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13/10/10 Developing Emotional Intelligence

We are just around the corner from this year’s National Stress Awareness day (November 5th), promoted by ISMA, The International Stress Management Association. This year’s message is ‘Start Living, Stop Stressing’.  If you find yourself frequently on the treadmill of ‘the stressful situation’ then you have to decide whether you are ready to get off!  This sounds stupid, there may be value to feeling stressed for you, it can have emotional ties, some people thrive on the adrenaline of a frantic lifestyle and constant crises, while others feel tense at the slightest deviation from their routine.

Q.  Do you feel that you perform better under stress?

If your answer is yes, then it is time to understand that this is not sustainable!

You can perform better under pressure, this is okay, but stress…. stress is an unhealthy reaction to excessive pressure.  We are designed to cope with short bursts of a stress reaction, our ‘fight or flight’ reaction is triggered, adrenaline and other stress-linked hormones are released into our body to allow us to deal with the immediate problem or – as in the days when we used to hunt down our own food – run away as quickly as possible.

Longer-term or chronic stress, however, is a slightly different problem and, although it is never on someone’s death certificate, it is probably a risk factor for developing heart problems in later life. It also undoubtedly contributes to other health problems, such as insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and migraines, if it is allowed to continue unchecked.

How do I know if I am stressed?

When we think of, or refer to stress, it is often unclear what exactly we mean.  ‘Stress’ can cover a multitude of emotional responses, you can be said to be stressed out when actually you are just angry about something, or ‘they must be under too much pressure’ when you burst into tears at your desk because your cat has used up his nine lives.  Acquainting ourselves with how we actually feel about things is surprisingly not something we all do.

‘I’m Fine’, when you hear this gentlemen, and it is said in a final ‘I want to say no more’ tone, it really is far from the truth!  In fact Fine can be a mask for many emotions, ( F)eeling (I)nsecure, (N)eurotic and (E)dgy is one that fits the bill.

A good key to noticing signs of stress is to listen and observe your body, for example:

  • When you’re uptight, you feel tightness in your chest
  • When you’re happy, you feel light–in your body
  • And when you’re sad, you feel heavy–in your body

Your body impacts your thinking and your thinking reflects your body. Except most of us are too busy rushing around to notice!

Encouraging employees to understand how they are feeling, is the key to making behavioural changes, and can greatly help with team dynamics, creating a healthy working environment and increasing the bottom line.

We can all be told that we need to exercise regularly, eat our five a day and get lots of fresh air, and this help, but are we missing out on our feeling selves, listening to our emotions can give us space to be who we really are and with this greater understanding, we can recognise the changes within us, get to know our comfort zones and we can then expand our ability to cope without putting our health in the firing line.

Need help with this?  You can book a face to face chat with us, and we can understand how training can benefit your organisation.  Further information on our training pages.