How can we improve our emotional intelligence?


There are seven different aspects of emotional intelligence that you can develop:

  1. Emotional self-awareness
  2. Emotional expression
  3. Emotional awareness of others
  4. Emotional reasoning
  5. Emotional self-management
  6. Emotional management of others
  7. Emotional self-control.

I suggest you start with developing higher levels of emotional self-awareness and emotional self-management as these influence everything else.

In developing emotional self-management I suggest people learn to do five things. That they learn:

  1. Ways to stop certain emotions from arising, e.g. learning to stay calm instead of getting frustrated.
  2. To generate positive emotions deliberately and on purpose.
  3. To transform emotions. For instance, if they wake up feeling irritable in the morning that they transform this emotion into feeling excited about their day. (That’s quite a big transformation, by the way, but doable with the right techniques!).
  4. To park their emotions. Thus, if someone has said something horrible to them in the morning before they go to work and they are angry and upset about this, that when they arrive at work they can leave the anger and upset outside of work and have a calm and productive day. They can then pick up the anger and upset when they go home (if they wish!) so that they can then sort out.
  5. If unhelpful emotions arise, they can calm and soothe them quickly, e.g. anger, frustration, bitterness. Part of being emotionally intelligent is the ability to move through your emotions and not get stuck in them.

There are two great resources that might be really useful. One is the Atlas of Emotions just released by Paul Ekman and associates. The Ekmans’ Atlas of Emotion This can help people learn far more about emotions. It is very visual and fun to use.

There is also a mood meter that people can use that can help them identify how they feel and why: it is based on decades of research.

There is also a lot of free information on how to develop your emotional intelligence on our website, I recommend you read these articles too: The Emotional Intelligence Institute – How to develop emotional intelligence


Rachel Green




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