7 Practical ways to Improve your EQ

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
There is a growing urgency to be practicing Emotional Intelligence now more than ever before. Sometimes it takes an obvious physical pain before we realize that we need to give support both emotionally and physically.

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together in the same world at peace.


What we need to be aware of is how isolated so many people are currently feeling. I am seeing more and more evidence of this in our teenagers. I encourage everyone to tune into those around you and look deeper at the messages they are sending as so often they are a cry for help.

For myself, I know I have been reflecting more instead of just reacting in various situations. I go about noticing my thoughts, feelings and actions, try to be more intentional with doing what I mean, and then being more purposeful by doing things for a particular reason. Developing our EQ is a journey and we continue on this path to make the world a better place.

This article outlines the 8 competencies and how to put them into perspective going forward with these 7 practical ways to improve your EQ.

1. Practice observing how you feel

In the process of rushing from one errand to the next and going about our daily tasks, we often lose touch with our emotions. We then end up on ‘auto-pilot’, reacting to situations instead of responding appropriately. This is why it is so important to take time out to stop and observe how we are truly feeling. This will create an awareness that will help us to move forward.

2. Pay attention to how you behave

As mentioned above, a key part of improving our EQ is learning to manage our emotions properly which is something we can only do if we are consciously aware of them – they, therefore, go hand in hand. While practicing your emotional awareness, you also need to pay attention to how you behave.

3. Take responsibility for both your feelings and behavior

This is probably not only the most challenging step but also the most helpful. As emotions and behavior come from you, you’re the one responsible for them. Once you start accepting responsibility for how you feel and how you behave, this will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.

4. Practice responding rather than reacting

Reacting is an unconscious process where we experience an emotional trigger and behave in an unconscious way that expresses or relieves that emotion (eg. feeling irritated and snapping at a person who interrupts you). Responding is a conscious process that involves noticing how you feel, then deciding how you want to behave (eg. feeling irritated, explaining to the person how you feel, why it isn’t a good time to interrupt you, and when would be better).

5. Practice empathizing with yourself and others

Empathy is about understanding why someone feels or behaves in a certain way, and being able to respond appropriately. It applies to ourselves and other people, and being able to practice this ability will improve your EQ. Start by practicing with yourself. When you notice yourself feeling or behaving in a certain way, ask “Why do I think I’m feeling like this/doing this?” At first, your response might be, “I don’t know”. Just keep paying attention to your feelings and behavior, and you’ll start to notice different answers coming through.

6. Create a positive environment

Make time to notice what is going well and where you feel grateful in your life. Creating this positive environment not only improves your quality of life, but it can be contagious to the people around you too.

7. Remember EQ is a lifetime process

As you already know, EQ isn’t something you develop once and then drop. It is a lifetime practice and it is possible to keep improving. Even when you feel like you’ve mastered these steps, remember to keep practicing, and you’ll reap the benefits of EQ for the rest of your life. Practicing EQ is like a fitness regime: the more you train the stronger your muscles; the fitter you become and the better you look. It is the same when we practice EQ: the more we practice, the stronger our EQ becomes and, as a result, we show up as a better version of ourselves for the world. In the same way, when we stop practicing we very quickly lose our tone and fitness.

These 7 practical ways will hopefully put practicing EQ into a clearer perspective for you. Feel welcome to email me if you have any questions or would like to know more.