5 Tips To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one-day a week when I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!

Why should you care about emotional intelligence? Because it’s a better predictor of professional success, relationship success, increased happiness and good health than the other kind of intelligence. That’s why.

The next time you find yourself upset over something, follow these steps and watch as you become your own emotional coach:

1.  Take NO action when you’re upset. It’s not the time to make a decision or to engage in any behavior.  There’s a reason for this: You’re not plugged into the part of your brain that can predict the outcome of your decisions, which is why so many hot-headed people find themselves regretting things they’ve said and done in anger. Your ONLY task in this moment is to do nothing, because…

2.  Emotionally intelligent people know that the moment will pass.  They understand that their discomfort is temporary, and this understanding enables them to tolerate their discomfort without frantically trying to do something to change how they feel. They know that their feelings will change because feelings are always changing.

3.  If you are pressed for time and need to deescalate quickly, engage in a pattern interrupt. This is the fastest way to shift your mood, and it can be as simple as changing your focus (watch something funny on Vine), or changing your physiology (take the stairs at work or at home – 5 flights up and down is usually enough to do the trick… or toss a ball from one hand to the other for 2-5 minutes).

4.  When you feel yourself deescalting, focus on your GOAL. Emotionally intelligent beings are able to pull themselves out of an emotionally charged situation and ask themselves the following question: What’s my goal? They follow that answer with another question: Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right? They choose being happy (which generally coincides with their goal) and take steps to make it happen. Doing this ensures that they do not sabotage themselves.

5.  GIVE. Now that you’re clear about your strategy (happy - not right), give the person who triggered you what you yourself want: Confirm that you heard their perspective and that their feelings make sense to you. A funny thing happens when you do this ~ you’re more likely to get the same thing back and to exit the situation with a win-win outcome.