18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People

Emotional intelligence is a huge driver of success

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

2. You’re curious about people
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

3. You embrace change
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

4. You know your strengths and weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and how to lean into and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

5. You’re a good judge of character
Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

6. You are difficult to offend
If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

7. You know how to say no (to yourself and others)
Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification and avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is a major self-control challenge for many people, but “No” is a powerful word that you should unafraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

8. You let go of mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

9. You give and expect nothing in return
When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

10. You don’t hold grudges
The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

11. You neutralize toxic people
Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. But high-EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

12. You don’t seek perfection
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and should have done differently instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

13. You appreciate what you have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (in some cases by 23 percent). Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol play a major role in this.

14. You disconnect
Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even–gulp!–turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email with the power to bring your thinking (read: stressing) back to work can drop onto your phone at any moment.

15. You limit your caffeine intake
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, which is the primary source of a fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

16. You get enough sleep
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough–or the right kind–of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.

17. You stop negative self-talk in its tracks
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that–thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.

18. You won’t let anyone limit your joy
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Source: 18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People


9 ways to start a conversation with absolutely anyone

Flickr/Sustainable UMD

Flickr/Sustainable UMD

Did you know that public speaking is often rated the number one thing people are afraid of?

But while getting up on a stage in front of an audience can definitely be nerve wracking, many people find striking up a conversation one-on-one just as intimidating.

Maybe it’s the CEO of your company, a new colleague, the guy in the mail room, the girl from IT, or a stranger in the street. Whomever you want to talk to, there’s a way to strike up a conversation. And the best news is that it gets easier with practice.

Try these conversation starters to talk to absolutely anybody:

Skip the small talk. “What’s up with this weather?” and “How ’bout them [insert local sports team]?” are as bad as cheesy pick-up lines when it comes to starting a conversation. Avoid tired topics. Every situation is unique, so you should be able to find a unique conversation starter.

Ask for their opinion. Everyone has one! For someone you don’t know well, start with light subjects like the food, the music, the atmosphere, etc. “Do you like your Margaritas with salt or without? Do you watch horror movies? Do you like this song?” It’s probably best to stay away from really sticky subjects like politics unless you already know the person very well.

Ask for their advice or recommendations. This works very well when commenting on someone’s outfit or accessories, as in “What a great tie! Where did you get it?” or on the food, as in, “Everything looks good. What are you having?”

Ask them a question — that’s easy to answer. This is great when you know or find out that a person has expertise in a particular field. If you’re talking to your company’s IT guy, for example, you could ask him whether he’s the guy who installs hardware or software. But avoid asking anyone to explain something super complex or involved; if that’s where the conversation leads, great, but asking a really complicated question up front can feel demanding.

Comment on the environment. No matter where you are, there are things to comment on: the music, the food, the lights, the guests, and so on. Even if you are stuck in an elevator with someone, you can comment on the music, the speed, the crowdedness, etc.

Ask for an update. If you know someone a little or know them by reputation, ask for an update on something you know they’ve been doing, for example, “Oh, Mary mentioned you were taking swing dance classes. How’s that going?”

Ask open-ended questions whenever possible. If your question can be answered with a simple yes or no, don’t be surprised if that’s what you get. Having follow-up questions ready can also help the conversation flow. If you are asking what kind of food they’re having, for example, you might follow up with, “That sounds good. Do you know what kind of wine would go well with that?” Almost everything can be followed up with, “Why?” (Just don’t ask it too many times and end up sounding like a three-year-old!)

Ask a hypothetical question. These can be great conversation starters, but try to tie them into something happening at the event or in current events to avoid seeming too random. You might say something like, “I just saw this movie where all the laws were revoked for one day. What would you do if there were no laws for a day?”

Ask about their kids, pets, or hobbies. People love to talk about the things that are important to them. If you know that your boss loves to sail, asking him about his latest trip is a surefire way to get him talking.

Emotional Intelligence at Work: How Men and Women Interpret Feedback Differently

Knowing the differences can help you develop a personal strategy.

