Do you want to learn to read the minds of others? Of course, we will not give you a master class on telepathy - this is from the realm of fantasy. But how to develop the ability to better understand the hidden messages of your interlocutors, we will tell you. The floor is given to our expert - psychologist.

Emotional intelligence: what it is and how to develop it (master class from a psychologist)

A person learns 80% of information about the world around and people's relationships not with the help of words, but thanks to the incoming non-verbal information - that is, through sensations, images, emotions. That is why, when making decisions, we often focus not on accurate, verified information, but on the first impression, intuition and hidden messages emanating from our interlocutors.

Emotional intelligence is responsible for recognizing these "messages", which not only helps to read the emotions of other people, but also to better understand their own states and feelings. Let's try?

The term "emotional intelligence" was first used by John Mayer and Peter Salovey, defining it as "the ability to perceive and express emotions, understand and explain them, assimilate emotions and thoughts, and regulate their own emotions and the emotions of others."

Two heads are better

Our brain is so arranged that two "minds" are harmoniously combined in it: one rational (neocortex)who is responsible for thinking, the other emotional (limbic system) - in his "conduct" feelings and emotions.

Emotions are vital to us, bring many benefits and enable us to lead fulfilling lives. They help us to learn from our own experience, relying on memories, to learn new things more effectively, because emotionally colored, personally significant information is always remembered better than a stream of various information and facts that does not affect us in any way. 

Emotions also help us interpret people's feelings by anticipating their actions. Thus, they perform a protective function, because understanding the further development of events, we can react faster and more efficiently to the situation. This means that emotions and feelings encourage us to act, allowing us to make decisions faster. 

Summary: emotions help us learn new things, understand others and encourage us to take action. 

However, the emotional mind can also have a negative impact on our judgment, causing us to act irrationally. After all, he is much faster than the rational one - he rushes to act, without delaying a second and without stopping to think what he is actually doing. Such haste often leads to unwanted actions and consequences, which we then have to regret. 

Emotional intelligence allows you to keep your rational and emotional mind in balance, allowing you to focus on achieving your goals.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has five basic components

  1. Awareness and understanding of your own emotions - the ability to distinguish one emotional state from another ("I am angry / worried", "I am upset / confused") and understand the reasons for their occurrence ("This happens because ...").
  2. Managing your condition: the ability to keep yourself within the framework that contributes to successful adaptation and achievement of goals, to evoke and maintain desirable emotions and keep unwanted ones under control.
  3. Expression control - the ability to control the external manifestations of one's emotions (facial expressions, gestures, posture, intonation).
  4. Intuitive understanding of other people's emotions - the ability to understand the emotional state of a person on the basis of external manifestations (facial expressions, gestures, sound of a voice) or intuitive sensitivity to the internal states of other people.
  5. Managing other people's emotions is the ability to evoke certain emotions (positive or negative) in people, to minimize the manifestations of those that prevent us from communicating with them and solving our problems.

Degree of development

How do you know if your emotional intelligence is well developed? Answer the following statements honestly - evaluate how typical they are for you.

  1. You like to observe the behavior of other people, trying to understand the characters and actions of others. 
  2. You are curious and eager to learn new things, open to change and ready to take risks.
  3. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You try to improve the former and do not let the latter guide your actions and interfere with relationships.
  4. You understand the reasons for your feelings and do not try to blame others for your own problems and failures.
  5. You are ready to help other people, you know how to give without expecting a reward and gratitude.
  6. You enjoy life and you enjoy what you have.
  7. You can easily switch and not dwell on failure.
  8. You can easily calculate the emotions of other people by their eyes and gestures, but you know how not to get infected by their mood. 
  9. You trust your intuition and are ready to do something just at the behest of your heart.
  10. You know how to say "No" and you can refuse a person a request when you cannot fulfill it.
  11. You easily adapt to new conditions and adjust to the situation.
  12. You are not afraid to make a mistake, you benefit from the experience gained and are always ready to admit your guilt. 
  13. You do not strive for perfection, but rejoice at what you have already achieved, without getting hung up on a level that you have not reached.
  14. You know how to listen and hear, do not impose your opinion on others and do not criticize your interlocutors.
  15. You allow yourself to rest, do not carry problems home from work and, on the contrary, from home to work and keep stress under control.

