Emotional Intelligence - Key to Resilience in a Stressful World
The demands of today's world can evoke negative emotions that, when not handled effectively, result in high levels of stress. Through developing Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills we can transform those negative emotions into positive, productive behaviors that enable us to accomplish more and feel better.
The key to attaining resilience in this stressful world is to develop Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills. Today's headlines leave little doubt of the detrimental effects of stress. The demands, pressures and challenges we face daily can evoke negative emotions that, when not handled effectively result in high levels of stress. Our news is filled with anxiety provoking topics such as the economy, layoffs, holiday stress, academic stress, relationship stress, the impact of stress on health and much more. And at work there is a growing demand to do more with less; faster, better, cheaper, with fewer people. Without the right skills to handle these ever increasing challenges our performance suffers. While we may not be able to change our stress-filled environment, we can get at the root cause of our stress by changing how we perceive and react to stress-producing events.
The Relationship of Challenge, Emotions and Performance:
Whether realized or not, performance is directly affected by challenges (or demands/expectations) and your emotional reactiveness to them. For example, imagine I hire you for a position. With your new job you feel eager, excited, optimistic, determined and confident. After you perform very well on the first few projects you're assigned, I become confident that you can handle more projects. In fact, because of having to do more with less, I'm going to give you a lot more projects. My hope and expectation is that you will just keep performing at the outstanding level exhibited when you first joined the company.
However, as project is piled upon project and you find yourself putting in extra hours and trying your best, you reach a point where you ask yourself, "If I don't get all this done, what's going to happen to me?"?Frustration, anxiety, fear and panic take over. Now skepticism, pessimism and uncertainty are your constant companions instead of optimism and confidence. And, with your frustration, you find yourself wasting time worrying and second-guessing yourself - time that cannot be spared.
And more importantly, your health becomes affected. Your negative emotional response results in a cascade of some 1,400 biochemical events, some of which result in physiological changes such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol (the stress hormone), and adrenaline. These events compromise your mental clarity, your emotional balance, your physical energy and personal effectiveness, all of which play a part in communication, rational thought and problem solving, and your state of health. And the increased frequency of these negative emotions can cause you to become indecisive, defensive, short with people and angry when others ask you for support or when they don't support you. In fact, other people are likely feeling the same emotions because you and they exist in the same environment. And stress, like a virus, thrives in this toxic environment.
Emotions and Stress:
Let's examine this disheartening problem more closely. Whenever people are UNABLE to cope with the demands of their environment they experience negative emotions and beliefs which, in turn, manifest as stress. So while our environment is a significant factor in producing stress, ultimately it is the individual's inability to transform negative emotions and beliefs that lies at the core of the problem. The real leverage exists in the word "unable." If people are unable it means they don't know how to, in this case, manage their emotions about what is happening in the environment.
Actions We Can Take:
So what can we do to help ourselves in these difficult times of growing demands? First we need to develop our emotional self-awareness. When we become aware of our emotions, we also become aware of those times and situations where we allow our negative emotions to creep in and take over. Next we need to develop our emotional self-management skills. By developing these skills we can transform negative emotions into positive, productive emotions and behaviors which enable us to think more clearly. In our Emotional Intelligence (EI) skill-building programs, developing emotional self-awareness and self-management skills are the foundation of EI Competence.
True Story Example:
Let me give you an example from a true story of what can happen when you develop these skills. I was delivering our EI training to a group of high-potential directors and vice presidents. The training took place on a Tuesday and Wednesday. One of my participants sent this email on the following Monday morning: "I had been having an extremely stressful week with a crushing, impending feeling of failure/doom that I wasn't going to be able to get everything done to meet some very important deadlines. Since your course, I have been using all the techniques and am amazed how successful they have been. I have been able to get 'on top' of everything that needs to get done with little to no agitation. You very well may have helped me with one of the most significant, positive improvements I have ever made in my life."
What's the Point?
We can make several observations from this true story:
- By developing EI skills, you can improve your performance in today's demanding environment.
- You can develop these skills in a very short period of time and experience dramatic results - it doesn't take three to six months as some people suggest.
- When you develop EI skills, you can manage high-stress situations in-the-moment - so instead of waiting for a yoga class, a vacation, or a meditation time, you can manage negative emotions when they occur and prevent stress from accumulating with its potential negative health impact.
Our program results support these points. Two to three months after our training, we conduct impact interviews. Typically, participants report improvements ranging from 20% to 35% in personal productivity, 25% to 40% in mental clarity, 20% to 40% in stress reduction as well as improvements in teamwork, creativity, management of emotional reactiveness, reduced conflict and other critical workplace issues.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tailoring the art and science of Emotional Intelligence (EI) to your needs, Byron Stock focuses on results, helping individuals and organizations enhance Emotional Intelligence skills, leadership competencies and core values. Visit www.ByronStock.com to learn about his practical, user-friendly techniques to enhance Emotional Intelligence skills.