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Understanding and Improving Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| March 15, 2022

Learn more about emotional intelligence and how to improve your EQ.

It’s no secret that refined soft skills are crucial to effectively communicating with others. Soft skills, like levelheadedness and active listening, allow us to maintain an even keel and relate to different people and perspectives in a more productive way. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at one specific soft skill: emotional intelligence.


What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

Emotional intelligence, sometimes referred to as your emotional quotient (EQ for short), is “the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways.”

Much like an IQ measures your ability to reason and problem solve, EQ measures your ability to understand and regulate emotions. A greater emotional quotient means you’re more likely to be able to productively communicate with others, control your own emotional responses, deal with stressful situations and relate to people in a more empathetic way. Signs of higher emotional intelligence include:

  • The ability to identify and vocabulary to express specific feelings.
  • A clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • The ability to make mistakes—and comfortably move on from them.
  • Recognition of and power over negative thoughts.
  • Favoring growth over perfection.

Think of EQ as an emotional “it” factor—the extra something that draws you to certain people.

Types of Emotional Intelligence

While emotional intelligence manifests in a number of different ways, there are specific components of emotional intelligence.

  • Self-awareness. Being self-aware may seem fairly straightforward—you are aware of your own emotions—but strong emotional intelligence isn’t limited to understanding your thoughts and feelings. Good self-awareness also means recognizing how your thoughts and feelings impact others around you.  
  • Self-regulation. If you’ve ever stepped away from a heated discussion to collect your thoughts or taken a deep breath to reset triggered feelings, you understand the meaning of self-regulation. We talk about this a lot in our other blogs. Self-regulation is the next phase after self-awareness—you’ve identified an emotion, and you’re taking steps to manage it. 
  • Motivation. Well-developed EQ means acting with the right motivation. PsychCentral classifies the right motivation as being “inspired to accomplish goals because it helps you grow as a person, rather than doing it for outside rewards like money, fame, status or recognition.” If you choose to engage in less-than-comfortable discussions with the intent of learning something from your counterpart and growing as a person versus being right, that’s a sign of emotional maturity. 
  • Empathy. Empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of another.” Expressing empathy can run a fine line. It is a shared feeling (“I can see why that’s difficult for you”). It is not the same as sympathy or pity (“That really sucks”).
  • Social skills. Well-developed social skills are a good indicator of emotional maturity. If you’re adept at things like active listening, asking questions and expressing curiosity, chances are your EQ is high.


Why EQ Matters and How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is at the core of how we relate to others, to new ideas and to ourselves. It influences almost every sector of our lives—so you could say it’s pretty important. This study suggests that the ability to better relate to others can improve our spirits and make our lives happier. A high EQ can also mean we’re more equipped to handle difficult times, be more successful at work or even be less susceptible to bullying.

Whether or not you feel you have a high EQ, there’s always room for improvement! Try the following tips to help grow and strengthen your emotional intelligence:

  • Practice. Seek out opportunities to exercise the five core components of emotional intelligence.
  • Develop your curiosity. Ask questions, read more, learn new skills and ask “why” or “how” more frequently.
  • Get in your feelings. Learn to recognize, accept and put a name to how you’re feeling. Be as specific as possible (“I’m feeling overworked” versus “I’m tired”) and give yourself space to cope with those emotions. 
  • Read something new. Reading a new book, story or article is a great way to expose yourself to new perspectives and practice empathy. You can always start with some of our narratives.
  • Take a class. If you’re not sure where to begin, search for an online course focused on emotional intelligence to help get you started in the right direction.


A high emotional quotient can have major and lasting impacts on your life. Take the next steps to improving your EQ by learning to recognize, regulate and express your feelings.  Subscribe to our blog for more content built to help you engage with new ideas.


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