How to Improve Emotional Intelligence
The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Music Credits: Poly Action, “Ten Hundred Years”
Personal Growth and Emotional Intelligence
Personal growth can mean anything to anyone, really. Personal Growth is an individual, couples, or family experience. Personal growth is essential in your life goals, relationships, career, and social interactions. But the one thing that is common across the personal growth board is the need for emotional intelligence. Let’s talk about how to improve emotional intelligence so that you can truly experience that personal growth you’re longing for.
Emotional Intelligence: The Catalyst in the Growth Process
Emotional intelligence is a catalyst in the growth process and can be supported by LMFTs, online dating coaches, counselors, and other professionals who are trained to help different people in different situations.
That being said, let’s talk about what emotional intelligence is, how to improve it, and why it is so important that you do so.
Growing Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is often the most important (and most often overlooked) “x-factor” when it comes to creating the life you want in many different domains. If you’ve been feeling stuck lately, though it may not seem directly related, focusing on improving emotional intelligence can lead to dramatic changes.
As an online marriage counselor, I know that the success of a relationship or marriage, for example, often depends on the emotional intelligence of both partners more than just about anything else. Any of the online career counselors on our team would tell you that the level of ease or difficulty to get ahead in your career often has roots in emotional intelligence.
Similarly, any of our life coaches or therapists highlight the fact that your sense of happiness and satisfaction with your life typically has much more to do with your emotional intelligence than it does your specific circumstances.
Similarly, we know that your emotional resilience, ability to solve problems, or persevere in the face of obstacles is directly related to your emotional intelligence skills.
If you can understand yourself, manage your feelings, and be sensitive to those of others, all things are possible.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Since emotional intelligence is such a crucially important factor in, basically, everything related to creating love, happiness, and success, it’s something we often talk about in our therapy and coaching sessions here at Growing Self. We find that, by focusing on emotional intelligence training, the things our clients hope to achieve begin to happen.
Good, evidence-based marriage counseling or relationship coaching nearly always includes an emotional intelligence training component. When couples learn how to manage their feelings and be sensitive to those of their partners, their relationships feel less fraught.
Focusing on emotional intelligence skills training in therapy or life coaching helps our clients feel better able to stay even-keeled, no matter what life throws at them.
Our career counselors nearly always incorporate at least some emotional intelligence training in order to help their clients navigate challenging professional situations confidently. And, most importantly, no matter what situation you’re in, when you work on increasing your emotional intelligence skills, you will feel more able to make progress toward your most precious personal goals — in literally any domain of life.
This is powerful, important stuff! So, today, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m going to be teaching you some simple strategies to increase your emotional intelligence too.
Strategies to Improve Emotional Intelligence
In this episode, I talk about the foundations of emotional intelligence and offer some simple (not easy, but simple) ideas for how to increase it ASAP. Tune in to the full episode to learn some actionable strategies to build your emotional intelligence, including:
- Find out why fostering emotional intelligence starts with you.
- Discover how you can fit the four components of emotional intelligence together.
- Learn how you can figure out your feelings.
- Understand the importance of gaining outside feedback in identifying emotional blindspots.
- Learn different forms of emotional intelligence assessments.
- Recognize the importance of insights of other people in your emotions, such as an online emotional intelligence coach.
- Become aware of the importance of self-regulation in different aspects of life.
By the end of this episode I hope you have some clear takeaways to help you grow in this all-important area. You can listen to “How to Increase Emotional Intelligence” on Spotify, or on Apple Podcasts. (Don’t forget to subscribe to the show while you’re there!)
If you’re more of a reader you can scroll down to find some of the key takeaways, and access the full transcript of this emotional intelligence podcast. There’s a player at the bottom too.
Thank you for exploring the all-important topic of how to improve emotional intelligence with me today!
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence: Episode Highlights
The Role of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. You can’t improve emotional intelligence without having a good relationship with yourself first. It all starts with you.
Here are three characteristics of a person with high emotional intelligence:
- They feel happier and more optimistic.
- They can effectively navigate moments when they don’t feel okay.
- They take guidance from their emotions and use their experiences to foster a deeper connection with their values and needs.
Moreover, organizational psychology research shows that emotional intelligence plays a massive role in creating leadership characteristics and positive organizational environments.
“Your success in your career, as well as your satisfaction in your career, is much more highly dependent on your level of emotional intelligence than it is your skill set or what you know, with very few exceptions.”
As a result, people with the highest emotional intelligence reap more successful outcomes by working effectively. This characteristic also makes them feel more satisfied with their jobs – leading to empowerment in the workplace.
Four Components of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is not one of these things that you either have or you don’t. While it is more innate with some people, you can develop and figure it out.
Before knowing how to develop your emotional intelligence, it’s first essential to understand its components.
- Self-management and regulation
- Social awareness
- Effective and healthy management of relationships
First Component: Developing Self-Awareness
Remember: “The heart of emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions.” It is the foundation of how you can respond effectively to various situations and stay in a good place.
