What are the 5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence?

Emotionally intelligent people play a key role in helping others feel connected and valid. Being emotionally intelligent is an important life skill to have. There are 5 elements involved in emotional intelligence and each play an important role in nearly every aspect of someone’s life.

The five elements of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills. A better quality of life is often experienced when emotional intelligence is practiced and achieved. Emotional intelligence can improve relationships, finances and much more.

Why is emotional intelligence important? Emotional intelligence is a great skill which strengthens relationships and social skills. You might be wondering what emotional intelligence consists of and how to tell if you have it. In this article, we’ll discuss the various elements of emotional intelligence. Also, we’ll discuss a few FAQs about emotional intelligence, why it’s important and more.

What are the 5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence?


Self-awareness is being aware of your current feelings, what they mean to you and why. It also involves understanding how your response/actions might effect others.

Being self-aware takes a level of connection that not all people have. Personally, I’m most aware of myself when I’m in a good mental and emotional state.

Being self-aware often means that people are able to “think ahead” and will control themselves in difficult emotional situations. It is simply the observation of one’s own feelings (and often thoughts) in a particular situation.

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Self-regulation refers to the patience and control of which one observes their emotions in a given situation. They will be regulating their thoughts and actions. Emotionally intelligent people will act according to their best interests as well as the interests of the greater good.

This is helpful for navigating difficult situations with grace and dignity. People who are able to manage themselves in this way rarely “burn bridges” in the heat of the moment. Over reacting does not coexist with self-regulation and someone who has this level of emotional intelligence will have very few regrets about their behavior and actions.

This takes a lot of emotional strength and practice but is usually rewarded with better relationships and respect from others. Also, self-regulation can help you achieve your goals with more energy and ease. As you consciously choose yourself and what’s best for you, your goals will be realized with less friction and stress.

The more someone practices this, the easier it will be to regulate their behavior. One might realize that they get too emotional when drinking alcohol and my set appropriate boundaries for themselves. Being able to control emotions in a difficult situation is another example of self-regulation that is beneficial. Also knowing what you need to decline plans and following through on your promises to yourself can be one of the most beneficial acts of emotional intelligence as it relates to self-regulation.


Empathy is the ability to understand what others are feeling and being able to feel and relate to the feelings of others. Someone who is empathetic might try to help navigate the situation for an emotionally distressed individual.

They usually offer helpful advise or will do anything they can to improve the situation. Being empathetic is definitely a strong trait to have, however, it can result in someone over extending themselves if proper boundaries are not put in place.

Many people will have no problem taking advantage of an empathetic person so being aware of this and keeping your own needs in mind is key. The ability to show empathy and act from a place of it is an important part of emotional intelligence, especially when boundaries are in place.

It can help someone know when to show support and when to step back. When to offer assistance and when to let someone figure out their own issues.

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All kinds of people can be motivated. However, an emotionally intelligent person will be driven and motivated by something that is not necessarily material or monetary. The motivation will typically have to do with something that is extremely fulfilling.

They might be motivated by a “dream goal” or some type of intentional aspiration that they just can’t seem to shake. Emotionally intelligent people understand that they thrive off of the ability to express themselves on some sort of creative or emotional scale. Their motivation comes from within and they know the power it has in their lives.

This is important as this has the ability to inspire and motivate others. Motivation, can be a powerful tool used to connect, empower and change people’s lives.

Social Skills

Communication is a vital trait of the emotionally intelligent. Being aware of other’s feelings, body language and life experiences help emotionally intelligent people interact in a very effective and compelling way.

Being able to harness these skills might come easy to emotionally intelligent people even if they consider themselves to be an introvert. Much of the time, emotionally intelligent people mistake themselves for either being an introvert or for having qualities of one.

The truth may be that they shy away from people/social situations because they are so empathetic that it is exhausting for them. Also, they might overthink their own words/actions and want to avoid feeling judged by others.

Often though, emotionally intelligent people love socialization and connecting with people. They can feel when they’re emotionally connected to others, and love that kind of interaction.