CREDIT: Getty Images

CREDIT: Getty Images

How do you respond to feedback?

A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review sheds some insight into different ways men and women react to the input of their peers. It was conducted by Margarita Mayo, Professor of Leadership at IE Business School in Madrid.

“Research has examined the short-term effects of peer feedback, but little is still known about how long these responses last,” said Mayo. “Because receiving feedback from peers calls into question our self-perceptions, it is not unreasonable to expect that some of us will develop psychological defense mechanisms.”

“In other words, receiving feedback involves some emotional fallout that may block the very same learning processes they are intended to boost.”
The Study

Mayo and her team put that theory to test by investigating how her students reacted to peer feedback about their leadership competencies. The study involved 221 students, 169 males and 52 females, with an average age of 30 and 6.5 years of previous work experience. The students were put into teams that worked together every day, giving them the chance to see one another in action and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

At the end of each trimester, students were asked to complete an online survey asking them to rate themselves and fellow team members using a 5-point response format (1 = completely disagree to 5 = completely agree) on the following four attributes:

shows confidence when facing unforeseen situations
knows when to work and when to relax
doesn’t feel stressed or frustrated when doing several tasks at the same time
actively seeks the opinions of others

The week following completion of each survey, students received the results. They could clearly compare their self-rating on the four competencies to the average rating from their teammates.

According to Mayo, all the students initially rated themselves higher than their peers. But over time, self-ratings declined in response to receiving feedback.

“Feedback from others leads us to compare others’ ratings with our own self-evaluations,” said Mayo. “This comparison triggers reflection about ourselves and a readjustment of our own inflated views so as to align them with the more realistic evaluation of others.”

But was there a noticeable difference between how women and men reacted?
How Men and Women Differed

In essence, women were much more sensitive to peer feedback than their male counterparts.

Mayo explains:

We found that women more quickly aligned their self-awareness with peer feedback, whereas men continued to rationalize and inflate their self-image over time…After six months, women perfectly aligned their views of leadership with their peers’ assessment.

In contrast, men continued to inflate their leadership qualities. For example, for self-confidence the pattern was quite different for men than it was for women. For men, it was 3.99 (self-rating) vs. 3.70 (peer rating) in January; 3.92 vs. 3.64 in April; and 3.84 vs. 3.64 in June. These results suggest that women close the gap between self-perception and peer feedback faster than men, demonstrating greater sensitivity to social cues.

Of course, the sample size of this study is small. And as an individual, you may respond much differently than other men and women. Still, the insights gleaned from this study can help you to design an effective strategy for taking feedback into account.

How so?
How Emotional Intelligence Helps

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) involves the ability to identify emotions and their influence, and then use that information to guide your decision making. Sharpening your EQ can be useful in applying research like this to your personal situation.

For example, let’s say you are greatly influenced by peer feedback, like the women in the study. This is a strength you can take advantage of. For example, actively seeking feedback will allow you to identify opportunities in which you can maximize use of your stronger attributes and minimize the weaker ones.

On the other hand, identifying the role another person’s emotions plays in giving that feedback may help you adjust your reaction. Perhaps they are being hard on you because they have trouble accepting constructive criticism–criticism that you gave (and they desperately needed).

In that case, their feedback can still help you determine if an adjustment in your delivery style is necessary. But you shouldn’t let your ability to empathize discourage you from taking on new challenges.

What if you overestimate your leadership abilities in comparison with your peers, like the men in the study? Maintaining a positive view in the midst of negativity can give leaders the courage and fortitude they need to move forward. (After all, at times the lone voice is the right one–regardless of what traditional leadership attributes that person possesses.)

However, recognizing others’ perspectives will keep you from overestimating your influence in a given situation. And those outside viewpoints can help you identify blind spots–and work to improve them.

What’s The Hardest Part About Being A Writer? This 1 Thing And 1 Thing Only

Who can relate?

CREDIT: Getty Images

CREDIT: Getty Images

Writer’s block.

