The term ‘Emotional intelligence’ refers to your ability to understand the motivations of others, to understand your own emotions and motivations and to communicate these things effectively. While a lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of ‘IQ’, it is actually EQ that is in many ways more useful in day-to-day life as it is what enables you to communicate and get on well with others, as well as to influence those around you and work well as part of a team. It is critical for a successful career and also integral to any successful relationship – romantic or otherwise.

But how do you increase EQ? There are a few methods but here we are going to examine one of the most straightforward: mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

For the uninitiated, mindfulness is a form of meditation that is taught as part of ‘CBT’ or ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’. This is currently one of the most popular psychotherapeutic approaches for treating a range of mental health disorders such as anxiety, phobias and depression.

The general idea behind CBT is that our emotions and behaviors are controlled by our thoughts. If you are experiencing anxiety for instance then, there is a good chance that this is being created by ruminations and thoughts that are causing you to become anxious. A phobia of heights meanwhile might be caused by thoughts like ‘I’m going to fall’.

In order to help patients to identify such thought processes, CBT teaches ‘mindfulness’ as a form of self-reflection. This involves sitting quietly and simply ‘observing’ the contents of your own thoughts as they pass by. Unlike other forms of meditation, you are not trying to ‘quiet’ your thoughts, instead you are just noting them and reflecting on them.

The next step is then to try and alter those thoughts by challenging their assumptions and using positive affirmations, ultimately resulting in healthier behavior.

How This Can Help Train EQ

So what has all this got to do with EQ? Well basically, emotional intelligence boils down to your ability to observe the thoughts and feelings of others and then to act accordingly. At the same time, it also incorporates the ability to manage your own emotions.

And all of this can be aided by listening to your own thoughts. When you are aware of your own thought processes you will not only be more aware of how your own mind works (and how to influence your feelings) but you will also have more insight for how the minds of other people work. Learn mindfulness and you will be one step closer to mastering emotional intelligence.