Emotional intelligence is ability recognize their own and other people’s emotions, as well as the motivation, intentions and even desires of other people. And this is a very useful skill, because often we make decisions based on emotions.

Developed emotional intelligence also helps to clearly control your feelings, not only to notice emotions, but also to work with them. A few simple habits allow you to pump this ability. Start with at least a few, and you will immediately notice a tangible result.

1. Show emotions with a slight delay

Sometimes we overreact to a situation and then regret it. Or, sometimes, we rashly say something that we want to return later. It doesn’t matter if you have such impulsive reactions or not, the delay in the manifestation of emotions is equally beneficial for everyone.

Nobel laureate and author of Think Slowly… Decide Fast Daniel Kahneman identified two systems of thought. He called them System 1 and System 2, but they are also known as autopilot and pilot. Autopilot processes information using emotions and intuition. The pilot, on the contrary, uses rational thinking and works more slowly. It takes time to activate this system, but after that it vigorously analyzes all the mistakes that we make during the autopilot period.

Try counting to 10 before giving in to emotional impulses or making impulsive decisions. This will give the pilot time to “turn on”, who will thoroughly examine the feelings before you have time to throw them out on others.

2. Keep a diary

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is very helpful in boosting your emotional intelligence. Journaling positively affects on creativity and introspection.

There are no set rules, but it is best to take notes every day so that it becomes a habit. To develop emotional intelligence, it is worth making records of three types:

  • about yourself and your feelings at the moment;
  • about what you learned about your feelings during the day;
  • about which habit from the list you want to focus on when training emotional intelligence.

The most important thing is to start and continue regularly. You don’t have to use a notepad, notes on your phone or even short audio recordings will do. Reread (or relisten to) the diary every month. This will help analyze your feelings and understand whether you are making progress in developing emotional intelligence or not.

3. Meditate

Meditation promotes building new neural connections in the brain that help to cope with stress and emotional outbursts. She especially helps men who find it difficult to express their feelings. Meditative practices allow move away from traditional gender stereotypes and interact constructively with your emotional side.

There are two ways to start meditating:

  • At least 10 minutes of zazen meditation. Its main goal is to clear and calm the mind. Sit on the floor or on a rug with your legs crossed. Take a deep breath. Try to free your mind and not think about anything. Zazen develops attention, which in turn allows you to listen more sensitively to your own emotions.
  • At least 5 minutes of loving-kindness meditation. This practice will help control feelings for others and make relationships much more positive and vibrant. Imagine the people who are present in your life, focus on them and visualize how you share love and kindness with them, and they return the same feelings to you.

4. Do yoga

Yoga teaches you to feel yourself and your body in the present moment, as well as listen to sensations. All this helps to better recognize your emotions, which means it takes one step closer to a developed emotional intelligence.

In addition, our body subtly analyzes what we feel, and sometimes even reacts faster than us. Yoga will build a “bridge” between how we understand our emotions and how our body reacts to them. So train yourself to exercise for at least 15 minutes a day.

5. Pay attention to cognitive distortions

Emotions often lead us in the wrong direction. All because of the “blind spots” in our minds, which are called cognitive distortions. These are systematic and completely irrational thought patterns that we use every day. They are dangerous because they can lead to not the best decisions in personal and professional life.

To weaken their influence, you need to figure out which thought patterns are peculiar to you. Maybe you often say to yourself: “I never succeed.” This is a prime example of a cognitive distortion that is deeply embedded in the head.

Come up with a daily ritual that will help you “break” the pattern. For example, every day before leaving the house, look in the mirror and say to yourself: “Today I will definitely succeed.” Over time, you will finally get rid of negative cognitive distortions.

6. Analyze relationships with others

The first five habits make you look inside yourself, but you should not forget about the interaction with others. Once you identify your cognitive distortions, you will be surprised how many of them are related to relatives, friends, colleagues, or other people in general.

To better understand your emotions, make a habit of analyzing your experiences when interacting with others. Stop and try to figure out what new things you can learn about yourself during the conversation. You can even set aside an item for such observations in your diary. This will help you create an effective communication plan for the future.

7. Become an active listener

Many of us know how to patiently listen to the interlocutor, but not all know how to really hear him. This is especially evident during disagreements. Some immediately take a defensive position and begin to actively come up with arguments without even listening to the other person.

Emotional intelligence is impossible without the ability to hear. Try to become an active listener during the conversation – ask questions and analyze the answers, and not just wait for your turn to speak.

This ability will greatly help in resolving conflicts – you will learn to understand the interlocutor’s claims, recognize the problem and find the right solution.

8. Change your communication style

Try to use a more confident communication style. Only here it is important to strike a balance and not be too aggressive. Interact with others honestly but respectfully. Be clear about your opinions and talk about your feelings and emotions – this will encourage others to be just as frank with you.