How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Most of us want to be smart, have lots of money and be beautiful. But how often do we hear ourselves or our friends say we want to develop our emotional intelligence? In today's society--with road rage, crime and unemployment on the rise in many places--it's probably more important than ever for people to work on improving their emotional state of mind. Read on to learn how to develop emotional intelligence.

Get in touch with your emotions. Ask yourself what you are feeling, then try to put names and labels on those feelings. Some forms of meditation can help you in this regard as they make it easier to see and recognize specific feelings.

Control yourself, but not in a bad way; simply monitor yourself and don't react. Excuse yourself from a potentially explosive situation. Take a walk, breathe deep, count to 10 backwards. Make a rule not to respond to the "button pushers" until much later after you've cooled down. Talk slowly, and if the situation demands immediate attention, keep your voice at a natural level and pitch.

See the Big Picture and think about your impact on other people. Consider how your words and actions will affect your neighbors, co-workers, family members or organization. Think before pushing the button on that email or complaining about someone verbally. Consider the ramifications and ripple affects of your emotions.

Honor the concept of teamwork, and try to be an encouraging team member at work, at home and in your community. Support your supervisor or spouse. Protect a child from a bully. Become a vital link on any formal or informal team, and exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence.

Give yourself time and be patient. It took time to learn impatience or emotional reactions, and it will take time to unravel them and build better behaviors. Don't be discouraged, though; it can be done.