Tips to Practice Emotional Intelligence 1: Awareness

string-ideaWhat can we each DO to put emotional intelligence into action?  Specifically, concretely, what are steps to take?

At Six Seconds, our vision is one billion people practicing the skills of emotional intelligence by 2039.  So I asked our world-wide network of certified practitioners, “What would you recommend for people to practice EQ?”  Here is the first list – more to come.

I’ve edited these and organized them based on the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, where step 1 is increasing self-awareness, a concept we call “Know Yourself.”  In this framework, there are two skills that enable this step:

Enhance Emotional Literacy — increase awareness & understanding of feelings.

Recognize Patterns — identify recurring reactions of thought, feeling, and action.

(click the links on those 2 competencies for more explanation, tips, and tools)


16 Tips for Emotional Intelligence: Awareness


morninglory_mirrorAcknowledge emotions, not as good or bad, right or wrong but as a source of information that help you gain self-awareness.

Tang Weng Liang


1. Get great at unpacking your emotions and thinking. This is about stopping and asking “wait a minute, what’s going on for me here?  What am I feeling? What am I thinking? And what does all this mean for me?”

2. Notice your own strengths – and live into your strengths more fully.

Carolyn Meacher


Train yourself to sense your emotions via sensations in your body.

Shabbir Latif


Be an observer of yourself.  Pay attention to what you feel and how those feelings contribute, distract, enhance, or challenge you.  Awareness is the first step.  :-)

Dawn Karner


Build your emotional vocabulary.

Robin Parker Meredith


Start with self-awareness. Acknowledge your emotions, and where you feel them in your body and name them.  Give yourself one minute, several times during the day when you feel uneasy.

Then, a second step is to ask yourself: “What I can do about it?” Allow just one minute to come up with a solution!

Irina Sergeeva


EQ is an “inside job” that begins with the foundation of enhanced self-awareness into your unique patterns of behavior that then fuels your choices with the goal of supporting your values and purpose in living. Turn inward, be curious about who you really are, and then show up to support the change you wish to be in the world. This self-study can encourage and support your tools of choice and then allow you to reach your potential in giving your best self!

Marilynn Jorgensen


I have myself used ‘Urgent Mindfulness’ as a tool for self awareness, where you, ‘Pay attention to the thoughts-feelings in the present moment, with purpose, non-judgmentally, as if your life depended on it.’

Sandeep Kelkar


Notice when you set yourself up for low EQ moments that become low EQ habits – two common traps:

1) Passing critical judgment on others (e.g. “How stupid is that?” or  “What in the world was he/she thinking?”)  This kind of comment is a crutch to elevate or affirm one’s superiority over another person’s choices, intelligence…. The EQ moment begins when we learn to recognize the habit and then re-train ourselves to restrain from making any negative comment at all.  All part of Recognizing Patterns. 

2) Taking offense.  This is another Recognizing Patterns area is a struggle for many of us.  In today’s world we have been taught to take offense at event the most trivial matters.  From taking offense, and feeling offended, people quickly escalate to criticism, judgment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, hurting which hurts relationships and even our own health.  The EQ moment:  Notice the other person’s comment or action, and instead of taking offence and taking it personally, just consider it as data:  “Hmmmm, that’s interesting.”  Or, “I wonder what’s going on for her?”  Or, “Wow, he must be really stressed…”

Marek Helstrom


Start by noticing what you’re feeling, right now. Observe without judgment (evaluating feelings as “good” “bad” “right” “wrong) or trying to ‘fix’ anything; just notice your emotions a few times per day.

Cheryl McKenzie-Cook


In the office, keep a feelings whiteboard divided for 2-3 parts of the day – morning, noon, evening – and list six or eight feelings.  Then ask people to check mark their feelings during the day.  See where the max check marks land.

Dexter Valles


Be comfortable first with your emotions – especially because emotions have functions: Emotions are not just about feeling something… What’s the message of the emotion?

Belinda Charles


One thing I do is that when I find myself reacting to a situation (my voice begins to rise, I find myself getting impatient, etc.), I take a moment and name the emotion(s) I’m feeling (to myself, of course *smile*), and then I try to determine which of my core values is being challenged and thus resulting in my emotional response.  This allows me to dive straight to the heart of why a situation is affecting me and begins to move me out of reaction and into a more considered response.

Nicole Tervalon


Sit silently for 15 minutes every day and do self-introspection.  The reflection is a first step towards practicing EQ.

Avtar Saksena

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