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Five ways to increase your emotional intelligence

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Reduce negative emotions. The ability to effectively manage our own negative
emotions is key to ensuring they don’t overwhelm us and affect our judgement. To
change the way we feel about a situation, we must first change the way we think about it. If a colleague does not return a call, you might think they are ignoring you; the reality may be that they are simply busy.

Stay cool and manage stress. Most of us experience some level of stress in life. How
we handle stressful situations can make the difference between being assertive versus reactive and composed versus frazzled.

Be assertive and express difficult emotions when necessary. There are times in all of our
lives when it’s important to set our boundaries appropriately, so people know where we
stand. These can include exercising our right to disagree (without being disagreeable),
saying ‘no’ without feeling guilty, setting our own priorities, getting what we paid for, and
protecting ourselves from duress and harm.

Stay proactive, not reactive in the face of a difficult person. Most of us encounter unreasonable people in our lives. We may be ‘stuck’ with a difficult individual at work or
at home. It’s easy to let a challenging person affect us and ruin our day. The key is to stay proactive and avoid being reactive. The point is to remind yourself that people do what they do because of their own issues.

Bounce back from adversity. Life is not always easy. How we choose the way we think, feel, and act in relation to life’s challenges can often make the difference between hope versus despair, optimism versus frustration, and victory versus defeat. With every
challenging situation we encounter, ask questions such as ‘What is the lesson here?’ ‘How can I learn from this experience?’

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