Emotional Intelligence is one of the constructs that has gained most popularity in recent decades in the field of psychology, as it has shown to be key to performance at work, in education and in sports; and it is essential to people’s well-being, happiness and personal development.

Fundamentally, it is about the set of our mental skills aimed at identifying and regulating our emotions and feelings, as well as recognizing them in other people to better empathize.

If you still don’t know what EQ is and want to know in detail about it, I invite you to read these two articles:

  • “What is EQ? Discovering the importance of emotions”
  • “The 10 benefits of emotional intelligence”

Exercises and activities to develop your EQ

If you already know what EQ is and what its benefits are, the next step is to put it into practice . Here is a list of activities and tips that will help you develop your EQ.

1. Keep your diary of emotions

To start practicing EQ on a daily basis, there is nothing better than keeping an emotional journal. This activity is simple, as it is similar to the classic teenager’s diary.

To keep a diary of your emotions, you only need to take 10 or 20 minutes a day, preferably before going to bed, to review how your day has gone on an emotional level . If, for example, you feel you have been experiencing stress and you feel sad, write it down. Review how you have been feeling during the week and compare it with the previous week.

It is important that you add strategies to feel better, i.e. tasks that you can do to avoid too many negative emotions . With the diary of emotions it is possible to work on emotional self-knowledge and emotional regulation as you use it. This strategy is useful for understanding your emotions and for giving you feedback on how you feel.

2. Active listening: observe non-verbal language

Active listening is one of the social skills that we should all possess but rarely put into practice. There is a big difference between listening and hearing. Active listening focuses not only on words , that is, it takes into account non-verbal language and the communication of emotions.

To do this in your daily life, you need to take a few minutes out of your conversations to voluntarily listen actively. You may think it is simple, but it is common that instead of paying full attention to the other person’s communication , our thoughts and beliefs contaminate our interpersonal communication. So the next time you are in front of someone, take a few minutes to observe their body language, their gestures, their looks, their expressions and the emotions that the other person is trying to convey.

3. The wheel of life

The wheel of life is one of the most effective techniques to know ourselves and to correct those areas of our life with which we are not happy. Performing this exercise takes no more than 20 minutes and its operation is very simple. Its effectiveness is such that even experts in personal development use this technique.

This technique helps us to know what our desires and needs are , which are often hidden by social demands. Therefore, it is a way of empowering ourselves in front of life, of putting down on paper what we really want and what is important to us. In this way we can have a clearer vision of where we want to go, from outside our head.

To do this exercise, we need a sheet of paper containing a circle so that we can put which areas of our life are important to us and we want to work on . For example, work, friends, partner, family, leisure… Then, it is necessary to evaluate each variable with a score that shows our preference. For example, if work is the most important thing, we will put the number “1”. Once we are clear about the order of preference, it is necessary to write down different actions to improve our life.

4. Vipassana meditation

There are different types of meditation, and although many people think that this technique only serves to calm us down, some of these meditative practices are really useful for improving EQ. One of the best known is vipassana meditation . In fact, vipassana is a term from the Pali language that means “observation” or “clear vision”.

Vipassana meditation emphasizes awareness and attention to the breath , focusing the mind on the air that comes in and out through the nose. When the mind begins to ruminate, it is necessary to label the thoughts and emotions, observe them and let them go, accepting them.

5. Stop for a minute

Emotional regulation is also one of the keys to EQ and interpersonal relationships. But it is not always possible to stop for a minute in our lives to analyze the present moment. Imagine you are in a collective bargaining process at work and things get out of hand. The atmosphere has become tense and you are not reaching an agreement because there is a certain tone of tension. You may want to stop for a moment, clear your mind and respond and negotiate with your head rather than your heart.

You can learn to relax and control your emotions with one-minute meditation. Once you have perfected it, you can use it anytime and anywhere. In the example above (collective bargaining), if things get out of hand, it is always better to take a 5-minute break so that the waters return to their course and the bargaining can be resumed with serenity . In that situation you could take advantage of that break to practice this exercise.

5. Read a book

EQ skills can be worked on and improved over time. If you want to enjoy its benefits, it is a good option to read one of the many books on this subject. These texts are a good way to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge , and you will surely notice the difference. The variety of books is such that you can even help your children develop their EQ if you wish.

In the following article you will find a list of editorial works that you are sure to find useful: “10 books on emotional intelligence that you need to read”.

6. Sign up for a workshop

If reading a book on EQ is a great way to improve your emotional and relationship skills, even better is to sign up for a personal growth course on this subject from the many available. The truth is that this is a good way to do group practices of an experiential and experiential nature.

In addition, you can also opt, for example, for any of the courses in Emotional Intelligence given by specialised centres, which allow you to receive quality training in an online format and from any place with an Internet connection. Thus, people interested in perfecting the mental skills linked to EQ can get involved in a very accessible and quality training program.

7. Attend coaching sessions

In addition to these last two options, it is possible to attend coaching sessions to develop your EQ. A coach is an expert in personal development who will help you to get to know yourself better and develop your emotional skills, as well as accompany you in the process of change to improve your well-being and overcome your limiting beliefs. The coach will provide you with tools that will help you improve your EQ and also achieve your goals and objectives. If the coach has university training as a psychologist, so much the better.