Why is it important?
Self-awareness involves being able to recognize, notice and identify the emotions you are currently feeling, or any thoughts you might currently be having. In order to become more self-aware, you must be able to recognize how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. You are able to come to a conclusion on what is causing you to feel a particular way and can take steps towards changing any negative thoughts you might be having, that might be causing you to be in a bad mood. This leads us to the second element.
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This aspect involves being able to control those feelings, thoughts and emotions you might be having. The ability to control your emotions is essentially thinking before you act. You are consciously aware of how you are feeling and are able to choose an appropriate response to a given situation.
Empathy is the ability to relate to how another person feels in any given situation.
Communicating well with others is very important for increasing your emotional intelligence. By being able to improve your social skills you will be able to interact with others better both verbal and non-verbally.
Being able to find ways to motivate yourself when you might feel like giving up is sometimes very hard, but it’s definitely necessary, especially when others aren’t around to do it for you.
How do I increase my Emotional Intelligence?
Self- awareness, and Self-regulation
- Doing grounded breathing exercises or meditating at least twice a week to start, and slowly try doing them once a day. By doing one or both of these activities you may realize:
- how many thoughts run through your mind
- how easy or hard it is for you to relax or clear your mind
- how tense you are in different parts of your body
- Start identifying your feelings in as many situations as possible, especially your negative feelings. Identifying your negative feelings will allow you to be more cognizant of your mood at that moment, and how a particular situation or person is making you feel based on your perception or thoughts about it/ them. Once you are able to identify this, you can take a minute to figure out your best course of action.
- Asking for feedback/ positive criticism helps you to be more aware of how others are receiving what you are saying, and will help you learn how to communicate or express yourself a bit better. It may also help you become a better listener, which is a key quality of being a great communicator and being more self-aware.
- Start paying attention to other people’s verbal and non-verbal responses/ reactions to get a better understanding of how your messages are being received and interpreted.
- Take at least 15 minutes at the end of the day, to reflect on how you are feeling, how the day went- what you didn’t like and what you did like, or what you accomplished or didn’t get to do. Write these things down in a journal or in an app on your phone.
- Look at situations from a different perspective
Whenever you encounter a situation, whether it is being told to you or you are a part of it, notice what your thoughts and feelings are. Once you have identified your thoughts and feelings, consider what the other person might be feeling and what they might be thinking. Consider what you might be thinking and feeling if you actually were them (their personality, their situation, their environment, their everything).
- Watch different movies– comedy, action, romance, horror, etc, and really put yourself in the shoes of at least one (1) of the characters in that movie. Imagine that you are them, experiencing the same events they are throughout the movie.
Yes, meditation can help you become more empathetic as well as increase your self-awareness and help you to regulate your feelings. By having a quiet and calm mind you will be more in tune with another person’s verbal and non-verbal responses and be able to connect deeper with their feelings.
- Be aware of and control your facial expressions
- Handle conflict resolution well
- Welcome constructive criticism
- Stating your views while respecting someone else’s views
- Knowing when to just listen and when it’s time to respond
- Celebrate the small and big accomplishments– these could be as small as waking up early in the morning, to as big as completing a huge project you’ve been working on.
- Create a smaller to-do list- make your daily to-do list more realistic. If you have a more realistic to-do list, then what you need to do for the day won’t look as daunting and overwhelming.
- Boost your energy levels by eating more mood-boosting foods– you can check out our blog post, Does what we eat really affect our mood? to learn more about the different types of foods you can eat to increase your feel-good hormones and put you in an overall better mood!