ANNONSEBILAG FRA CORNERSTONE

Want to manage distress and improve your emotional intelligence?

So, how do we mitigate the distress response? By upping our emotional intelligence. When it comes to distress, it’s critical to start by first acknowledging that it is present and then understanding what causes it. Improve your emotional intelligence with these simple tips and be ready for the future of work!

ANNONSEBILAG FRA CORNERSTONE
ANNONSEBILAG FRA CORNERSTONE

So, how do we mitigate the distress response? By upping our emotional intelligence. When it comes to distress, it’s critical to start by first acknowledging that it is present and then understanding what causes it. From there, you can figure out how to react to those causes so that moments of intense distress become less frequent and don’t derail you at work — or in life. Improve your emotional intelligence with these simple tips and be ready for the future of work!

Everybody experiences distress differently

To start understanding your distress at work, the first question to ask is: What causes me distress? Make a list and look for patterns. Is it usually caused by a specific kind of request from a client? Or do you experience it most when communicating with your manager?

For most people, what puts you over the edge into full distress can often be traced back to a single, repetitive question: “Is someone doubting my competence?” When your boss texts you “Let’s discuss,” some people immediately feel like they are doubting their competence. Other common questions include, “Am I not lovable?” and “Am I not important?” — but it’s different for everyone.

This process of understanding each person’s repetitive question stems from the work of Dr. Taibi Kahler. Kahler is the creator of the Process Communication model, which allows you to understand communication more effectively by encouraging self-reflection, empathy, and conflict resolution.

Once you recognize your pattern, recognize your behavior (and start to change it)

1. They attack – Distress can cause people (me included) to lash out. An attack can vary from an insult to a weird look in a meeting. Instead, attackers should try asking questions. Rather than say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” ask, “I don’t understand what you mean by X — can you explain further?”

2. They blame – Another common reaction when someone feels distress is for their self-preservation instinct to take over. Then they can’t do anything except throw other people under the bus or look for external factors on which to place blame. Blame is an indicator of an external locus of control (feeling at the mercy of outside forces). Ending the blame game means shifting toward an internal locus of control, and it can be simple to start. For example, find one thing you could have done to avoid or Emotional intelligence improve a situation. That line of thinking not only keeps you from blaming but it also starts to engage your frontal cortex to help you find a more logical way to assess an otherwise distressing situation.

3. They sulk – Rather than returning to work or finding a solution to the problem at hand, some people process distress by withdrawing and becoming apathetic. And it can be challenging for them to get feedback about this behavior because it’s a less outward sign of distress. If your response to distress is to sulk, find a way to step away from work (or whatever the cause of your distress is), even briefly, and try to re-energize, whether it’s by exercising or talking to a confidant.

Remember: It’s a practice

Communicating about what puts you into distress — and your response to it — can help those around you better understand your actions and reactions. The only person who can get you out of distress is you. But it’s a long-term practice, full of self-reflection.

Soliciting feedback from managers and peers about how you are managing your distress can be a valuable tool in tempering its impact on your work. Being able to understand ourselves in this ever-changing world of work (as corny as that may sound) is important. Investigating who we are, what triggers us, and what drives us can help increase our emotional intelligence at work, making us better employees, colleagues, and leaders no matter the industry or role.

If you want to improve other skills for the future of work download this Cornerstone eBook here!

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