What is EI? How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

September 14, 2021

We’ve all seen them: people who stay composed and calm under pressure; people who handle unfamiliar social situations with grace and ease; the people who understand your perspective from the get-go.

The reason these people are so self-assured and calm is because they have well-developed emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand yourself and your motivations, and to apply that knowledge to help you react to changing situations with grace and ease.

Research suggests that high EI is associated with a variety of positive benefits, including improved mental health and relationships, improved academic performance, and increased success and job satisfaction for example.

What Are the Components of Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

The term “emotional intelligence” was popularized by Daniel Goleman in the book  “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”.

The five components he references in the book are:


Being self-aware means you can see the patterns in your own behaviours and motivations. You understand how your emotions and actions impact those around you, and you can name your emotions when they come up and understand why you’re feeling the way you do.


Being able to self-regulate means that you can control your emotional reactions in proportion to any given circumstance.

It also means that you know how to control your impulses, and that you think before you act and consider the consequences of your decisions. 

This skill is essential for managing tension, conflict, and difficult situations or a changing environment. 


Being empathic means that you maintain a healthy level of self-interest without being self-centered.

Emotionally, you can “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” and can draw from your life experiences to imagine what someone else might be going through and empathize with them even if you haven’t shared the exact same experience.


Being intrinsically motivated means you are constantly looking for ways to improve yourself. You’re driven to succeed and have a well-defined idea of what “success” looks like to you.

Motivation also means that you’re inspired to accomplish goals because you recognize that it helps you grow as a person, versus being motivated by money, fame, or recognition.

Social Skills 

With well-developed social skills, you can work as part of a team and are aware of their needs in conversations and when resolving conflicts.

When engaged in conversations you actively listen, make eye contact, practice verbal communication skills, and demonstrate open and welcoming body language. You’re able to develop a rapport with others and lead when necessary. 

Start developing your EI by registering for our next EQi 2.0 certification!

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

Some people are more in tune with their emotions, but the good news is that your emotional skills can be developed and strengthened! 

Here are a few ways you can get started today:

Build Self Awareness

Set aside time each day to write down your thoughts in a journal. This practice allows you to reflect on your triggers and emotions brought about by a wide range of situations.  

Journaling gives you the chance to read back over your thoughts from time to time and “study” your habits and behaviours.

Practice Self-Regulation

One way to practice self-regulation is to do breathing exercises regularly, especially during times of conflict or when you’re feeling anxious or stressed by something happening in your life.

Try to practice accepting emotions that you feel and to verbalize what you’re feeling — either out loud, to a trusted friend or mentor, or in your journal. Try to frame challenges as opportunities for growth and frame your emotions around that conclusion.

Build Motivation

When you decide your goals, identify “why” such goals are important and identify your motivations. To help you achieve your goals, dissect the overall goal into bite-size steps to make it feel less overwhelming. 

When you complete a milestone or achieve your goals, make sure to take time to celebrate and reflect on how you got to where you are.

Practice Empathy

We can build empathy when we put ourselves in other people’s shoes, so make a point to start paying attention to your surroundings. 

The next time you’re in a group, see if you can pick up on the “energy” in the room; or the next time you’re sitting in traffic, look around at the other people on the road and see what you can notice about them.

Build Social Skills

Go out of your way to put yourself in new situations, and when you do, pay attention to your body language and make sure to maintain eye contact.

Practice active listening by reflecting the other person’s language back to them, asking open-ended questions, and smiling and leaning in when the other person is speaking.

Start Building EI Today

Emotional intelligence (EI) is well worth the effort you put in, and can improve many areas of your life. 

If you’re ready to take the next step, sign up for our emotional intelligence training today! 

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