Stress man­age­ment through emo­tional in­tel­li­gence

Jamaica Gleaner - - HEALTH - Nina John­son-Camp­bell Con­trib­u­tor

WHAT EX­ACTLY IS STRESS?

STRESS IS a nec­es­sary, in­nate/nat­u­ral part of our sur­vival in­stinct and phys­i­o­log­i­cal make-up. It mo­ti­vates us to take ac­tion to keep us safe or to keep reach­ing just that bit fur­ther to achieve our dreams and as­pi­ra­tions; it’s the ‘fuel’ that pro­pels us.

Stress only be­comes a prob­lem when the phys­i­o­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal symp­toms build up in our body with­out be­ing re­leased, and as a re­sult, starts to neg­a­tively im­pact our memory, con­cen­tra­tion, emo­tions, think­ing abil­i­ties, health, our over­all well-be­ing and, even­tu­ally, our men­tal health.

WHAT IS EMO­TIONAL IN­TEL­LI­GENCE?

Emo­tional in­tel­li­gence (EI) is the abil­ity to recog­nise and un­der­stand your emo­tions and those of oth­ers; the abil­ity to use that in­for­ma­tion to guide your thoughts and ac­tions; the abil­ity to em­pathise, and there­fore, build bet­ter, suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships.

HOW CAN EI HELP TO MAN­AGE STRESS EF­FEC­TIVELY?

Helps you to re­duce ex­cess stress as you bet­ter un­der­stand your emo­tions (be­com­ing more self-aware).

Use that in­for­ma­tion to guide your thoughts and ac­tions.

In­crease your em­pa­thy through bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of oth­ers’ emo­tions, which in turn im­proves your re­la­tion­ships, at school, at home, in the work place, and so­cially.

Im­prov­ing your emo­tional in­tel­li­gence will help you to dis­cover your in­ner strengths,

IIIIre­main calmer and in con­trol in any sit­u­a­tion.

STEPS TO IM­PROVE YOUR EI

Set aside just 10 min­utes. 1. Think of the last time you had a strong negative feel­ing to­wards some­one – it may be a friend, part­ner, work col­league or even a stranger.

2. Name the ex­act emo­tion you were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in that mo­ment (maybe anger, re­sent­ment, frus­tra­tion, dis­ap­point­ment, etc).

3. Next, take a few mo­ments to ex­plore why you were feel­ing that emo­tion (for ex­am­ple, you may have felt mis­treated, un­der­val­ued, ig­nored, in­ad­e­quate, unloved).

4. Now, con­sider how the other per­son may have felt in that mo­ment, too. Could they have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sim­i­lar emo­tions? How do you know for sure how or what they were re­ally think­ing?

5. As you’re now aware, you can­not be sure with­out fur­ther in­for­ma­tion what they were feel­ing/think­ing. In light of this new aware­ness,

6. Con­sider how you could have re­sponded in a bet­ter/con­struc­tive way.

7. What did you learn from that sit­u­a­tion, good or bad?

8. What will you do dif­fer­ently next time?

As it is your re­sponse and not the sit­u­a­tion that de­ter­mines your out­come, take time to pause and by prac­tis­ing the few sim­ple steps out­lined above, I guar­an­tee you will start to see bet­ter re­sults as you re­duce your stress by tak­ing con­trol of your emo­tions, in­stead of them con­trol­ling you, and al­low space for you to think more clearly.

Re­mem­ber as Con­fu­cius said: “Mighty is the man who can com­mand an army of thou­sands, might­ier still is the man who can com­mand him­self.”

Some stud­ies have shown that

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