The phrase has become a cultural symbol–meaning everything from feeling uninspired, to being creatively distraught and incapable of every producing anything worthwhile ever again.

It’s dramatic, to say the least.

But that’s about as far as the conversation typically goes. People proclaim, almost with great pride, “I have writer’s block! I can’t write!” as if this is a symbol of their hard work leading up to this point–their creative well running dry from producing too much brilliance.

Writing is an extremely under-appreciated and over-simplified art. The masses tend to think that writing is really just an extension of “knowing English” (or your native tongue), and that if you can speak, you can write.

While that’s great in theory, that’s like saying anyone with two eyes could be a designer.

The art of writing–and it’s subsequent conflict when the words don’t appear as they should–tends to get reduced down to 1 single component: You either have “writer’s block” or you don’t.

But where does the writer’s block come from?

Why did this imaginary, invisible blockade appear in the first place?

The reason why is as ethereal as the question itself: we all know, in general, where the “writer’s block” comes from–we just don’t want to admit it.

The hardest part about being a writer is the fact that everyone in your life thinks whatever you’re writing is about them.

That’s the truth–and as the artist, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

If you were a musician, and you composed a dark and haunting song in a minor key and played it for your closest friends, I’d wager their first thoughts would not be, “Oh, this in a minor key, and we had a fight last week, and I bet this song is about awful of a person I am!”

But if you’re a writer. Oh my, be prepared–before you’ve even finished the story, the essay, the paragraph even, you can see it in their eyes that they are full of wonder. It’s about them, isn’t it. Yes! It is! It has to be! There’s no way it’s not!

Right out the gate, no matter how much of a buffer you try to create, what with the descriptions and the adjectives and the setting, even still, the parallel will be drawn, and somehow, some way, whatever you’ve written will be, in the minds of each and every audience member, somehow about them.

Writing is unique in that these sorts of projects do not find their way into other art forms–the closest being music, but because of the lyrics–yes, the lyrics are about them!

Lyrics are writing.

When this imaginary “writer’s block” comes up, it’s worth questioning who you are imagining reading your work. Being creatively blocked is not your natural state. Something is trigger you from entering that state of flow where the words just fall onto the paper. So what is it? Who is reading your work? Whose judgment are you preemptively anticipating? Who do you fear will project themselves onto you and your writing, so much so that you can’t even get yourself to write it in the first place?

Like I said, the hardest part about being a writer is the fact that everyone in your life thinks whatever you’re writing is about them.

Sometimes, it is. Of course it is.

But most of the time, it’s not.

And unless your goal is to be a”writer” that never actually “writes anything,” you need to get over that. Fast.

Write from the heart, and let the opinions fall where they may.

How to Immediately Stop Being Average (at Anything)

It’s pretty simple when you think about it.

CREDIT Getty Images

CREDIT Getty Images

People think that being “average” at something is inherent. You’re either born “great” or you’re born average. And worse, once you become average, then you can no longer improve. They believe it’s set in stone and there’s nothing they can do about it. They are just, well, average.

Consider this…

The next time you walk into the office, and that little voice in your head says, “Oh yeah, I said I was going to spend my first 15 minutes organizing my calendar instead of browsing Facebook,” listen to that voice and do it.

And when you walk into your first meeting, and that little voice says, “Oh yeah, I said I wanted to become a better listener,” make it a point to listen to what others have to say before speaking up with your own opinions.

And when you get started on whatever big project you’re facing that day, and that little voice in your head says, “Oh yeah, I promised myself I would work on not being so distracted,” turn off all distractions and put yourself in a position to succeed.

When you leave the office and you think about what to have for dinner, and that little voice in your head says, “Well, I really want McDonald’s, but I said I was going to start eating healthier,” go to the grocery store and buy some chicken and vegetables to cook up instead.

And as you’re eating dinner, and that little voice in your head says, “I know I really should work on my startup idea,” instead of pouring yourself another glass of wine and turning on Netflix, make some tea and get to work.

And as you start to get ready for bed, and that little voice in your head says, “I said I wanted to get fit, but I couldn’t make it to the gym today,” then, even if you’re exhausted, listen to that voice and do four sets of pushups in the middle of your apartment.

When you hop in the shower, and that little voice in your head says, “I really should scrub behind my ears; I never scrub behind my ears,” listen to that voice and just scrub behind your ears, jeez.

As you fall into bed and reflect back on your day, you will see that “greatness” is not a destination. It is not a title. It is not some mountain peak you climb and then one day “attain.”

Greatness is a series of daily habits. It is a choice.

Which means if you want to stop being average, all you have to do is choose, in each and every moment, to listen to that little voice inside of you reminding you to be great.

15 Signs You’re Emotionally Intelligent (Without Even Realizing It)

How many of these describe you?
It’s all too easy to lose control of our emotions.

That’s why emotional intelligence (known as EI or EQ) is so important. The ability to identify emotions (in yourself and others), to understand their powerful effect, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior, can greatly increase the chances of successfully achieving your goals.

Like any ability, the skills of emotional intelligence are sharpened with practice. But might you already possess a high EQ, without even knowing it?

Take a look at the following statements, and see if they describe your own behavior and habits:

1. You think about feelings. A lot.
EI begins with reflection. You ask questions like, “Why am I feeling this way?” and “What caused me (or someone else) to say or do that?”

By identifying emotions and reactions, you’ve become more mindful and use that information to your advantage.

2. You ask others for perspective.
You understand that others see you much differently than you see yourself. It’s not about right or wrong, rather, understanding how perceptions differ.

3. You say thank you.
It’s surprising how widespread the lack of common courtesy is nowadays.

But not from you. You recognize the power of those two small words to change someone’s day, and to strengthen relationships–and that’s why you always take a few extra moments to express appreciation.

4. You know when to pause.
“The pause” is as simple as taking a moment to stop and think before you act or speak. (Easy in theory, difficult in practice.)

Of course, nobody’s perfect. But the pause has prevented embarrassment on many occasions, made you a better worker, and even saved your relationships.

5. You explore the “why.”
Instead of labeling people, you realize there’s reasons behind everyone’s behavior.

By developing qualities like empathy and compassion, you work to see a situation through another person’s eyes. You ask questions like, “Why does this person feel this way?” and “What’s going on behind the scenes?”

By doing this, you’re able to relate to almost anyone.

6. You’re open to criticism.
Nobody enjoys receiving negative feedback, including you.

But you know well that much criticism contains at least some element of truth, even when it’s not delivered in an ideal manner. Additionally, criticism teaches you much about how others think.

So, you keep your emotions in check and learn as much as you can.

7. You constantly consider how others will react.
From the moment you meet a person, you’re analyzing them. You just can’t help it.

But all of that observation leads to benefits: You realize that everything you say and do potentially affects others. And that means focusing not just on what you say, but how you say it.

8. You apologize.
You know that “I’m sorry” can be the two most difficult words to say in the English language. But you also recognize that they are extremely powerful.

By acknowledging your mistakes and apologizing when appropriate, you develop qualities like humility and authenticity, and naturally draw others to you.

9. You forgive.
While understanding that nobody’s perfect, you’ve learned that refusing to forgive is like leaving a knife in a wound–you never have the chance to heal.

Instead of hanging on to resentment while the offending party moves on with his or her life, you forgive–giving you the chance to move on, too.

10. You have an expansive emotional vocabulary.
By learning to express your feelings, you increase your ability to understand them. When you’re sad, you go deeper in trying to determine why: Am I disappointed? Frustrated? Hurt?

By expanding your active “emotional vocabulary,” you gain insight and learn to take action when necessary.

11. You praise sincerely and specifically.
By consistently looking for the good in others, and then specifically telling them what you appreciate, you inspire them. They feel good about working with you, and are motivated to give their best.

12. You work on controlling your thoughts.
It’s been said: “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head. But you can keep it from building a nest.”

When you experience a negative situation, you may not have control over your natural, emotional response. But you are in control in what happens next: You choose where to focus your thoughts.

Instead of dwelling on those feelings and thinking about how unfair the situation is, you turn it into a positive–and develop a plan to move forward.

13. You don’t freeze people in time.
Judging others too quickly, without taking context and extenuating circumstances into account, is a very destructive habit.

In contrast, you’re aware that everyone has a bad day, or even a bad year. By refusing to label others, your opinion of them remains fluid, and you get the most of your relationships.

14. You analyze your weaknesses.
It takes self-reflection, insight, and courage to identify weaknesses. But you won’t get better unless you work on them.

By analyzing situations in which you’ve lost control of your emotions, you develop your strategy for encountering those moments the next time.

15. You know that emotions can be used against you.
Just like any ability, emotional intelligence can be used both ethically and unethically. When others increase their skills, they could use that power for manipulative influence.

And that’s exactly why you should sharpen your own emotional intelligence–to protect yourself when they do.

Source : 15 Signs You’re Emotionally Intelligent (Without Even Realizing It)

8 Science-Backed Techniques That Will Make You More Likeable

We all want to be liked. After all, likeable people have more friends, are more respected by their employees and co-workers and close more deals.

While you can’t force or trick someone into liking you, you can make yourself more emotionally appealing to people. As Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability and Nail the Interview, puts it, “You can’t make anybody like you, but you can enable people to see what is likable about you. A lot of these things are not necessarily tricks that are meant to manipulate and deceive, but they’re honest ways we connect and make others feel good.”

Jack Schafer, a behavioral analyst, retired FBI agent and author of The Like Switch, says that good salespeople do these things instinctively, which is what makes them so successful.

“It’s little things that get people to like you,” he says. “You have to pay attention to those things.”

Here are eight science-backed techniques you can start employing immediately to make yourself a more appealing person:

1. Smile.
If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. Smiling triggers your brain to release endorphins, which makes you feel good. And guess what? Smiling is contagious.

“People read your body language and facial expressions far more than hear your words or hear your tone of voice,” Lederman says, “so that smile is immediately welcoming, disarming and relaxing to the other person.”

You shouldn’t just smile at everyone though, says Tim Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor. It has to come from a place of authenticity. However, you should always smile back at someone who is smiling at you.
“When you smile back at someone, what you are combining is friendliness and authenticity together,” he says. “Often, when we don’t expect a person to smile at us or we don’t know them very well, we look away. When you smile back at a person, you’re telling them, ‘I like you too,’ and that generates more likeability.”

2. Watch your body language.
We humans are just animals in fancy clothes. That’s why, along with smiling, you can use visual cues to let other people know that you’re not a threat. These include raising your eyebrows and tilting your head, Schafer says. The head tilt exposes your critical carotid artery to the other person, showing trust. Crazy, right?

“What typically happens is our brains are looking for threats in the environment,” he says. “We communicate nonverbally. When the brain sees friendly signals, it can focus on other things. It’s important to learn about these signals so we can use them appropriately.”

Stressful situations, such as job interviews or client meetings, trigger your flight-or-fight response, making you defensive and closed off. Intentionally utilizing these physical signals, along with smiling, overrides this heightened state.

“If you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves,” Schafer says. “We have to take the focus off us and put it onto the other person.”

There are many ways to accomplish this.

“Appreciation, recognition, a thank-you, direct eye contact, a compliment, asking their advice — all of these are ways in which we make someone feel good,” Lederman says.

In conversations, employ empathic statements. For example, if someone looks happy, say something such as, “looks like you’re having a good day,” Schafer says. If that person responds, “I just closed a deal,” you can reply with, “you must have worked hard.” He or she will walk away feeling good, and in turn, those feelings will reflect on you. Avoid direct flattery, as that can make people defensive.

Why are Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres so likeable? These are individuals who make others feel like the most important people in the world during a conversation. There are some simple ways to follow their examples:

“Leave your phone at your desk. If you have a meeting, turn it off and turn it over,” Sanders says. “Look that person straight in the eye and be fully engaged the entire conversation. If you’re at lunch, don’t pay attention to anyone else around you but your server.”

Even be aware of details such as where your cups are placed, Schafer says. If they are between you and other person, they can act as a barrier. Make sure they’re off to the side.

Remember, people love to talk about themselves, and when they feel good, they’ll feel good about you.

Open conversations by asking about the individual’s “wow project” — something he or she is working on and really excited about, Sanders says. “Listen until they’re tired of talking about their passion project. Usually, it’s five minutes, but it will be the best five minutes of that conversation.”

You should also be thoughtful about the types of follow-up questions you ask. “Ask a question in an open-ended format that shows you’re really interested in the answer,” Lederman says. “From that point, you can listen and ask additional questions, probe a little further — don’t interrogate — or you can listen and share. When you share something of yourself on the same topic, you start to show a connection, a relatability, a commonality, and people like people like them.”

You’re more likely to like those with whom you are familiar, such as co-workers, neighbors or that person you always see at the gym.

“The mere exposure effect is about familiarity, and that just means showing up,” says Theo Tsaousides, a neuropsychologist, speaker and author of Brainblocks: Overcoming the Hidden Barriers to Success.

Persistence is key here, but obviously don’t cross the line into stalking. For example, Tsaousides says frequenting the same cafe, sending emails and posting and/or commenting on a person’s social media accounts are some ways to show up.

“It’s a reminder that you’re thinking of them,” he says.

This is the concept that Lederman says increases all results. Whomever you meet, you should always be thinking about how you can help that person. It won’t always pay off immediately, but this philosophy has a cascading effect.

“Giving creates value. To apply the law of giving is to think about how you add value to others,” Lederman says. “When you’re in a business situation, your thinking is not, ‘how do I get the deal and what I need out of this customer?’ but ‘how am I adding value to this customer?'”

Sanders has a simple way to accomplish this goal: During every conversation, you should strive to give the gift of a piece of advice, he says. That will separate you from everyone else and make you more likeable.

You don’t necessarily have to agree with everyone, but you should go out of your way to make sure that every person feels like he or she has been heard. Treat feelings as facts, Sander says. For example, if a customer complains, seriously consider the feedback and let him or her know that it will be discussed internally.

“Psychologists would say that when you accept another person’s feelings and you learn to say ‘I’m sorry, I can only imagine how you feel,'” Sander says, “you deliver to them a powerful psychological benefit called validation, that they’re not alone or stupid for feeling that way.”

Lederman agrees. “What validation really does is give a sense of empowerment,” she says. “It tells how that response or thought had an impact, whether or not it’s agreed with.”

4 Better Ways to Say “Thank You”

Want a better way to express your gratitude? Give one of these options a try.



Numerous situations arise every single day that warrant our genuine appreciation and gratitude. But, most times, we allow a quick and standard “thanks” that’s mumbled in passing to fit the bill.

Of course, a “thank you” is always appreciated — but, we’ve all become so used to hearing those two little words, they’ve all but lost their meaning in many cases.

When someone does something that inspires you to offer an expression that seems even more heartfelt and sincere, you might find yourself struggling to demonstrate your thankfulness — without relying on those oft-repeated words.

So, here are four better ways to thank someone (that don’t involve those two little words you hear so often).

1. “I really appreciate that.”

Yes, this is essentially what the phrase “thank you” means. But, explicitly saying it to someone who helped you out can have a much greater impact than relying on that phrase that’s uttered over and over again.

You can also alter this phrase to say, “I really appreciate you,” to further demonstrate that you not only recognize that person’s efforts to help you out, but that you’re also extremely grateful for his or her assistance. You’re not only appreciative of what was done — you’re appreciative of who did it.

2. “You’re a lifesaver.”

Recognizing results is another great way to sincerely show your gratitude. What’s an easy way to accomplish that? Explaining how that person helped you out is the best place to start.

Perhaps a teammate grabbed the reins for a part of a project you kept pushing to the back burner. A simple statement like, “You’re a lifesaver! My plate has been so full, and having that off my hands helps so much,” shows your appreciation — while also adequately highlighting the impact that person’s help had on you.

3. “How can I repay you?”

There’s no better way to show your gratitude than by being willing to return the favor when the opportunity arises. So, posing this question is an immediate way to show that you’re more than ready act on your appreciation — rather than just talk about it.

In most cases, people will respond to this with something like, “Don’t worry about it!” But, that doesn’t mean asking it is a total waste. Again, it’s an effective way to make that person feel especially recognized and valued.

4. Actions speak louder than words.

Alright, perhaps you’ll consider this last point a bit of a cheater — after all, it’s not an actual phrase that you can use to replace that classic “thank you”. However, this tip has a huge impact, making it worthy of mention regardless.

As you already know, saying and showing are two very different things. So, if you feel the need to go the extra mile with your level of appreciation, consider acting on it. Write a handwritten note or call out that person’s contributions in a meeting with your team.

Do what you need to do to not only say you’re grateful — but show it.

There are plenty of times you want to express heartfelt appreciation. But, sometimes a standard “thank you” doesn’t seem like quite enough.

In those cases, use one of the above four options, and you’re sure to get your gratitude across in a way that’s effective and genuine.

Source : 4 Better Ways to Say “Thank You”

12 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Say

Mind over matter

If you’ve ever struggled with self-assurance in your interactions with others, take note. These are the phrases you’ll hear truly confident people say.

1. Coping mechanisms

Go to a confident friend with a list of “what-ifs” or reasons why something may turn out badly, and you’ll likely hear this kind of reassurance. It’s because confident people generally don’t worry. They understand that even if something goes wrong, they can handle it.

2. Stay optimistic

Truly confident people expect good things to happen. At the same time, their track record of making good decisions means they possess the ability to temper their positivity with realistic thinking.

3. Stand out

Confident individuals don’t feel compelled to conform to gain acceptance from others. This is the underlying beauty of confidence–the calm self-assurance that makes others want to follow.

4. Emotional Control

Research shows that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence. Part of that is being empathetic to others–which is also a key contributor to genuine confidence.

5. Opportunity seekers

Whether it’s building the right relationships, asking for a promotion, or otherwise taking a leap of faith, confident people have a vision for the future and chart their own path to get there.

6. Lead with enthusiasm

Confident people understand that there are no limits to what can be accomplished, given sufficient resources and motivation. This glass-half-full outlook typically rubs off on those around them.

7. Smart confrontations

Confident people take a stand when it comes to matters of right and wrong, yet they know which battles are worth fighting. They’ll also back down graciously if proved wrong because they’re secure enough to consider other viewpoints.

8. Moving forward

The self-assured are willing to try anything, which means they are no strangers to failure. Owning up to mistakes not only shows accountability, but also earns you the respect of your peers.

9. Listen up

Confident people listen far more than they talk, are naturally curious, and express a genuine interest in others. Conversely, those who monopolize conversations or brag show they have something to prove and are masking insecurity.

10. Admit weakness

Instead of worrying what others will think if they ask for help, confident people are more concerned with self-improvement, gaining valuable skills, and performing a job well.

11. Offer assistance

Confident people believe they can contribute help to most any situation. Avoid the fine line between self-assured and pompous by actually following through on requests.

12. Stay affirmative

In times of adversity, confident individuals rely on self-affirmations to boost their morale–and rightly so. One study found that self-affirmations increase problem-solving and protect against the damaging effects of stress.

Psychologists say this is the simplest way to get and stay happy, no Olympic medal required

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When was the last time you felt truly happy? The kind of happy where you feel as if you just won an Olympic gold?

It’s an amazing, but often fleeting, feeling. And many of us don’t get enough of it.

