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5 Tips to Develop and Improve Emotional Intelligence

by Nongirly
A teenager is sitting on a blanket outdoors

You might be asking yourself, “What is emotional intelligence?” No, it doesn’t mean that you are smart but highly emotional. Emotional intelligence is a measurement of our ability to perceive our own emotions and the emotions of others and manage them acceptably. 

Not everyone understands the importance of emotional intelligence, but it is key to functioning successfully among other people. Whatever stage of life you are in, it is important to improve your emotional intelligence so you can develop better self-awareness and empathy. Here are a few tips to help your emotional intelligence:

Observe How You Feel

Take time to be aware of how you feel in every situation. People often become so busy that they forget to check in with how they are feeling. When you take stock of your emotions and begin to dive down into why you are reacting this way, you will better be able to trust your emotional reactions to situations without feeling like you are overreacting.

When you know what you are feeling, see how that translates into how you act. Do you struggle with lashing out when you feel strong emotion? Your communication and productivity drop when you experience certain emotions. Avoiding those feelings will only make it worse.  

Respond, Don’t React 

Reacting is an unconscious response to an emotional trigger. It becomes a way to express or relieve some of the emotional pressure you are under. Being snappy with your mom for interrupting a frustrating homework session is a reaction, not a response. 

Responding is a process that takes time to learn. You have to observe how you are feeling, then choose to act accordingly instead of reacting blindly. This is where pausing before speaking can help your brain sort out what needs to be said before it comes tumbling out of your mouth.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Emotions

You are responsible for your own feelings. Recognize that those feelings are coming from inside you. You need to take the responsibility for your emotions because that then makes you responsible for your actions in a reaction as well.

Once you have done that, you can see the positive impact it can have on your life. You are not a helpless victim of someone else’s control but someone who chooses how to respond to outside influences. 

Read Literature

If you don’t know how to improve emotional intelligence, read! Reading books with complex characters is a low-risk way to improve emotional intelligence and help you stretch your empathy muscles. Stories from other people’s perspectives help us learn to gain insights into another person’s thoughts and motivations. 

Autobiographies, fiction, and short stories all have complex characters from different backgrounds and cultures that allow us a look into the thoughts and feelings of another person. A basic understanding of how people think allows us to better interact and respond to their actions.

Examine Your Opinions  

Not every situation is as clear-cut as it seems. In a world of hyperconnectivity, it is easy to be surrounded by people who agree with your opinions. Just because people agree with you doesn’t mean you are right. Even if you are right, it doesn’t excuse you from using emotional intelligence and sensitivity.

Examine the situation from all angles. Try to see it from the other person’s perspective, to better understand why they believe what they do. Seeing how other people think can help you learn to be open to new ideas and opinions. 

As you learn and grow in emotional intelligence, you will not only understand others better but yourself as well. Taking time to recognize how you feel and how you want to respond to situations, allows you to interact with the world on your own terms. 

Here at Nongirly, we are building a community of support for moms and their daughters. If you would like to join us, visit our Facebook or visit more of our blog. We are here for every day of life raising strong, confident girls.


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