How to develop emotional intelligence - a practical guide

Explore how you can improve your relationships and self-awareness by developing your emotional intelligence - step by step.

Picture of Av: Amie Jow | Dipl. Coach (ICF)
By: Amie Jow | Dipl. Coach (ICF)

All too often, we find ourselves lost or lost in our own emotions. Here, emotional intelligence (EQ) becomes our beacon, lighting the way to deeper self-knowledge and a more genuine connection in our relationships (Mayer et al., 2004).

If you feel that anger or frustration easily overtakes you, or if you find it challenging to read the emotions of others in different situations, these may be indications that your emotional intelligence needs an overhaul.

For those who struggle with emotional intelligence, relationships can feel like minefields, misunderstandings can easily lead to distance, and you're left with a sense of emptiness looming over your life, without being able to put your finger on what's not working...

Facing these difficulties can not only negatively affect your personal relationships, but also make it difficult to maintain a sense of inner peace. Strengthening your emotional intelligence means learning to manage your own emotions more effectively and developing a deeper awareness of the emotional state of others.

 In this article, we will explore the transformative potential of emotional intelligence and how you can take steps to deepen your understanding and management of your emotions.

What is emotional intelligence?

Imagine having a built-in navigation system for your emotions and relationships - that's exactly what high emotional intelligence gives you. EQ is about understanding and managing your own emotions and being able to read other people's emotions. It means being able to identify and understand your own thoughts and feelings, and to deal with them in a healthy way even when it's difficult, especially when it's difficult! It is also about having the ability to put yourself in the shoes of others and understand their perspectives and feelings. In other words, EQ is like a skill set for creating positive relationships and navigating through life's roller coasters successfully.

The comparison between traditional IQ and EQ is interesting. While IQ focuses on cognitive ability and analytical intelligence, EQ measures the ability to understand and manage emotions, both one's own and those of others. In other words, IQ is more focused on logic and problem solving, while EQ is about social skills, empathy and self-awareness. Both are important, but it is often EQ that determines the success and satisfaction of our personal and professional relationships. Combining high IQ with high EQ can be a powerful combination for successfully navigating life's challenges.

Who needs to work on their emotional intelligence?

The truth is that everyone can benefit from developing their understanding of themselves and others. We all have areas of friction, both within ourselves and with others. Emotional intelligence gives us the tools to navigate through our personal challenges with compassion and understanding, fostering deeper connections and a greater sense of belonging. So join us here and get inspired by concrete steps towards a stronger emotional intelligence!

Imagine a world where misunderstandings are met with compassion, conflicts are resolved with empathy and understanding. That's the essence of what emotional intelligence can bring to your life - a world where you embrace your emotions, honor your experiences, and connect with others on a deeper level. 

Cultivating emotional intelligence is a journey that requires a soft and accepting attitude towards oneself. It is about being open to exploring and understanding your own emotions, both positive and challenging, without judging or denying them. It is important to allow yourself to be human and to see every step along the way as a success, no matter how small it may seem.

Let empathy lead the way

Empathy is a central part of emotional intelligence, and it is important to be compassionate towards your own and others' feelings. By using loving and encouraging language with ourselves, we can foster a sense of self-acceptance and self-compassion that is crucial to our emotional health.

By approaching your emotions with awareness and openness, you can open the doors to a world where you not only feel at ease but also trust your own ability to face adversity and challenges in your emotional life and in your relationships.

Six basic steps you can take to start boosting your emotional intelligence

1. identify your emotions

Being aware of your own emotions and how they affect your behaviour is fundamental to managing them in a healthy way (Mayer et al., 2004). Research has shown that people with high emotional intelligence have an increased ability to recognize and interpret their own emotions. By being aware of how your emotions affect your behavior, you can take control of your reactions and make more conscious decisions in different situations.

2. communicate honestly and openly

A key component of developing emotional intelligence is the ability to communicate honestly and openly about your feelings and needs. Studies have shown that open communication can help create an atmosphere of authenticity and trust in relationships (Lopes et al., 2006).

The first person you need to be honest with is yourself. Take time for reflection, starting with yourself and your inner life! Then, by opening up communication with others despite some fear of judgment or misunderstanding, you can create an atmosphere of authenticity and trust in your relationships - it usually goes much better than you think!

3. put yourself in the perspective of others

Being able to understand the perspective of others is an important part of emotional intelligence. By empathizing and understanding the feelings and experiences of others, you can build stronger bonds and increase your ability to navigate through social interactions (Davis et al., 1996). When you really listen to others and try to understand their perspectives, you increase your ability to create meaningful and rewarding relationships.

