to be mindful of your conversations, reading body language and becoming a better listener.

But remember, development is a journey and not a destination. Cut yourself some slack and realise that it’s going to take time in order to get to where you want to be!


Take time to sit with yourself and your emotions.

The 21st century is a busy place! We all lead busy lives both mentally and physically, so it’s all too easy to forget about our emotions. It can be hard to get back in touch with ourselves in that way but it’s paramount that we learn how to reconnect with ourselves if we want to increase our emotional intelligence. One way we can do this is by taking it back to the start and breathing.

I remember sitting in my therapist’s office a few weeks ago, nerves frayed and ready to pack it all in. Briefly I recall talking to her at lightening speed, and with such raw emotion. I honestly don’t know how she was able to keep up. But she did and her response to the whole situation (and many situations since) was “Have you been breathing correctly?”

It came as such a shock to me because I’d never been asked that before by anyone, let alone a therapist. I know the importance of breathing, I’ve practiced breathing through my yoga practice. But when I get into a state of high stress I often forget all that I’ve been taught.

“Yes, well no, but I’ve tried.”

Breathing deeply and mindfully helps us connect to ourselves. It enables us to look deep and grasp at the emotions that might be hiding behind a destructive habit or perpetual busyness.

It might seem silly because we surely all know how to breathe, but the problem is we don’t. Not really. We breathe as an everyday part of life but we don’t take time to inhale deeply, hold and sit with our breath for more than a second.

Next time you have a spare minute in traffic, in the office or at home take the time to practice 4-7-8 breathing. Better yet, set a timer for a few times a day and when that timer goes off, stop, breathe and have a conversation with your emotions.

Bounce back after!

Struggles come and go. Sometimes more for some than others. It’s not the challenges themselves that matter but how we react to them. It either sets you up for success or can send you spiraling into a meltdown.

It’s no secret that positive thinking will take your far but how do we do that when everything seems to be falling down around us? It’s not easy, and chances are you’ve heard it all before but in order to stay positive you need to look after yourself.

Difficult times call for a lot of your physical, emotional and mental energy, and if you don’t have enough reserves in stock you could end running on empty. Looking after yourself means self-care even on a minimal level. Make sure you sleep enough, eat enough, drink enough, connect with others and even take the time to be exercised. Even if it’s just a few moments alone while you walk to the shop.

Once you’ve mastered these and have enough reserves to last, it’s time to stomp out the negatively before or as it arrives on your doorstep. Thinking negatively breeds more and more until you are drowning. Thinking positively does not make everything alright, but it stops the downward spiral.

Check out the following posts for more information on things you can do to help kick start a positive mindset;

Self-Care

Morning mood boosters.

Learn to manage negative emotions!

When you’re able to reduce and manage your negative emotions, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed according to Ashley Stahl over at Forbes. For people like me who have problems identifying their feelings, much less managing them, this can be difficult.

In order to teach ourselves to be one with emotions, we need to learn to step back from the situation. In recent months I’ve become somewhat of a diplomat, choosing to look at the why’s behind emotions and actions, opposed to jumping to conclusions right away. Up until lately, I was also getting pretty good at stopping a negative thought or feeling midway, choosing instead to tell myself something different.

A lot of this practice comes down to mindfulness in all walks of life in order to gain a better perspective on things.

Know your triggers!

This is so important not just for emotional intelligence, but for anyone who may be going through mental illness. Know what sets you off and either avoid it or learn to reduce it. For me it comes down to avoiding all harmful social media that might trigger Anorexia in my brain, or turning my work phone off during holidays and weekends to avoid looking at potentially stressful emails.

I’ve also recently taken to opening any work related emails while in company so I can easily talk it over if panic follows, which it quite often does.

Communicate mindfully!

Be aware of how you communicate with people. It’s not just about verbal communication but non-verbal as well! Make an effort to actively listen to people, maintain eye contact and be aware of body language.

I’m perpetually anxious so every word that comes out of my mouth is second-guessed. I even monitor my body language so as not to come across too weak or too strong. It’s not a bad way to be, but it’s also not good and I need to find some middle ground.

However, for some of us word vomit and listening to others are a problem. Instead of tripping over your words or coming across too strong, be mindful of the vocabulary that you’re using. If someone has ticked you off put yourself in their shoes. Did they really mean it that way, or have you taken it the wrong way? Maybe they aren’t the best communicator and just don’t know how to better present themselves. It’s not your fault, it’s theirs.

