Ever wondered how to better your emotional stability or achieve a more peaceful mental state? Perhaps improving your emotional intelligence is the way to go. But just what is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize your own emotions and to understand how they affect you--as well as the people around you. Studies have shown that those who possess a high level of emotional intelligence are more effective at adjusting their own behaviors and have better interpersonal relations than others.

EQ--emotional intelligence--is comprised of six pillars: Self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, motivation, social skills, and happiness. Keeping these six factors in harmonious balance is the key to increasing one's EQ in an effective manner.

The first pillar, self-awareness, is arguably the most important one to upkeep due to the simple fact that it is often impossible to improve any of our actions without first knowing what they are. It is necessary to identify the small things--from how you feel during the day--to the big things, like dealing with trying, traumatic events, in order to know how to tackle your emotions. Being cognizant of how things affect us, and in turn, how our own actions affect others allows us to open up doors to a greater emotional vocabulary.

Get in touch with your inner voice and see how much you change.

Right after being self-aware, managing happiness is the next most-important aspect of increasing your EQ. The problem many of us have--and of which we are not even aware--is that we don't know when to be happy.

Happiness, contrary to popular opinion, is not an emotion that should be in constant appearance. Astonishing amounts of people attribute their happiness to short-term goals, successes, and material goods. Few truly know how to manage their happiness as something constant and sustainable, independent of disposable things.

Although, in general, people with high emotional intelligence are happy people, it is important to remember that is necessary to feel a vast range of emotions--including sadness, anger, disgust, fear, etc.--simply to know when to be happy.

There is nothing wrong with being unhappy; in fact, it makes the good times all the more worth it.

Published on: Nov 19, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.