Emotional Intelligence (EI) has gaind much importance in psychology during the last two decades. In simplest terms, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, name, control and evaluate emotions - in oneself and others - and to use that information in an appropriate manner. Emotional intelligence plays an important role in our lives. Recognizing emotional intelligence in ourselves can help us regulate and manage our emotions, while recognizing emotions in others can lead to empathy and success in our relationships, both personal and professional. As we know, psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey originally coined the term emotional intelligence in a paper and it became popular by the work of Daniel Goleman who wrote the best-seller book Emotional Quotient. Some psychologist believe that EI is an innate (inborn) characteristics, while others say that it can be learnt by proper training.
The following are some of the ways that can be used to increase your emotional intelligence:
1. If some subject or topic is creating some emotional disturbance in you, don't interrupt or change the subject. Quite often we have a tendency to avoid a subject which creates some uncomfortable feeling in us, by distracting oursleves, doing something else etc. Don't do this. Allow yourself a small uninterrupted space and time. Allow the disturbing subject to remian in your consciousness. Allow your feeling to get an outlet.
2. Don't judge or edit your emotions too quickly. Firstly allow it full expression. Be an observer of your own emotion.
3. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. Doing this may help you to realize if your current emotional state is reflective of the current situation, or of another time in your past.
4. Connect your feelings with your thoughts. When you feel something that strikes you as out of the ordinary, it is always useful to know and ask what do you think about that. Quite often, one of our feelings may contradict others. There is nothing wrong in that. Listening to your emotions is like listening to all the witnesses in a court case. Only by admitting all the evidence will you be able to reach the best verdict.
5. Listen to your body. Often your body will give you clue to many vital things about your emotions and life. A knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress. Listening to these sensations and the underlying feelings that they signal will allow you to process with your powers of reason.
6. If you don't know how you're feeling, ask someone else. Quite often, others are able to judge about our feeling in a better manner. Ask someone who knows you (and whom you trust) how you are coming across. You may find the answer both surprising and illuminating.
7. Tune in to your unconscious feelings. It is possible to know our own unconscious feelings. For example, you can try free association. That is, in a relaxed state, allow your thoughts to roam freely and watch where they go. Analyze your dreams. Keep a notebook and pen at the side of your bed and jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Pay special attention to dreams that repeat or are charged with powerful emotion.
8. Ask yourself: How do I feel today? Start by rating your overall sense of well-being on a scale of 0 and 100 and write the scores down in a daily log book. If your feelings seem extreme one day, take a minute or two to think about any ideas or associations that seem to be connected with the feeling.
9. Write thoughts and feelings down. Research has shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help profoundly. A simple exercise like this could take only a few hours per week.
10. Know when it is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when its time to shift your focus outward. Studies have shown that encouraging people to dwell upon negative feelings can amplify these feelings. Emotional intelligence involves not only the ability to look within, but also to be present in the world around you.