What’s more, there’s a common belief that if we seek out things like a better career, more money, and meaningful companionship, we’ll be happier as a result.

But that may be a harmful misconception, as science journalist Wendy Zukerman explains on an episode of the podcast series “Science VS.”

To measure the level of happiness in people around the world, scientists use large surveys like the Mappiness app and the World Happiness Report where thousands of volunteers answer questions about how satisfied they are with their quality of life, overall well-being, and happiness.

While the results can’t conclusively say what exactly makes all humans happy and what doesn’t, the growing literature on this topic has found several key themes in how people can go about finding more, long-lasting joy in life.

How much of our happiness can we actually control?




Many of us try to achieve happiness by accumulating more things in life that we think will make us happy, like higher income or a stable family life. But as it turns out, there’s a scientific reason this strategy won’t do us much good.

A pretty large chunk of our happiness is genetic.

Several studies done over the past decade estimate that anywhere between 30% and 80% of our happiness is dictated by our genes. One large recent study of 20,000 pairs of fraternal and identical twins (widely recognized as the easiest way to separate the differences caused by nature and nurture) found that roughly 33% of the variation in life satisfaction is explained by genetic differences.

Other studies suggest that anywhere from 10% to 60% of our happiness comes from our attitude and overall outlook on life.

If you do the math, that means that just a fraction — about 10% of our happiness — comes from external things that happen to us, including changes in our career, relationships, or income.

So while going after that promotion might seem like it’ll make you happy, all that stuff only chips away at the tip of the iceberg.

The “

hedonic treadmill

hedonic treadmill

christy turlington apple watch

Christy Turlington trains with her Apple Watch. Apple
A psychological phenomenon called the “hedonic adaptation” — first coined in the 1970s — states that we all have a base level of happiness that’s basically unchangeable — regardless of what happens in our lives.

If we get a job promotion, for example, we’ll celebrate and feel good, but those emotions are only temporary, the theory goes.

In the early ’90s, British psychologist Michael Eysenck likened this constant starvation for more — and more and more — to a treadmill. Consequently, the “hedonic adaptation” is more commonly known today as the “hedonic treadmill.”

“You’re running but you’re on that treadmill and you’re not getting anywhere in terms of happiness,” Zukerman says.

Eventually that boost in happiness you get from a job promotion or marriage proposal will abate, and you’ll be back to the same baseline level of happiness you were before the exciting change.

How to make a change for the better
There are lots of science-backed ways we can improve our overall well-being and grow happier in the long-run. Here are just a few:

Meditate: Multiple studies suggest that meditating — focusing intently and quietly on the present for set periods of time — can help lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.
Go outside: One study found that a group of students sent into the trees for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent the same two nights in a city.
Get involved in cultural activities: A study that examined the anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction of over 50,000 adults in Norway offered an interesting link: People who participated in more cultural activities, like attending a play or joining a club, reported lower levels of anxiety and depression as well as a higher satisfaction with their overall quality of life.

Spend money on others: A 2008 study gave 46 volunteers an envelope with money in it wherein half were instructed to spend the money on themselves and the other half put the money towards a charitable donation or gift for someone they knew. The volunteers recorded their happiness level before receiving the envelope and after spending the money by the end of that same day. Sure enough, the researchers discovered that those who spent their money on others had a higher level of happiness than those who spent the money on themselves.
Volunteer: In a recent review of 40 studies done over the last 20 years, researchers found that one activity was far more important than the rest for boosting psychological health: volunteering. This activity, the researchers reported, had been found in many volunteers to be linked with a reduced risk of depression, a higher amount of overall satisfaction, and even a reduced risk of death from of a physical illness as a consequence of mental distress.

Conclusion: If you’re looking to get a mood boost that’ll last you in the long-term, focus on your state of mind in the present, be grateful for what you have, and stop to enjoy it! You’ll thank yourself a few minutes — or a few years — down the road.

Source : The simplest way to get – and stay – happy, according to psychologists