Emotional intelligence should be a core component of how we relate to others. Because it’s something that is so important, it’s essential that everyone makes an effort to increase their emotional intelligence. These four steps are a great starting point to becoming more emotionally intelligent and will help to improve your relationships with others.

Reflect on your own emotions
Next time you start getting angry or upset over something, take a step back after the fact and reflect on your own emotions. Why did that make you get upset? Think back to others time you’ve gotten angry or upset. Is there a connection between this event and those other times? Identifying your own emotions and reactions helps you to be more mindful about how you react to others and helps you better control yourself.

Be observant
Having reflected on your emotions helps you to be more observant of your current emotions. You’ll be able to identify your true feelings when situations arise. Often, people mistake emotions for other ones, which can cause feelings to build up until an explosion occurs. If you discover new things about your emotions, be sure to take note of them and repeat the reflection step.

The pause
A simple step and one that is incredibly effective is the pause. It can be as little as just taking a minute to pause and think before speaking. Pausing before speaking can save you from saying something you’ll regret later during the heat of the moment. Even in good situations, when something seems like a great opportunity, we can be quick to jump on it without thinking first.
While the practice sounds easy, it can be much harder to deploy. Because it’s often when tensions are high that the pause needs to be used, it can be hard to take a step back in those situations. With this practice, try to start small and incorporate a pause when replying to emails until it becomes a habit.

Ask yourself why
Empathy and compassion are essential to every relationship, but sometimes it can be a struggle to show those qualities to others. Putting yourself into the shoes of someone else is difficult,  especially in situations you haven’t experienced. To help remedy this, ask yourself why questions. Why does this person feel the way they do? Why do I feel differently than they do? Answering these kinds of questions will help you to understand better how they’re feeling, which makes you able to emphasize with them.