People with high emotional intelligence have the basic understanding that all life events are neutral. Without this level of awareness, you may tend to believe your feelings are linked to a particular situation.
So when trying to identify and figure out how your feel, ask yourself the following:
- Why am I having this feeling?
- How does it make sense?
- What is it attached to?
How Lack of Self-Awareness Manifests in Low Emotional Intelligence
The second foundation of emotional intelligence is figuring out how you work.
- For instance, some people don’t have the language for emotions. They are often unaware of their emotions. But upon seeking therapy and coaching on emotional intelligence, they show up as highly anxious. Hence, they either make very emotional decisions or respond to situations without the emotional components.
- On the flip side, some people are highly emotional and tend to be reactive. They tend to lash out or make emotional decisions without fully understanding the whole picture. Because of these emotionally charged reactions, they may be unable to identify how they really think and feel.
It’s important to know and acknowledge that not all feelings are helpful, healthy, productive, or even worth listening to.
It’s essential to get outside feedback. Only then can you reach the point of being able to name these emotional experiences, and this is where emotional intelligence coaching comes in.
Emotional Intelligence Assessment
There are many ways to increase your emotional intelligence, such as taking online EI training in quiz form. But this is dependent on self-reporting, so there’s no way to know how valid and reliable it is.
A more robust way of emotional intelligence assessment is the 360 assessment called the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI). It is often used in workplaces and organizations. Here, both you and your peers will rate yourself on emotional intelligence competencies.
Having your peers also assess your emotional intelligence is important. According to research, there is a huge discrepancy between your perception of your own levels of emotional intelligence and how they perceive your EI. Many people have the tendency to perceive themselves as being more emotionally intelligent than they actually are.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence through CBT
In addition to outside feedback and partnership, you can also improve your emotional intelligence through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises. Here are some helpful strategies to do this:
- Mindfulness skills:
This is the ability to be in the present moment. It is how you can notice what is happening in your inner experience without getting lost in the thoughts.
- Feelings wheel:
This is something you can print out and use as a reference when you feel a particular emotion. It will help you parse out more granular nuances of feelings toward developing a vocabulary for your internal experience.
- Having a vocabulary for your feelings:
Our experience is defined by language. Hence, you cannot identify a feeling within yourself if you don’t have a name for it.
You can learn cognitive strategies to increase emotional intelligence through evidence-based life coaching, through cognitive behavioral therapy, and through online cognitive behavioral classes like our Happiness Class.
Second Component: Self-Management and Regulation
Self-management and regulation are not just about knowing how to feel that but also about changing how you feel to a large degree. However, note that this does NOT mean that you are obliterating or pushing away your emotions — this is not about feeling happy all the time.
Here is the difference between emotionally intelligent people and people with low emotional intelligence skills:
- High emotional intelligence: They are comfortable with feeling unhappy, and they’re able to embrace dark emotions without needing to feel differently.
- Low emotional intelligence: They will frantically scramble away from any negative emotions.
These dark emotions are something you can take wisdom and guidance from. However, this is all an experiential growth process that has many different layers. It will involve developing cognition behaviors and applying specific practices that will help make you feel better. Read, “It’s okay to cry” for more on this topic.
The mind-emotion connection and mind-body connection are intrinsic in this process. Hence, regulating yourself links back to everything that is a part of you; it all goes back to having a mastery of your emotions.
Third Component: Social Awareness
“You cannot have empathy for another human unless you yourself understand what emotions feel like.”
As humans, we’re created from the time we’re born through mirroring. It means you have to reflect on what’s happening with others to fully understand them. It’s about noticing people’s energetic changes, understanding what makes them tick, and respecting boundaries.
In essence, social awareness is setting yourself aside to understand what other people need. It means recognizing that there’s much more going on under the surface of everyone with whom we interact.
Fourth Component: Relationship Management
Finally, the cherry on top of emotional intelligence is relationship management. It refers to communicating with other people in a meaningful, safe, effective, and respectful way. It’s about being collaborative in solving problems and being responsive.
The issue is many people feel worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. Nonetheless, know that people will feel your good intentions regardless of what you say.
Most importantly, being able to regulate yourself is the critical component to being able to communicate well. Knowing how to create a positive interaction with your relationships is the core of relationship management.
Resources for How to Improve Emotional Intelligence:
- Love, Happiness & Success Podcast: Shadow Work
- Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI)
- Feelings Wheel
- Online Emotional Intelligence Coaching
If you feel like you could benefit from private emotional intelligence training to support your success in your relationships, career, or overall wellness — we’re here for you. Schedule your first, free consultation with an emotional intelligence coach on our team to get started.
Emotional intelligence is a foundational skill that will help you navigate life wiser and better. What were your favorite insights? Feel free to share your thoughts (or a follow up question for Dr. Lisa) by leaving a comment down below.
Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence
The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Music Credits: Poly Action, “Ten Hundred Years”
Free, Expert Advice — For You.
Subscribe To The Love, Happiness, and Success Podcast
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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