5 Emotionally Intelligent Habits

There are 9 types of intellect according to Howard Garnder. He was a psychologist who didn’t really believe that being smart simply meant scoring well in academics. One of the nine intellects he spoke about was “interpersonal intelligence.” This is the ability to understand yourself. Specifically, your emotions.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. -Lao Tzu

Let go over 5 key ways you can master this type of intelligence to gain more mastery over your own life.

1. Understand Your Emotions

In order to master your emotions, the first step is to fully understand them. Bringing awareness to your emotions is easy, but so many people were never taught how to do so. They end up becoming fearful of their emotions and inevitably run away from them. This causes stress and trauma to occur. To understand your emotions simply sit in them. This means, the next time you feel angry, sad, or stressed out, do not numb the pain by going on your phone, watching tv, or drink alcohol. Start to recognize how it truly feels to be sad or happy. When you allow yourself to fully feel the emotion, your brain starts to learn to how to accept them more often. This mental muscle will increase and you will build
more emotional fortitude.

2. Manage Your Emotions

Managing your emotions is similar to recognizing them but you take it one step further. Once you can accept your emotions for how they are, you can then learn how to challenge them. We often hold onto ingrained thoughts or beliefs. These beliefs come in a “should” statement. These should statement can be challenged. Once they are questioned and challenged, they can often go away. An example looks like this; Let’s say that you are upset because your boss did not give you credit on an assignment. You then become frustrated and angry. You simply start with accepting that you are angry.

Step 1: Tell yourself you are the emotion that you are experiencing.

Step 2: Once you accept that emotion, move forward by asking why you feel that way. “My boss should have given me credit.”

Step 3: Start to Question why he should have done so. “Becuase I deserve more appreciation.” Again, ask why? “Becuase people deserve appreciation for their efforts and I want to be at a job where I get appreciated.”

Step 4: Once you get down to the core of the issue, you start to recognize deep patterns or beliefs about yourself that often times goes unnoticed in your psyche. From there, you can change the belief pattern or accept it.

3. Read Others With Incongruency

Reading others is an essential skill that all emotionally wise people possess. They are able to see what people are saying versus how they actually communicate. Communication is mainly non-verbal. This means that a majority of the message does not come in the form of the words and content, but rather how the person delivers the message. An example of this is if someone says they are “fine”. However, when they say it, their eyes look down, their vocal tonality is flat and their body slumps downward. It is clear that their actions or words do not match the rest of their body. To read people better, simply notice these non-verbal cues more often.

  • Do people look away they answer you?
  • Does their voice fluctuate?
  • Do they show nervous tapping or fidgeting when they speak?
  • Do they avoid the questions you ask them?


4. Increase Empathy

Mastering empathy is by far the number one skill to increase your emotional intelligence. Understanding how other people truly feel is vital in allowing you to understand yourself and others. Empathy, like any other trait, is a mental muscle. You increase it by truly listening to someone when they speak to you. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Look at them and what they are saying. Reflect back what they are saying to you. When you are able to truly understand someone and where they come from, you can move forward with the conversation and build trust. I teach couples this simple technique all of the time.

Jane is angry that Mark did not clean the bathroom as he promised. Instead of Mark getting defensive, he moves to understand Jane better.

Jane- “Mark, you promised to clean it!”

Mark- “You feel frustrated that I did not clean the bathroom.”

Jane- “Yes. Can you please do it next time?”

Mark- “I am sorry. I will.”

“Seek first to understand. Then to be understood.” -Steven Covey

5. Connect Your Feelings With Your Values

We already briefly mentioned this skill beforehand with managing your emotions. To facilitate this process moving forward and to really understand how to become and emotional master, start look deeply at what your values are. I posted a video about how to find your values below.

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