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Emotional Intelligence: What it is + how to develop it

Emotional Intelligence:

The ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as being able to recognize

other people’s emotions.

Why It Is Important:

Emotional intelligence is the foundation of great mental health. It helps you to identify what you are experiencing in a specific moment and how that impacts you. If you have not developed this level of awareness, then you simply won’t know what to change, let alone how to change it.

By working on this you will learn how to down-regulate your emotions and improve all your relationships. D

eveloping emotional intelligence for great mental health is just as important as a solider wearing armour when they go to war. This should be #1 on your list of “mental health things” to work on.

Signs You Need to Work on Your Emotional Intelligence ASAP:

  • You cannot identify what you are experiencing in specific moments

  • You lack the ability to communicate your emotion and needs

  • You have emotional outbursts

  • You get stressed out easily

  • You always feel the need to be “right”

  • You have poor coping skills

  • You get easily offended and it is hard to let go of things

  • You feel like no one “gets you

  • You cannot tune into other people’s emotions

  • You lack self-confidence


How to Develop Emotional Intelligence:

Trait #1: Self-Awareness – Being able to recognize your thoughts and emotions as well as the impact it has on those around you.

Action Steps:

  1. Be open to feedback (this is simply an opportunity to get better

  2. Observe the impact of your responses & choose those that promote positive mental health within yourself and others

  3. Reflect on your emotions daily

Trait #2: Self-Regulation – Being able to manage your emotions and impulses by appropriately responding to situations.

Action Steps

  1. Take full responsibility of your responses.

  2. Take a pause before you respond. This will give you more control over how you want to respond.

Trait #3: Empathy – Being able to identify and understand other people’s emotions.

Action Steps:

  1. Listen without interrupting.

  2. Be curious.

  3. Imagine yourself in other people’s shoes.

Trait #4: Motivation – Being motivated by internal factors vs. external factors

Action Step:

  1. Work on developing internal reasons for achieving something. Ex. purpose, you enjoy doing it, it makes you better in some way. This will give you more fulfillment and allow you to sustain your motivation long-term.

Trait #5: Social Skills – Being able to effectively manage relationships.

Action Steps:

  1. Work on communicating your needs & understanding other people’s needs.

  2. Try to understand different perspective & opinions.


Signs Your Emotional Intelligence is Improving:

  • You start becoming highly conscious of your emotional state, both negative and positive.

  • Your emotional vocabulary starts improving.

  • You take the time to reflect on your emotions.

  • You are in tune to other people’s emotions and become a good judge of character.

Choose one emotional intelligence trait that you want to work on, pick an action step and work on it for 3-4 weeks until you start to see a positive change. Then, move onto another trait.

“Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of our the “success” in our lives.” ~ J. Freedman
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