I just Googled “8 ways to increase emotional intelligence” and was swamped with articles all saying the same thing about being empathic, being reflective, understanding emotions, seek counselling, life coaching or marriage guidance, managing criticism and all of that kind of stuff. All useful but nothing really that we all don’t already know, and all fairly vague. Here are eight things that will help you increase your emotional intelligence that I bet you haven’t thought of.
Without a doubt the modern world is working against emotional intelligence. As the march of progress carries us forward into unchartered territory we all struggle to keep up with ever growing demands, stresses and strains, hence the introduction of Wellness and Wellbeing lessons to school timetables. Yes, it’s true.
We are all learning new, and sometimes, old ways to combat the stresses of modern day life. It’s little wonder that Counselling and Life Coaching are more in demand than ever when you think that nearly 50% of marriages in the UK end in divorce, that one third of teenagers are either obese or overweight and that nearly 20% of adult Americans take antidepressants, that’s 65 million people…almost the entire population of the UK. That’s a hell of a lot of Prozac.
When I was a kid the kind of choices that faced my parents were things like whether they wanted a grey or white telephone, a black and white TV or a colour TV and whether to splash out and have a “foreign” holiday or trundle down to the south coast countryside in a Morris Minor. This was a simpler age where sexting hadn’t been invented, the closest thing to junk food was fish and chips and Tinder was something that my dad used to light the fire. With increasing challenges of the so called modern world it’s hardly surprising that lesson 1 in most schools in inner London on a Wednesday morning is Wellbeing and Citizenship.
Here are 8 ways, to help increase Emotional Intelligence that you haven’t thought of:
Buy Good Food
Let me tell you the definition of the phrase “soul destroying,” working 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and then going straight from work to push a trolley up and down the aisles of a neon lit supermarket and living on frozen processed food for the next 7 days. That’s soul destroying, so stop doing it…not the work bit, obviously we all have to work, but we don’t have to go to supermarkets. They’re not that super. Get out of the supermarket trap and go and find a farmers market and buy some really nice local food. It will change your life, your routine and maybe also your health. We are what we eat.
Do you remember the days when you used to do things, creative things? I bet when you were a kid you used to paint pictures in nursery school. When was the last time you drew a picture, or wrote a poem, or learnt a new dance or made something? If you are struggling to remember, get creative. It’s part of being human, and we need to work hard sometimes to re-claim it back.
Love The Person You Love Unreservedly
Are you lucky enough to be married, or in a relationship? Do you love your partner? Good, well I suggest that you love them unreservedly. Try not to get caught up with petty differences and arguments. If you talk to people who have had near death experiences they all say one thing, that it re-adjusts your priorities. This is true, don’t wait until you get knocked over by a bus to forgive your partner. Just love them unreservedly.
Pay Attention to Children
Children are more grown up then they used to be, ie when we were kids. They have to be more mature because we have created this stressful modern world for them full of tensions and problems. Children are now leading global campaigns, trying to cope with sexting and increasingly complex intimate relationships at increasingly younger ages, so let’s pay them a little bit of attention and try to help, or at least be interested in what they have to say. If you are lucky enough to have children or have nieces or nephews or are in some way connected to kids, show an interest in what they are doing. You could even try to help, inspire and at the very least buy them a treat once in a while. How can you increase the quality of their life? In turn it will increase yours and help you be more self-aware and emotionally intelligent.
Cook Your Own Dinner
So, now you have sacked off your local supermarket and brought some good food, cook it yourself. Creating a good meal, which you are proud of, and also, hopefully tastes delicious is a thing of wonder. Treat yourself well, and you will feel more inclined to treat others well.
Make sure you manage your finances
Someone once said that if you have money there is no risk in life. Conversely, if you don’t manage your money well (and yes I speak from experience) life is automatically more stressful and it’s more difficult to be emotionally intelligent. If your money is in a mess, no amount of yoga and gratitude trees will stop the gnawing worry that it’s all going to go Pete Tong, as they say. Get help, and find a good financial adviser.
Listen More Carefully
So much of everything good starts with listening more carefully. None of us listens to each other much anymore; we haven’t got time, it’s not important, we’re all in a rush. Kids in school are now learning, on a Wednesday morning, how to listen to each other properly. It’s making the world of difference.
Read a Good Book
We learn empathy through reading fiction, especially from good authors. Read any book by Thomas Hardy or Julian Barnes and you will increase your emotional intelligence.
Thanks for reading and do check out our Relationship Counselling holidays and also Life Coaching breaks: