How are your stress levels? Are you managing them well? Maybe you’re so used to being under stress that it feels ‘normal’ … until you have a holiday to wind down when, irritatingly, you get sick. Why does that happen?
Known as the ‘Let Down Effect’, it’s because your cortisol levels and stress hormones were working hard to keep your immune system suppressed – and you healthy – during your time of high stress. And then, as soon as you relax, your cortisol levels plummet and you become vulnerable to infections.
One way to help stop that frustrating cycle is to learn to manage your stress. One way – and arguably the most important – is to improve your emotional intelligence.
First, a bit about how the brain works:
Neocortex: Controls higher level thinking such as language, self-awareness, intention, imagination, but always overridden by the Reptilian and Limbic brains.
Limbic (Mammalian Brain): Controls and reacts to emotions; influences our behaviours based on the Reptilian brain.
Reptilian Complex: Enabling survival, it controls breathing, sleep, appetite etc. Can be rigid and compulsive.
‘Fight or Flight’
Early man survived dangerous situations, like charging elephants, thanks to our Reptilian Complex. This part of our brain enables survival by identifying dangerous situations and defending its territory, and is known as ‘Fight or Flight’. We still have those instincts today during times of stress.
In many cases, both at work and home, you may find yourself reacting too quickly to pressured situations. Your pulse rate has probably risen. These fast, instinctive reactions to ‘get the job done’ is predominantly driven by the reptilian part of the brain. But the more you do this, the more your stress levels rise.
Urgent deadline looming – just do to it! … Elephants stampeding towards you – run!
It’s the same physiological and psychological reaction – the need to save yourself!
These days it’s important to slow down a bit for the sake of your mental health. Too many CEOs, leaders and managers are driving themselves to an early grave with the pressure they put on themselves – don’t let this be you! This is where Emotional Intelligence (EI) coaching can really help.
Slowing down enables you to register your thoughts and reflect on what’s happening, and then make a conscious decision on whether to engage or move away. The reptilian brain doesn’t – it treats those thoughts as reality, affecting the way we choose to act.
When we feel stressed, tempers can fray. This can massively affect productivity with managers wasting time dealing with petty squabbles because people aren’t dealing with their emotions.
Relying on the reptilian brain more than we should affects time management, creativity, and the ability to be emotionally intelligent. Reptiles don’t have feelings or live in groups; similarly, when we get too stressed we disconnect from our communities – families, friends, colleagues. Mindfulness, learnt through EI coaching, allows you to pause, consider different options and be more inclusive.
Moving from fixed mindset to growth mindset
Having good EI allows you to become more mindful, which in turn helps you to:
- make effective choices – e.g. not rush things, be more efficient
- enhances your performance
- recognise when stress is at play, and notice what’s happening in your body
- know when you need to put a pause in place, slow down, focus
Having emotional intelligence reduces stress and, consequently, improves your immune system, which in turn should allow you to enjoy your time off without getting sick! So consider getting EI coaching to help you become more self-aware, more confident and far more effective.
Emotional Intelligence – helping staff become more mindful
How many of your employees take time off sick for stress reasons? Sickness absence could be drastically reduced if staff understood how to look after themselves from an emotional perspective and become more mindful. A healthy, happy staff means improved productivity.
Mindfulness prevents difficult, stressful situations at work. When people are focused on trying to achieve goals within tight deadlines and stressed, things go wrong – lack of clear communication between individuals and teams; breakdown of respect amongst the hierarchy; arguments occur, and difficult situations may escalate.
How often have you had a situation where someone’s done something wrong, someone else accuses them, they get defensive and either attack back or can’t explain clearly, so no-one knows how to help? This is how problems become more entrenched or serious over time.
Helping staff become emotionally intelligent and more mindful helps them to see a situation in a calm, clear and focused manner. Emotional intelligence helps teams work well together, communicate clearly, and get the job done properly.
Pinnacle Therapy’s Emotional Intelligence workshops help your staff achieve improved mindfulness and productivity, reduces stress levels and, ultimately, reduces sickness absence.
Book now to attend one of our 2017 Emotional Intelligence workshops in central London. The dates are:
- Friday 15th September
- Thursday 7th December
For further information on any of our workshops, click here or call us now on 020 7060 4375.