If sometimes you feel like you are a relationship klutz, always putting your foot in your mouth, you might need a little primer on ways to boost your emotional intelligence. Our emotional intelligence plays a critical role in determining how we handle stress, get along with others, and maintain a well-balanced outlook on life.

Developing this intelligence means mastering five different attributes of emotional awareness. Gaining fluency in these techniques will create an overall momentum for change—don’t be surprised if your rocky relationships start to smooth out.

Recognizing your emotions, and the triggers they are connected to, are a huge part of learning to self-regulate. Before you find yourself reacting to somebody, try to tune into what’s being stirred up within.

There are several techniques that can help shift your moods, such as relaxation, positive self-talk, and distraction. Know that managing your moods is an active process that does not happen effortlessly. Explore what works best for you. For some people, diet, exercise, or some kind of centering practice can have a big impact on their emotional well-being.

Managing your emotions can be the best ally your have in pushing through setbacks and disappointment. When self-doubt, inertia, or frustration strikes, gather up your negative feelings and redirect yourself to the goal. Knowing that you will feel better if you push through the emotional baggage could be hugely motivating.

Tuning into the verbal and nonverbal cues of others will help you be more present with the emotional atmosphere—and how it is affecting you. Empathy lets you be emotionally available and sense into what’s needed, even if nothing is being said.

Relationship management
It’s a good idea to periodically discuss with your close friends and family what works in your relationship and what doesn’t. If you have come to a speed bump, talking the conflict through can do wonders to clear the air and get your groove back. Figuring out ways to express your needs and be responsive to others in a nonjudgmental manner is a life’s work that’s never too early to start.