Developing Emotional Intelligence

I recently came to the realization that high emotional intelligence is one of the most valuable traits a person can have. This article will consider a couple of good tips on developing emotional intelligence.

Developing Emotional Intelligence - Emotional Intelligence Article

If you read my new years resolution ideas article, you may have seen that I talked about reading 12 books a year, or a book a month.

Boy, did that book change the way I see and do certain things.

  • Many of you may notice that when it comes to personal development, we are actually talking about things we basically all already know.

But, the way we talk about them perhaps in a slightly new or different light, makes us motivated to actually do the things we know we should be doing.

That is the brilliance of reading a new book regularly, and the above reason is why I particularly enjoyed reading 'Emotional Intelligence - a Practical Guide' by Dr David Walton.

Some Practical Tips on
Developing  Emotional Intelligence

  • Anyway, the purpose of this article is to show you some of the key points that I learnt about developing emotional intelligence, and I really do hope that you will find them inspiring and that they will help you in some way.

So you may call this a sort-of-book-review-kinda-thing or really just a few musings pertaining to emotional intelligence.

Here we go!

3 Highlights on the subject of Developing a High Level of Emotional Intelligence:

1. You Have to Understand Why You React That Way

The first key point in developing emotional intelligence is being very self-aware. You have to try and be mindful of your response to issues that flare up.

  • Why is this important? If you become aware of your thoughts feelings and even body reactions as they happen, you are creating a basis for freedom and choice as to how you will react.

When you can name what's making you upset or sad, then you can decide not to go into the same mental habits that tend to worsen the problem.

  • The basic fact: when you are self aware, you have the power to choose & act differently than you normally would.

You know yourself, you understand what pushes your buttons, and why.

2. Discovering the Meaning of

I learnt a new word.

And one that succinctly describes an issue many people, (myself included) seem to have when it comes to emotional intelligence.

Rumination is a process of reflection that occurs when something bad happens to us, and our thinking spirals downwards.

What really happens is that we become very aware of the gap between what we would like and what is happening now.

  • But it doesn't just stop there: we start reinterpreting events, adding negative to our own actions.


  • Here is an example to illustrate this point.

Imagine that you are going to a party but you are tired and you do not feel up for it.
As time goes on, you become conscious of something else: how by going to parties you should be feeling great, but in fact are not.

Think how you would feel at that point. Many people say they would feel worse than ever.

I think it's kind of like having some in our head, repeatedly reminding us that we ARE NOT HAVING A GOOD TIME. It's a pestering, bothersome sensation.

So, I found this point to be an extremely relatable scenario in our routine emotional roller coaster.

The Biggest Problems with Rumination:

  • It diminishes our optimism.
  • Encourages negative thinking as the preferred response.
  • Leads to a difficulty in getting upset thoughts out of your mind.
  • You rationalize anything which seems uncertain or uncontrollable - to avoid unpleasant feelings.
  • You become overly Self-Critical.

You can avoid Rumination by:

Maintaining your awareness of the here and now, don't be lost in alternate realities.

Developing an independent confident and optimistic outlook.

What Do Your Outbursts Say About You?

The last highlight I wanted to share with you is about dealing with our emotional reactions and being able to calm down and wait.

  • As many of us know from experience, the first thing you say when you are angry is usually the worst thing you could say.

It is said that it takes approximately 6 seconds from the moment an emotion is felt to the time when your adrenaline starts to die down.

Now I see another reason why counting to ten is effective.

Delays and distractions are a great way to curb dangerous impulses.

Speaking of impulses, I wanted to share with you the results of one study that I found really fascinating:

In one study at Stanford University, a group of three to four years olds had a plate with their favourite sweet placed in front of them.

They were told that they could either eat the sweet right away or wait. If they waited patiently for fifteen minutes without touching the sweet, they would have TWO to eat whenever they like.

The children responded differently:

Some found ways to distract themselves from the sweet like by playing games with their fingers and singing. They were able to pass the challenge.

Other children were not able to control themselves. They focused on the object of their desire and ate the sweet within minutes or even seconds.

What happened to these children fourteen years later?

  • The children who were able to control themselves were more academically successful, they pursued challenges rather than giving up when things are difficult. They were confident, trustworthy and were able to delay gratification for the sake of achieving their goal.

  • The children who had succumbed to the sweet temptation were less successful in their studies and frequently seemed to be troubled individuals. Fourteen years later they were still unable to delay gratification and were prone to distrust and provoking arguments.

This study really touched me.  As Sigmund Freud noted, achieving your aims can be made more certain if you can hold off the urge to satisfy the impulse immediately and behave in a way that is suitable for the time and place.

What a valuable skill to have if you are serious about developing emotional intelligence!

There's a lot more than we can share

Thanks for reading these key points and thoughts about developing emotional intelligence. I hope you found them as interesting as I did.

David Walton's book goes into far more ways that you can develop emotional intelligence, and it's a very marvellous read. 

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