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Emotional intelligence, also known as EI or EQ (for Emotional Intelligence Quotient), describes your ability to recognize emotions, to understand their powerful effect, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior.

Since emotional intelligence helps you to better understand yourself--and others--a high EQ increases your chances for successfully achieving goals.

Whatever stage of life you're at, you can use the six simple steps below to increase your Emotional Intelligence and develop your self-awareness and empathy.

1. Reflect on your own emotions + reactions.

Learning how to increase your emotional intelligence is all about getting to know yourself better. Embracing your feelings is your starting-off point for a lifelong process of self-discovery. By examining and being in tune with your own emotions and reactions, you open the door of self-awareness. You’re then able to understand yourself, and others’ concerns, pick up on emotional cues and enhance your capacity for healthy relationships.

2. Become your own inner manager

As you practice self awareness and become more in tune with your feelings, rather than reacting to situations without understanding why, you’re able to take note of what’s triggering and/ or driving you. Instead of being impulsive, you’re able to slow down your reactions and make strategic choices.

Notice, what feelings are getting the best of you, and how can you choose a healthier response?

You get to become your inner manager,

3. Ask others for their perspective.

Often times, you don't realize that other people just don’t think like you. It's not about being right or wrong; it's simply understanding how perceptions differ, and the consequences those differences create. When you ask someone to share their outlook, and are opening to listening, you can learn much from their perspective.

3. Be observant.

Armed with this newly acquired knowledge, you can now be more observant of your current emotions. Your self-reflection and what others have shared will help you to be more in tune with what you're feeling.

If you make any new discoveries, make sure to repeat step one. You can even write down your experience; doing so will help clarify your thinking and keep you in "learning mode”.

4. Use "the pause".

"The pause" may be as simple as taking a moment to stop and think before we act or speak. If everyone made that a practice, imagine how much shorter emails could be, how much time would be saved in meetings, and how many incendiary comments on social media would be eliminated.

But remember: The pause is easy in theory, difficult to practice.

Even if we're generally good at managing our emotions, factors like added stress or a bad day can inhibit our ability to do so at any given time. And we're not just talking about upsetting situations; we are often tempted to jump on opportunities that look really good at the time but that we haven't really thought through.

When you work on pausing before speaking or acting, you create a habit of thinking first.

5. Explore the "why".

Most of you agree that qualities like empathy and compassion are valuable ingredients to healthy relationships.


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