Success, whether personal or professional, is influenced by your emotional intelligence. 

Some experts say that emotional intelligence can be equally, if not more important than IQ. From your relationships to your goals, emotional intelligence ultimately plays a role in every aspect of your life. 

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, or EI, was developed by John Salavoy and John Mayer, two social psychologists. They described it as the ability to recognize, interpret, express, and regulate your own emotions, recognize those of others, and understand how your emotions affect those around you. Their work is responsible for the increased interest in emotional intelligence, from the workplace to the school curriculum.


Unlike IQ, you can learn emotional intelligence at any time. Here are 7 tips for raising your emotional intelligence:

  1. Acknowledge and name your emotions. Emotions aren't black or white, positive or negative. They are a source of information that supports you in becoming self-aware.  When we pay attention to them, we learn to trust our emotions and become more skilled at handling them. 

  2. Get curious. Whenever you have an emotional reaction, you receive information about it. Get curious about what the purpose of each emotion is, whether it’s to warn you of something threatening or inform you of a pleasant experience. Your reaction may come from the current situation or serve as a reminder of a painful experience from the past. 

  3. It's not what you say; it's how you say it. Body language, the tone you use, and eye contact are all informants of how you feel internally.  It's impossible to avoid sending these messages. The number of muscles around your eyes, nose, mouth, and forehead helps you communicate your emotions and read those of other people. The emotional part of your brain, otherwise known as the limbic system, is always on. Even if you ignore its messages—you can't ignore how these messages present to others around you. Recognizing them can play a huge part in improving your relationships.
  1. Respond, don’t react. There's a subtle but important difference between the two. Reacting is an unconscious process. When we experience an uncomfortable emotional trigger, we immediately respond to eliminate the discomfort it causes. Responding, on the other hand, is a conscious, mindful process. It involves acknowledging and observing how you feel, then deciding how you want to proceed. If you raise your voice when you're angry or withdraw from others when feeling insecure, observe those emotions next time. Recognize how they're connected with your actions. 

  2. Be assertive. Assertive communication is about communicating your needs while acknowledging and respecting the needs of others. Rather than being passive or aggressive, assertiveness asks you to use your words clearly and directly. As you become more aware of your emotions, you'll be able to assert yourself in a way that strengthens and deepens your relationships.

  3. Practice empathy. Be open-minded and try to understand why other people feel the way they do.   Remember that there are various ways of looking at any situation. When someone doesn't react the same way, consider why, and try to see it from their perspective.

  4. Take responsibility. You're the only one that's responsible for your feelings, actions, and responses. Once you start holding yourself accountable and stop blaming others for the way you feel, you'll notice a positive impact on all areas of your life.

Working on improving your emotional intelligence isn’t always easy. It’s a skill that takes time to develop. But by practicing and implementing some of the tools mentioned, you’ll start to notice positive changes in the way you understand yourself and those around you.