Z.Hereford over at Essential Life Skills goes in depth about the importance of good communication skills in the workplace. These not only are effective in a work environment, but in all walks of life!


111 comments

  1. This was a really informative and helpful blog post. Thank you for sharing your suggestions to grow!

    Lauren x

  2. Today’s in-demand skills are increasingly technical in nature. A set of skills that help us recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions as well as recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.

  3. A brilliant and important post. As an intuitive soul, I always assumed that I had naturally high EQ. What I hadn’t taken into account, was how my anxiety issues were leading to self sabotage and causing me to question or go against my gut. Such an important and complex topic! Thank you.

  4. How do I wish emotional intelligence was taught in school too! I feel like these 5 ways are going to definitely help me, especially when it comes to realising what the triggers are! Thank you for sharing this Chloe x

  5. Thank you for the good post and we are glad you enjoyed the article. This is a incredible post which contains supportive tips to improve one’s Emotional Intelligence.

    Emotional Intelligence is highly valued in today’s work environments, particularly as we should team up to achieve common goals.

    Thank you for the sharing again! Good day!

  6. Good one! Yes, Emotional intelligence is the ability to tap into your emotions and use them to make your life better.

  7. Love all of these tips! I absolutely agree with learning how to manage negative emotions. Not knowing how to will definitely lead to a lot of chaos in your life!

  8. It is wise to take a step back. I recently had to do that because I’ve been feeling annoyed with a friend of mine lately for simply doing things –and I had to step back and ask myself why, and why I’m taking it personally when I honestly think my friend is not doing these things to spite me but to grow herself. I give myself a pat on the back for being able to manage my emotions and correct myself. πŸ™‚

  9. It is good to always work on our health, from physical to mental well-being. These are good points for improving emotional intelligence. All helpful ideas and things we can always be working on.

  10. This is a great post I’ve been through a lot of struggles and like you said. It comes and goes but I don’t do morning mood-boosting though.

  11. Fab post! I feel like I’m pretty emotionally intelligent but I think after a decade of an anxiety disorder, that comes as no surprise because it’s something I’ve been working on for so long! I still slip up sometimes and feel completely out of whack and unconnected and just all over the place but I’ve learned that that’s okay!

  12. These are some really great suggestions to help improve your emotional well-being. Thank you for sharing these help tips to change your life.

    Lauren.

  13. I always thought that because I was an “overly emotional person” I knew how to control my emotions because I felt everything very deeply. But over the years I have come to realize I actually don’t handle my emotions well because I am overloaded. It has been something I have had to work on for the past 2 years figuring out my triggers. This post is amazing for anyone wanting to work on how they handle emotions.

  14. I do feel like knowing what triggers you helps a lot. I know for me it does.

  15. So true! I learned how to breathe correctly through voice lessons but yes like you I get stressed and busy. At the end of the day, I’m rarely doing it! May need to set an alarm to practice breathing correctly again once a day until it becomes second nature. Actively listening is also something I need to practice more!

  16. Fab tips! I hadn’t heard of emotional intelligence before so this was a really interesting read. I definitely think I need to start taking the time to just sit with my emotions and I think breathing like you talked about will really help. Learning to manage negative emotions is so important too! Thank you so much for sharing x

  17. It’s so important to take those few minutes every day. It’s why I love starting my morning with yoga including a reflection/meditation time. And the 4-7-8 breathing helps me out anytime I start to feel any anxiety.

  18. These are all fantastic tips! I think most of us don’t have as much emotional intelligence as we think we do. Love these.

  19. Interesting article. I know about the triggers. I avoid situations as much as I can. Breathing techniques is something I am pondering to adopt. Communication is something I want to improve.

  20. This is an amazing post, I really loved reading it, I didn’t know about Emotional Intelligence before pandemic! I love how you also mentioned 4-7-8 breathing technique which has helped me massively during my panic attacks! I also learnt mindfulness techniques and they also help too, and I’ve written about them on my blog too. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharingxx Penny

  21. Thank you for raising these important points! Knowing your triggers is definitely something that I am and have been working on, my mood relies so heavily on it.

  22. I wish I had learned about EI in highschool too! Or in primary at the very least. It’s so important and not enough people understand it!
    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading.

  23. It does make sense. I remember telling my counselor one time that all of the EI stuff I was learning should be required in a high school course before graduating. The world would be a totally different place!

