How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Every one of us can improve and grow the skill set of emotional intelligence everyday. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ultimate game-changer for living a happy, healthy and rewarding life because it is a skill set all of us can grow and attain. The beauty of emotional intelligence is that it’s all-inclusive and accessible to every one of us.

Like any skill worth improving, it’s something we must devote time to building.

Here is how you can improve your emotional intelligence each day to live a happier and healthier life. Let’s first begin with self-awareness, a skill we can continuously work on and improve on our own.

Begin by having a healthy relationship with yourself

Self-awareness is the ability to understand ourselves, the way we feel, why we feel that way and to use that knowledge to continuously, learn, and improve. At its core — self-awareness is an intimate evolutionary process of self-discovery that elicits joy, pain, discomfort, curiosity and strength. Because getting to know yourself isn’t easy work — it’s hard, but always worth it.

Self-awareness helps you to discover your passion, values, purpose, mission and goals. It brings clarity and allows you to make sense of your past, present and future, all while you evolve as an analytical, reflective thinker. To give love, hope and joy to others, you first must know yourself and what you’re capable of giving. Self-awareness allows this magical work to take place.


  • Develop a mindfulness practice for 30 minutes each day to listen to your thoughts, analyze them and allow yourself to experience those emotions
  • Determine the values that give meaning to your life (e.g. honesty, faith)
  • Use the “Self-Awareness Game Plan” on the Tools & Exercises tab
  • Clarify what you want most out of life and why you feel that way
  • Practice self-care and speak positive words of affirmation over your life

Prioritize what is most important

Happy and healthy people that live with high emotional intelligence are able to regulate their emotions and prioritize what is most important to them. The best visual representation I’ve ever seen of how to assess your wants and needs in life comes from the great Dr. Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” seen here:

A pyramid with five levels labeled in different colors.

Self-management is how you use self-awareness to help you manage your emotions and do so in a way that aligns with your values. It helps you to battle adversity and overcome limiting beliefs and barriers that stand in your way. It gives you the confidence and tools to plan your day in accordance with what you want to do to become happier, healthier and more productive.


  • Plan your day into time blocks; You don’t need to plan every minute; Group your time into categories that align with your values and goals
  • Declare the things in your life that are essential (needs) and create a prioritized list of the things you value the most (this will allow you to place an emphasis on how you manage your time)
  • Do the “Big Rocks” Activity:

Big Rocks= What are the most important parts of your day?

  • (Possible Examples): Family time, writing, job presentation, learning, rest

Pebbles= What are the things that need to get done? The more urgent/necessary items?

  • (Possible Examples): Work task; paying bills; writing a term paper

Sand= What are the “little pieces” that supplement your bigger ones?

  • (Possible Examples): Planning; Helping team members; Professional Development

Water= What is the glue that holds it all together for you?

  • (Possible Examples): Defined success & purpose; your values; knowing who you serve; why what you do matters

Use Adversity to Your Advantage to Learn, Grow and Get Better

Emotionally intelligent people are able to use adversity, challenges, mistakes, and failures as a fuel that powers them to greater growth and opportunity. Instead of living in fear, worry or insecurity, emotionally intelligent people embrace every circumstance of life and always live with a positive attitude and great work ethic.

There’s no avoiding adversity. We have to face it head-on, with confidence in our minds and courage in our hearts. Chances are, you have faced considerable adversity in your life. How are you handling it? Do you run away and hope it will blow over or do you face it head-on and resolve to change your circumstances? The answer will determine your happiness and health.


  • View every difficult circumstance as a challenge; use your self-awareness identify opportunities for you to grow and set goals to come out stronger
  • Give yourself a daily “pep talk” that involves positive thoughts, affirmations and visualization of you doing things that make you happy
  • Identify the fears you feel; ask yourself, how is this helping me?

Gain a Mastery of Your Emotions

Self-management is how you use self-awareness to manage your emotions in a way that aligns with your values and beliefs. It helps you to battle adversity and overcome limiting beliefs and barriers that stand in your way. Thought and identification is the first step, but taking action to regulate your emotions is what leads to happiness and mental and emotional health.

I’m a big believer in “temperature checks” when it comes to regulating our emotions. Ask yourself the tough questions so you can properly assess how you’re doing: “What am I doing to confront fear?” “How did I handle myself in a work setting where I was confronted or challenged?” “Did I let my excitement distract me from getting done what I needed to do?”


  • Let your positive emotions like joy, love, gratitude and awe propel you forward and help you focus on your most important matters
  • Prevent negative emotions like fear, anger and envy from ruining your day; instead, understand why you’re feeling this way so you can manage yourself with confidence and a level-head to be happy and healthy
  • Visualize exactly how you’d like to respond to both positive and negative emotions and put this in writing for yourself. This will give you the recognition in each moment that will help you manage yourself

Seek to elevate and enrich the lives of others

The saying, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is The Golden Rule, and actually predates the time of Jesus Christ. It is thousands of years old and among the finest wisdom ever given to the world. It’s benefited mankind in so many ways and stands the test of time because it is outward seeking and connection-forming.

It prompts us to take the position of someone else, to show that we care and that we’re willing to give them our time, attention and yes, even love. Empathy is the ability to understand, perceive, or feel what someone is going through from within their frame of reference. Or simply put, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Self-awareness precedes empathy, so focus first on how you can help yourself. As they say, during a time of turbulence or danger on an airplane, you must reach for the mask for yourself first before you can help others. After you do, you can invest your time in others and show them that you care. You can lead with your heart and help bring joy, happiness and peace to someone’s life.


  • Be a good listener. Leave your own agenda at the door. Show them that you care by listening and putting yourself in their position
  • Devote time and energy to do one kind act for someone else at least once per week; this is a great way to build relationships out of selfless love
  • Help them learn something new or make a connection to someone that can help them achieve their goals

We all have the power to improve emotional intelligence every day and grow this skill set and use it to our advantage. This is a power well within your control and it will help you become happier, more fulfilled and healthier.

  • Work on the relationship you have with yourself every day and make it your masterpiece
  • Make what’s most important to you the way you live your life
  • Don’t let adversity stop you; let it fuel your path forward
  • Become a master of managing your good and bad emotions so that the decisions you make are a product of your values and beliefs
  • Make a point to improve the life of someone else each day


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