Some people have a higher emotional intelligence, and grasp on their feelings. But what sets emotionally intelligent people apart, and are they more successful? (Photo: lolostock/iStock/Getty)
For many people, emotions can be bewildering — they can be misread, affect judgment, trigger unexpected and perplexing behavior and sometimes completely overwhelm you. Emotionally intelligent people, however, are less challenged by feelings. Those with high emotional intelligence are able to recognize and express emotion, incorporate it into intellect and manage emotions in themselves and in others. In short, emotional intelligence is the ability to read feelings and respond in an appropriate way, says Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of “It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.” So how can you spot those with high emotional intelligence? The following are five habits of emotionally intelligent people that help them excel in various aspects of their lives. So follow their lead and see where it takes you.
1. They Are Externally Aware Those with emotional intelligence are keenly aware of those around them. “When high-EI people are working or talking with someone, they’re not just thinking about themselves,” says Cara Day, educational and behavioral therapist and the CEO of Daychild.org. They recognize and understand the feelings of others. Emotionally intelligent people typically know when to allow someone a bit of space and when to offer support and sympathy. They are able to use the information they’ve gathered to “connect and succeed in a myriad of situations, especially those involving high emotions or risk,” Day says.
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2. They Practice Self-Regulation “Also known as self-control and impulse control, self-regulation is the ability to control emotions and impulses,” explains psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina. Those who self-regulate generally don’t allow themselves to become overly emotional. “They don’t have temper tantrums or hysterical outbursts, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions,” Tessina says. “They think before they act or react.” Some characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity and the ability to say no. Those who know how to self-regulate “are good at delayed gratification, understanding that waiting for what they want may bring better results,” Tessina says. The self-regulation skills emotionally intelligent people possess can benefit them in both business and social situations, allowing them to remain calm, keep a clear head and focus on the issues at hand.
3. They Are Self-Aware People with high emotional intelligence (EI) know the difference between emotions and intellect, says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina. They use their critical-thinking skills to moderate their feelings without ignoring them or quashing them. Those with high EI are able to look at themselves honestly and see themselves realistically, Tessina says. “They know their strengths and weaknesses. They have realistic positive self-regard, which means they have reasonable standards for their own good behavior,” she says. “This self-awareness is an essential foundation of EI.” On his website, Daniel Goleman, author of New York Times best-seller “Emotional Intelligence,” suggests mindfulness as a way to build self-awareness, noting that it teaches a person to detect subtle yet important signals and recognize thoughts and feelings as they arise instead of being overwhelmed by them.
4. They Practice Empathy “Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs and viewpoints of those around you,” explains psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina. “People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious.” Consequently, those with empathy typically understand and relate well to others. “They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way,” Tessina says. When people are aware of the feelings of those around them, they tend to also understand how their own actions affect others. As such, they are more likely to “exhibit generosity and benevolence and a positive attitude towards others,” Tessina adds.
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5. They Allow for Difficult Emotions Emotionally intelligent people are familiar with emotions — including the difficult ones. They “recognize when they are anxious or exhausted and put off important decisions until they are calmer and better rested,” says Dave Popple, psychologist and president of Psynet Group. Those with high EI know to allow for difficult emotions and accept them as a part of life. “Allowing negative feelings to surface fully into awareness, with acceptance and non-judgment, supports self-knowledge and an enhanced sense of purpose,” says Tina Gilbertson, psychotherapist and author of “Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them.” Moreover, the emotionally intelligent person allows for and accepts negative emotions in others as well.
The original article “9 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent People" appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.
By Lynette Arceneaux
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