  24. Thank you! E-Quoo helped me to realise some of the things I shouldn’t and should be saying, if that makes sense. I think we could all do with some EI training.

  25. I am very familiar with emotional intelligence, since I worked on it with a counselor for over 2 years. She taught me everything you have written here. Great post! But I have never heard of E-Quoo. I will be looking it up.

  26. Very nice – knowing your triggers is something everyone should ensure they are aware of – they definitely mask themselves as other things.

  27. I completely agree with the your tips, if your emotional intelligence isn’t controlled properly it can have a huge effect on your mental health. So understanding how to handle negative emotions, how to communicate and what triggers you is vital.

    http://www.tinofara.com/

  28. I completely agree with this post, its so important to have a strong understanding of your emotions, and finding ways to actually control them. These are great tips, thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  29. It’s such a fascinating topic that spans so many areas! I could have included over 20 or maybe 50 ways to increase your emotional intelligence in this but I had to reign myself in. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post πŸ˜€

  30. Triggers and self care really are essential for emotional intelligence (and go hand in hand already!) These are some excellent tips! Great post ????

  31. Fantastic tips. I think understanding emotions is one of the most important things you can do for yourself! Taking the time to learn about them, why you feel certain ways (far beyond surface level) will increase your emotional intelligence so much!

  32. interesting article, thanks for sharing

    best wishes,

    Segilola Salami
    segilolasalami.co.uk/blog

  33. This was really helpful and had some great tips! I think being mindful of how we communicate is so important and breathing!! Being aware of our breath! Loved this!

  34. EQ has become one of my favourite things to talk about on here – so I can tell you that this isn’t the end πŸ˜€

  35. Breathing is a surprisingly hard one! When I get stressed or anxious I tend to hold on to a lot more of my breath than necessary.

  36. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. I really hope these are able to help you deal with your negative emotions, they are horrible little buggers!

  37. Some very helpful ideas here! Figuring out what my triggers are has drastically helped me control my emotions since I no longer choose to participate in situations that trigger me! Thank you for sharing.

  38. I have been struggling with this lately, and this will really help me when dealing with negative emotions. Thank you so much for sharing! πŸ™‚ x

  39. Some really good information here. I often struggle with handling my negative emotions, so applying these tips will help me with that. I should also work on my breathing, but that’s a difficult area to work with as I have severe asthma and have to be really careful with how I breath or else I can trigger a major attack. But I will at least try some deep mindful breathing to see if that works/helps.

  40. Sounds very interesting. I think I am going to look for more information about Emotion intelligence. And yes breathing correctly is so important. Every day I see people who are breathing way too fast (20 times per minute). But it can really help to calm your mind.

    Bettie
    http://www.thewildflowerhippie.com

  41. The email one is something I’ve always done because I hate dealing with emails, messages etc by myself because sometimes they trigger my anxiety. It’s so much easier when there are people around.

    Thank you so much for stopping by Ruth, it’s always a pleasure to read your feedback.

  42. It’s something I find so interesting because it’s so foreign to me. I was never taught about EQ when I was younger, only IQ so I’m learning along with you all πŸ™‚

  43. Thank you πŸ™‚ I’ve managed to stop myself in my tracks when I hear negative thoughts creeping in. It’s a learning curve and a journey, but I’m getting there πŸ™‚

  44. Oh God I’m exactly the same! I overtalk to fill silence or correct a previous statement, and I constantly over think all conversations I have. It’s awful. But I’m learning to slow down my speech, my thinking and learn to listen. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post – thank you πŸ˜€

  45. I still struggle with negative emotions. They tend to raise their heads late at night or while I’m driving for some reasons. That’s when the fear and the tears come. But I’m getting there and learning to allow my emotions to visit, but not outstay their welcome.

  46. I love comments about my layout! It means so much to see that other people like it lol – especially when other bloggers like it! I didn’t want to put too much in but still, there is so much more I could have talked about!

  47. Thank you! Learning and increasing our emotional intelligence is something that we work on daily, and we can never stop improving!

  48. Great post! I think I will have to work on handling negative emotions…but that is a lifelong process πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed reading this!

  49. Some really important core aspects of being human in here – you’ve squeezed a lot into this post whilst it also feels light and easily digestible.
    Great title btw- i really like your titles (What a blogger kind of thing you say ha ha! ???? )

    Thank you!
    Peace and love.
    Spence ????

