Helpguide Logo

A trusted non-profit guide to mental health and well-being

Emotional Intelligence Toolkit

Step 5: Keep Practicing and Enjoy the Benefits

Living with Less Stress, More Joy and Better Relationships

It’s important to continue to practice the Ride the Wild Horse meditations until you’re able to stay connected to your physical and emotional feelings, and are secure in your ability to remain calm and focused under stress.

Don't rush the process

Every time you correctly practice the meditation exercises, you should feel a little more energy and a little more comfortable with your emotional experience.

As feelings become more intense, you can ride the experience by continuing to breathe deeply and relaxing your body. However, if the feelings you experience become overwhelming and you start to feel out of control, switch your focus back to quick stress relief in order to bring your nervous system back into balance before continuing.

Don't rush the meditative process. You will absorb more if you move slowly. Take time to notice the small changes that add up to life change.

Watch the video: Unexpected rewards

To read a transcript of this video, click here.

If the videos don't play in your Firefox browser, please try using Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

Integrate the skills into your life

Meditating Woman

To integrate the skills you’ve learned into your life, you’ll need to practice until they become habit, something you do without even thinking about it—like riding a bike or driving a car. With regular practice, you can actually change your brain in ways that will make you feel more confident, resilient, and in control.

These final tips will help you use the skills in real world situations and channel them into your brain.

  • Practice, practice, practice. The more you repeat the meditations, the more comfortable you will feel with your emotional experiences and the greater change you’ll experience in your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Like building muscles in the gym, the more you flex emotions, the more “emotional muscle” you will build.
  • Set up predictable challenges. Try practicing your new emotional intelligence skills at predictable times of stress, when the stakes are low. For example, tune into your body while doing household chores or commuting through heavy traffic.
  • Expect setbacks. Don’t lose hope if you backslide into old habits now and then. It happens. Instead of giving up after a setback, vow to start afresh next time and learn from your mistakes.
  • When in doubt, return to your body. If you’re struggling to manage your mood in a tough situation, take a deep breath, and apply quick stress relief.

Watch the video: It's up to you

To read a transcript of this video, click here.

If the videos don't play in your Firefox browser, please try using Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

Next step

Having completed the toolkit, you may need additional help with personal or family issues. With more than 200 articles and other resources, offers you all the insight and support you need to address your mental and emotional health challenges.

Helping others

Aside from individual use, the Helpguide toolkit can also be used in teaching, therapeutic, and various office and home settings to help others acquire social and emotional skills. While it’s imperative to always teach both core skills of the toolkit (quick stress relief and emotional awareness), medical or teaching professionals may, in some cases, need to omit or reformat other aspects of the material according to the age and background of the audience.

  • Parents can be taught these skills—in groups or individually—so that they can model and teach appropriate behavior to their children. Social/emotional awareness is important for successfully parenting any child, and critical for successfully parenting a child with developmental challenges.
  • Children of all ages can learn age-appropriate aspects of the toolkit. Infants with primary caretakers who model these skills will learn them effortlessly, while preteens and teens are often especially interested in gaining social/emotional skills in order to improve their relationships with others.
  • Mental health professionals can recommend some or all of the Helpguide toolkit, depending on patient need, for use in individual or group settings. The toolkit can encourage clients with emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia to learn more about reducing stress and better managing their moods.
  • Physicians can refer the Helpguide toolkit to patients who need to reduce sources of both internal and external stress.
  • Family members can encourage friends and loved ones to use the toolkit to regain their emotional balance.


I'd like to acknowledge the following people whose dogged determination, creativity, and caring have made this online toolkit a reality: Adrian Tarango, Greg Boose, Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, and Robert Segal.

– Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Toolkit Author

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: May 2015.