4. Take a step back and reflect

Give yourself time to reflect before reacting to emotions and conflicts to deal with situations in a more constructive way (Baumeister et al., 2007). When I take a step back and reflect on my feelings and reactions, I can see the situation from a different perspective and find more balanced and effective ways to deal with it.

In cases where the situation has already happened and was too much for you to handle in the way you wanted, take it easy! It is not too late! In fact, you can still learn from the situation AND change your feelings about it afterwards! Again, take the time to think about the connections and reasons for your feelings and how they came about. Don't forget to push yourself to look at your counterpart with empathy and understanding. Settle on the strategies that you think can help you in similar situations and trust that you are taking a small step forward towards greater emotional intelligence.

5. Don't overlook your dialog

It is important to focus on the progress and lessons learned in our emotional development, rather than being critical of ourselves for what we have not yet achieved. By focusing on what we have done and accomplished, we can strengthen our self-esteem and motivation to continue to grow and develop.

By using positive and encouraging language with ourselves and focusing on our progress, we allow ourselves to pursue our goals with confidence and self-assurance.

Strengthen your inner leadership by focusing on your strengths. By seeing every step of your emotional journey as an opportunity for personal growth, you can create a more positive and healthy view of yourself and your emotions. 

6. Get help from the experts

Seeking support and guidance from experts is like having a map and a compass as you embark on a journey through your inner landscape. Working with a therapist or coach can give you tools and techniques to manage your emotions in a more adaptive way and create more harmonious and satisfying relationships with others.

A therapist can provide insights and tools to strengthen self-awareness and self-regulation, which is fundamental to high EQ. By working with a therapist, people can learn to better understand and manage their emotions, which can lead to a better quality of life and more meaningful relationships. Therapies such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and psychodynamic therapy focus on exploring and understanding deeper feelings and emotional needs.

The best type of therapy depends on the individual's specific needs, goals and preferences. It can be valuable to explore different forms of therapy and work with a qualified therapist to find the best approach to increasing one's EQ.

Hiring a coach to increase your emotional intelligence can be invaluable for many people. Through individual coaching, you can get personalized guidance and support to understand and manage your emotions in a more constructive way. A coach can help you identify patterns of behavior and thoughts that may hinder the development of high EQ and support you in finding the tools to overcome them. In addition, a coach can offer an external and objective view of situations, which can contribute to greater self-awareness and thus better conditions for strengthening your EQ. Overall, hiring a coach can lead to increased awareness, self-regulation and improved relationships in both personal and professional contexts. For those who want to know more about what a life coach can support you with and how life coaching works, you can do this.

Podcasts and books for Inspiration on the topic of Emotional Intelligence

Podcasts and books on the topic of emotional intelligence and relationships can be a goldmine and a great source of information on your journey, so read a book, listen to a podcast and see where it takes you!

Tips on books:

- "Handbook of Emotion Regulation, Second Edition" by James J. Gross
- "Emotional Intelligence Habits" by Travis Bradberry
- "Emotions as power or obstacle - a handbook on emotion regulation" by Pia Dellson and Pär Ström.
- "Attachment in relationships : understand and change your patterns" by Sue Johnson
- "Why has no one told me this?" by Brené Brown

Tips on podcasts:

- "The Gottman Institute Relationship Podcast" with Drs. John and Julie Gottman
- "The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast" with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
- "The Psychology Podcast" with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman
- "The Relationship School Podcast" with Jayson Gaddis
- "The Art of Charm" with Jordan Harbinger and AJ Harbinger


By embracing the challenge of developing your emotional intelligence, you open the door to a more harmonious and meaningful existence. Every step you take towards understanding and managing your inner self is a step closer to achieving a deeper connection with ourselves and others. 

I hope that this article has been able to empower you in the direction you need to take to progress on your journey towards an increased emotional well-being. intelligence. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here.



  1. Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004) Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications, Psychological Inquiry, 15(3), 197-215.
  2. Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., Côté, S., & Beers, M. (2006). Emotion regulation abilities and the quality of social interaction. Emotion, 6(3), 354-359.
  3. Davis, M. H. (1996) Empathy: A social psychological approach. Westview Press.
  4. Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., DeWall, C.. N., & Zhang, L. (2007). How emotion shapes behavior: Feedback, anticipation, and reflection, rather than direct causation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11(2), 167-203.
  5. Greenberg, L. S., & Harris, R. (2014). Emotion-focused therapy: Coaching clients to work through their feelings. American Psychological Association..

About the author

Picture of Amie Jow
Amie Jow

Dipl. Coach (ICF) and life coach to help you understand yourself better, strengthen your self-image and achieve a more fulfilling life. Amie offers customized coaching services to help you find your inner strength and clarity in your choices.

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