  50. These are lovely tips. Sometimes taking time to contemplate yourself can lead to you coming away with wonderful new thoughts about yourself.

    Knowing your triggers is so important; it lets you stay in control when someone pushes on one. Negative emotions were something I struggled with for a little bit but, with a little bit of determination, I started telling myself more positive things and found myself happier.

  51. That was a great post. I enjoyed reading it. Very beneficial for any one. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Awesome post! Very informational and well-written. I always appreciate in-depth posts like this. I like what you said about communicating mindfully. I tend to be super anxious about how I come across, too. I feel I may even be over-tuning it because I still have interactions with people where I find out that I came across completely wrong! I also talk too much out of anxiety, when I really want to listen more and be understanding and compassionate. It’s hard to do that when I’m accidentally interrupting people or eagerly trying to show how well I’m listening. Ugh! Facepalm.

  53. Breathing is so important and is something that I’m still working on. Practicing on the yoga mat helps – as does a misspent youth in the wind band (belly breathing is natural for me) and I have no shame is getting into an easy pose and doing some alternate nostril breathing in public.

    I’m working on the basic self care and remembering to drink (crying dehydrates you) and eat.

    Much love to you Nyxie – I adore the advice of having someone around when opening upsetting emails so you can talk it through <3

  54. As usual, you offer in depth and accurate self care advice. Emotional intelligence is so important and I prioritize the influence and nurturing of this in my life and that of my children. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I don’t think many people understand that EQ is something that can be improved, so this will be a helpful article for a lot of people looking to better their self awareness through emotional understanding.

  55. As a society we have been taught to prioritize our academic intelligence, but we often fail to acknowledge how important our emotional intelligence is. You’ve listed some great, actionable suggestions that even those of us who do try to be aware of our EI can use to be more mindful in our efforts. Thank you.

  56. As always, this is a well-researched, insightful piece. I think I particularly need to work on breathing and listening. It’s incredible how we can consider ourselves thoughtful people, but at the tiniest hint of anxiety we don’t hear a word anyone says (well, I’m speaking for myself here, but I assume at least someone else is the same).

    I’m sorry to hear that things are tough and your negative-thought stopping is slipping, but just the fact that you were getting good at it is so wonderful. Sending lots of supportive, internet-hugs.

  57. I actually inboxed this to a couple of family members. Great post reminding us about communicating with one another!!

  58. Don’t worry about not being an expert, all the experts out there were just babies once and they became experts only by the virtue of research. As long as you are researching the topics well you are as good as any expert! Job well done!

  59. I hope it made sense to you and touched on some of the same areas you may have touched on in your project! I always worry that because I’m not an ‘expert’, that it won’t make sense. Thank you for stopping by and showing your support by the way, it really helps πŸ™‚

  60. It’s really made me think a lot about what triggers me, and having that knowledge has helped me navigate life with so much more self-awareness.

  61. Exactly. If you know it’s going to cause you distress and to possibly lose emotional control, then just avoid it or prepare for it in a different way, so you know you’re not going to end up really upset. My anxiety plagues my life too, and although I do try to challenge it, there are just certain situations that I can’t cope with, specifically conflict.

  62. Oh I’m exactly the same! I’m an emotional sponge, in that I absorb the emotions of others or the atmosphere of a room, therefore it’s so hard for me to break away from that and manage myself correctly. But I understand how important it is for someone who may be in a manger position to be able to keep their cool.

  63. These may sound simple tips but they’re actually hard to apply and probably life-changing! “Learn how to manage negative emotions” is the game breaker for me!

  64. I like the “know your triggers” advice a lot. A lot of things scare me, and I have a hard time maneuvering through the world without feeling anxious and overwhelmed, but at the same time, I’ve learned to become aware of how to get through them with the least amount of stress by planning and asking questions rather than running into the situation full force with my eyes shut. It’s not necessary to just throw yourself into a triggering situation if there are ways to cushion the blow.

  65. Great post! I rarely ever think about how my emotional intelligence can impact my day and will definitely be using your breathing tip to help me!

  66. Knowing your triggers is so key because a lot of times people can’t identify them and don’t understand why they’re feeling the way they feel around certain people places or things thanks for sharing this your post are always thoughtful and detailed

  67. Wow, I really enjoyed reading this detailed insightful piece on emotional intelligence. Gramted my mini research project in college was about EQ in university students, it brought back a lot of memories.

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