How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? {Infographic}

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You {Infographic}

Emotional intelligence is an asset that’s not just beneficial, but essential, to every aspect of your life. Tuning that intelligence to its optimum potential is a powerful way to help you get the most of you, as well as to make your work and personal relationships more fulfilling and untroubled.

Get it right, and you will become more efficient, productive, and satisfied, while you will be better equipped to help those around you to lead more pleasant lives and achieve what you want to as a team. Get it wrong, and you are likely to find your temper running short, your colleagues, friends, and partner incommunicative – and you won’t have much of a clue why.

So what exactly is emotional intelligence, and how do you know if you’ve got it?

Emotional intelligence can be thought of as having three main components. The first is your ability to perceive and understand emotions. It means that you are able to slow down and put a label on the way you are feeling, but also that you are able to sense when those around you are angry, sad, or frustrated.

The second element is the ability to manage emotions. That means that you don’t explode when you sense yourself getting angry, and that you’re able to negotiate with others when their emotions are fraught, and to help them remain in self-control.

The third part of emotional intelligence – the ninja level – is the ability to utilize your emotions. This is the act of figuring out how you feel and harnessing that emotion to make better use of your energy.

If you find that often you don’t realize that you’ve upset someone before it’s too late – maybe you handed some excess work to an already-stressed colleague, or made a joke about your partner which made them cry instead of laugh – it is likely you are not too hot at perceiving and understanding emotions. You can teach yourself to recognize your own emotions by making a habit of setting aside time for introspection. This may be a case of meditating, of keeping a diary, or just of sitting somewhere quiet with your thoughts and going over the events of the day gone by. Think about moments when your emotions have not been under control or they’ve been unpleasant, and try to trace the causes back in their full complexity – is it to do with your physical situation, your insecurities, or a pattern at work or home that is getting you down?

When you learn more about yourself in this way, it becomes easier to recognize feelings and their causes in others. Try to teach yourself to observe and listen to those around you, rather than to put yourself at the centre of each situation or treating each interaction as a mere transaction. Think about how it feels to be that person in that situation.

What do you do with your anger when it swells? If you’re the type to bravely repress those feelings, you’re not actually doing a good job of regulating your emotions. Repressed emotions will resurface unpredictably if not properly dealt with, and the underlying situation that caused them is likely to continue unchecked. Likewise, if your attitude towards an unhappy neighbor is that they should just shut up and get on with it, then you’re not helping them to manage their emotions.

You might instead offer to talk things through or recommend going for a walk to burn off that angry energy. And indeed, these are solutions that you can apply to yourself if you are the one unsure what to do with all those feelings. If you are by yourself, try splashing cold water on your face. It’s a great way to reboot your emotions and snap yourself back into a suitable state from which to objectively appraise a situation. If the scene involves others, remind yourself to take things steadily and take a deep breath before responding to whatever it is that is provoking you. Count to ten if it helps, before you reply to your colleague or friend.

If you’re already on it regarding these solutions, then you’re ready to progress to the next level of emotional intelligence – which is learning to use your emotions for your own good. We’ve all felt that immeasurable energy that wells up inside us when we’re angry or upset. Learning to redirect that energy in a positive way takes self-knowledge, discipline, and focus. But think about applying this to other people, too. If you detect that a colleague lacks confidence in a task they are doing, great – that shows your emotional intelligence. You can utilize their lack of confidence by turning their task into a lesson. Help them to focus not so much on the results, as on the practical skills they acquire on the path to achieving those results.

This new guide to emotional intelligence makes for a handy reference whenever you feel your own or somebody else’s emotions are out of control. Practice these tips in your daily life, and you will soon come to recognize a greater power over your own destiny.

Editorial Team
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