10 Simple Ways to Practice Emotional Intelligence
Practicing Emotional Intelligence doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are ten simple ways of showing up with Emotional Intelligence:
- Notice how you are feeling and label it. Is it anger or annoyance? Are you feeling serene or is it ecstasy? When we label our emotions, they have less power over us. Naming an emotion means using the cognitive part of our brain, which helps us shift from reacting blindly to thinking things through. Think of it in terms of a map. To successfully navigate your journey, you will need to know where you are and where you’d like to go.
- Separate the stimulus from the cause. Someone didn’t show up on time? Sure, that is the stimulus. But what really made you feel annoyed? Perhaps you were wanting assurance that your time would be respected? Once you are aware of the needs behind the feelings, you can strategize better to attain positive outcomes.
- Stop classifying emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Emotions aren’t good or bad. They are data about our needs. When you feel something unpleasant, ask yourself: What am I feeling? What message is this emotion giving me?
- Identify a recurring pattern in your life. Ask for feedback from a trusted person: what is something about me that is obvious to others but I can’t see clearly?
- Do the Rose/Thorn/Bud everyday. Identify what was pleasant (Rose), what was unpleasant (Thorn) and what you are looking forward to (Bud).
- Learn to see with your eyes. When something bothers you, our brains tend to come up with a narrative. When this happens, it will be hard to see clearly. Ask yourself: what really happened? For example, your brain might say ‘he ignored me’. Seeing with your eyes is acknowledging that the other person did not wave back at you. Did the person really ignore you or was something else going on for them? Test your assumptions.
- Ask yourself often: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me now? Taking a pause allows us the space to respond rather than react.
- Connection before correction. Unless the other person feels heard, it will be difficult for them to hear our point of view. Instead of playing the ‘Who is Right Game’, listening to underlying feelings and needs can help us resolve differences peacefully.
- Emotions tend to draw our attention to the short-run. As a result, we might end up acting in ways that take us further away from our desired outcomes. A good question to ask ourselves often is: what do I really want? Once we are clear about our needs, we can then come up with different strategies to meet those needs.
- Define your values and keep revisiting them everyday. Whenever you act in alignment with your values, congratulate yourself. On days when you fail to do so, remind yourself that there is another opportunity to show up in a way that is aligned with the kind of person you wish to be. Rather than being blown by winds of circumstances, becoming aware of our values can help us lead our life with integrity and purpose.
Which one will you practice today?