5 Small Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence Every Day

October 10, 2019

Are you working to improve your emotional intelligence (EI) every day?

If not, now is the time to start; after all, studies have shown that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs. 

Building your emotional intelligence isn’t just about being successful in the workplace – taking the time to develop a deeper connection with your emotions, an understanding that helps you react more calmly, and empathy, are skills you can apply to every area of your life.

Below are 5 small things you can do every day to improve your emotional intelligence:

1. Take time to pause

If you find yourself starting to respond emotionally to a situation, step away and take a few moments to “pause” how you’re feeling. 

Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel ready to come back and move forward.

2. Apply the “3-second” rule

If you have a tendency to “shoot from the hip” when you’re experiencing a strong emotion, take a moment to ask yourself the following three questions:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me right now?

Asking yourself these questions can help reframe the situation and prevent you from reacting on how you’re feeling in the moment. 

On the flip side, if you have a tendency to keep to yourself instead of contributing to the discussion, you can ask yourself:

  • Will I regret not speaking up about this later?

By taking 3 seconds to re-assess how you’re reacting emotionally, you can add to discussions and decisions in productive and emotionally balanced ways.

3. Adjust your volume

We have a tendency to get louder as we become more anxious and emotionally involved, which can eclipse the meaning of what we’re saying and make others feel defensive.

By maintaining an even, level tone we can keep situations from escalating into full-blown arguments. Speaking calmly also leaves room for other people to feel comfortable expressing themselves, which leads to more inclusive dialogues overall.

4. Ask and reflect

At the end of each week, sit down with a trusted friend or colleague and ask these questions:

  • How do my moods affect my thoughts and decision-making?
  • What traits do I find bothersome in other people? Why?
  • Do I find it difficult to admit when I’m wrong? Why or why not?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Taking time to regularly reflect on these questions will help you develop a deeper understanding of your attitudes, habits, and behaviors. 

5. Train your habits

Investing in emotional intelligence training can go a long way towards understanding and formalizing the habits that can lead to successful outcomes. We regularly work 1-1 with professionals just like you, so get in touch and ask us about our coaching programs. 

If you’re in Saskatoon, you can also sign up for our upcoming in-person course Emotional Intelligence: How to Get More of It with EI Advantage cofounder Hayley Hesseln, PhD, CEC. Register now!