The more “Yes” answers, the higher your emotional intelligence. If your answers “No” prevail, do not rush to get upset, because it can be easily developed.

Sensual training 

Emotional intelligence can be developed throughout life through specific exercises.

1. Expansion of the vocabulary of emotions

Try to list in writing as many different emotional states as possible, concentrating on the smallest changes in the strength of their manifestation (irritation, anger, rage) and tone (anxiety, anticipation, anticipation).

Then remember one situation for each of the written emotions, describe the reasons for their occurrence, your thoughts and physical sensations, the actions that preceded and followed this state.

By the way, you will be surprised, but anyone can easily name more than 50 emotions. You can arrange a competition with your loved ones, trying to break this "record". 

2. Developing awareness

To do this, you need to do a special exercise 1-2 times a week. Cover your ears with your hands and concentrate all your attention on what surrounds you. Examine individual details of the environment until the picture becomes clearer and you begin to notice those little things that you never knew existed. 

After that, close your eyes, and concentrate your attention on the sounds around you. We usually focus on those that enter the one and a half meter zone. As soon as you begin to expand it with an effort of will, you will almost immediately notice the nuances of mechanical and natural sounds that were previously uninteresting to your ears. 

Now close both your ears and your eyes and concentrate on your physical sensations - until you feel how your body begins to interact with the environment and react to the slightest changes in it.

3. Improving self-esteem

To begin with, master the pose of perfection - a position of the body that activates the production of dopamine (the hormone of pleasure) and makes you feel confident and purposeful. Straighten your back, raise your arms and head up. Freeze in this position and do not change it for 60–80 seconds. 

Then admit your weaknesses: you need to learn to accept and be aware of all those negative, uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions that you have to experience in a given situation. Do not try to suppress your own emotions - so they will only linger for a while, and then break out of control.

It is better to start an emotional diary in which you will write down the emotions you experienced during the day, as well as the reasons for their occurrence every day. So you can better understand what is happening to you.

Learn to Praise Yourself: Every night, take stock of the day and find 5 things you can praise yourself for. Begin the phrase with the words "I am done ...", "I could ...". This will help you learn to notice your own achievements, developments and changes.

4. Development of motivation  

Take a piece of paper and write 10 things to do that you enjoy doing. Rephrase each case so that only the verb remains. For example, if you enjoy spending time with friends or family, the appropriate verbs might be “communicate” and “interact

If you like to be in new places, meet people, learn something new, then these can be the words "learn", "observe" or "experiment". Based on the verbs you receive, draw up an action plan, devote a week to each of them, and take actions that reflect them. This will help you develop the ability to enjoy life and enjoy the moment. 

5. Development of empathy 

Empaths (those who are able to understand the feelings of others, empathize) easily share their emotions with the people around them, so they can easily find a common language with the most closed and negative interlocutor. Learn not only to listen, but also to hear the person, pay attention to the details and try to draw a conclusion from each conversation - what did your interlocutor want to get and whether he got what he wanted. 

An unusual exercise will help you develop empathy. List five historical figures that interest you. Then list the emotions (at least 10) that you think the person experienced throughout (or part) of his life and why.

Answer yourself to the questions: have you begun to better understand the actions and motives of these historical figures, what feelings do these people evoke in you now? Share your observations with friends or have a discussion evening where you can play this "game."


Observing yourself, you will probably notice that some emotions prevail in your life - you experience them more easily and more often, and some, on the contrary, seem to be prohibited. And this is really so: we strive to oust emotions "forbidden" from childhood from the consciousness, sometimes replacing them with others.

Your task is to realize each of them and find their useful purpose, because emotion is just a signal from our brain that we need to recognize and use to achieve goals in a given situation.