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11 Examples of Emotional Intelligence

You think about Your Feelings

Emotionally intelligent people often like to think about their feelings. Even when nothing is happening and their emotional state is good. They will question what they feel during certain situations and will work through unhealthy triggers to improve their emotional states.

Controlled Thoughts

Often thoughts float into our heads like unwanted rain clouds. Learning to observe thoughts and send them away before they brew into a “storm” is a sign of an emotionally intelligent person. Recognizing that just because you’re thinking something doesn’t mean you have to welcome that thought as your own (or believe) it, is a productive way to approach your emotional well-being.


If someone is emotionally intelligent, it will be nearly impossible to be “fake” with people. It’s in one’s nature to want to connect emotionally so people who are emotionally intelligent will want to show themselves authentically to others.

They often go above and beyond to make others feel comfortable around them. They might take the first step to open up and become vulnerable. An emotionally intelligent person will not have an issue showing that true colors and inviting people to see them for who they are.

You Encourage and Compliment Others

An emotionally intelligent person knows how valuable encouragement can be. Having someone acknowledge your efforts validates the purpose and helps propel them further. Compliments are just as powerful as well. Receiving a compliment from a friend can make someone feel special and loved. Having that kind of emotional support goes a long way.

emotionally Intelligent

You Give Helpful Feedback

Emotional intelligent people are often able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Since they can empathize with others, they are often able to offer advice that can be very helpful. An outside perspective from someone who truly “gets it” can help someone else see an easy solution that they might not have otherwise.

Also, there is a good chance that an emotionally intelligent person has experienced something similar (emotionally) and can offer good insight on how to best work through a difficult situation.

Getting Along Well/Interest In Others

Getting along with others is easier when you don’t allow people’s words to hurt or disturb you. Emotionally intelligent people know that they get to decide how to interpret what people are saying. They also know that poor treatment/behavior is a reflection of the pain that’s going on inside of others and has nothing to do with them. Emotionally intelligent people are also interested in other people. They love that they know how to control themselves and are interested in they way others function as well.


Having integrity is a common trait among emotionally intelligent people. Not only are they this way because they know it’s the right way to progress and be the best version of themselves, but it makes them feel good. When someone is emotionally intelligent, they think a lot about their actions and feelings. Having integrity comes with the territory of being responsible for oneself and self-aware. It feels good and there is no lingering guilt or regret.

Welcomes Criticism

Emotionally intelligent people don’t tend to take things personally. They are able to separate themselves from criticism and use that information to improve themselves. They welcome criticism in their work especially, as they see it as an opportunity to improve.

Take Their Time

It takes time to process information and react in a positive and constructive way sometimes. Emotionally intelligent people are not afraid to take their time with things. They spend the time and energy it takes to dissect situations and feelings. This applied to their work ethic, relationships, and even their oen personal development work.


Being able to center oneself and live in the present is a practice that serves people very well. Personally, I’ve struggled with this in certain areas of my life when other things seemed more demanding. Being able to work when it’s time to work and only focus on that is not only the best for productivity but also your emotional and mental well-being.

Well-Placed Boundaries

Having boundaries is important. We need them to make sure we’re supporting our own needs and goals. Emotionally intelligent people know that keeping certain boundaries in place benefits their well-being as they know they’re in control of their life. It also lets other people know that as well. Declining plans or cutting back on favors you do for people puts you back in control and helps establish better relationships.

If you’re the type of person that has a hard time saying “no”, make it about your goals, not the other person. Don’t think of it as just freeing up some of your time (although there’s nothing wrong with that). Think of it as time that you need to work toward a goal you have – it doesn’t have to be about the other person.

Some people might take it personally if you choose yourself, but that’s their decision/problem, not yours. You’re not abandoning your friends/family if you’re choosing to spend your time in a way that better meets your needs. If they love you they will support the fact that you’re spending more time working on being the best and happiest version of you.

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Hi, I'm Marissa! I'm passionate about mental and emotional health and want to share what I've learned over the years with others! I've seen first hand how mental health struggles can cause serious issues within relationships, work life, daily productivity, self-worth and more! I truly believe that we owe it to ourselves to bring more awareness to these life changing topics. Start your mental/emotional health journey by learning more today!

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