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  • Catherine Bentley

Stress Levels Increasing? Time For Emotional Intelligence …

There can be no doubt that stress levels are increasing throughout the world. Everyone working today is being driven harder to achieve more with limited resources, tighter budgets and within reduced timescales. The age of digital saturation means that work life now follows individuals into their home lives and, thanks to the prevalence of the smart phone, often to their bedsides. The pace and scale of change across all industries and types of organisation further exacerbate the situation.

Sadly, it is a fact that “stressed out” has become a default state and the mode of living.

So – what does this mean for individuals and for businesses? For the individual, stress overload manifests itself in 3 basic forms: psychological disorders, medical illnesses and behavioural problems. Quite simply, stress has a negative effect on health, relationships, work performance and general happiness.

Stress – Killer Facts Women tend to experience stress in the form of physical symptoms: they are more likely than men to report hypertension, depression and obesity. However, although more women seek medical care for stress-related ailments, more men actually die from them

For businesses, the effects of stress are increased absenteeism, tardiness, high staff turnover, reduced employee engagement and lower productivity. A study by Gallup in 2013 revealed that 70% of the American workforce was disengaged and the World Health Organisation estimated that workplace stress was costing American businesses up to $300 billion per year.

Hazard for The Middle East – Fact 

The 2 leading occupational hazards:

  • Risky Structures on construction sites

  • Job stress in office settings

                                                                                            Arab World Conference on Public Health

Clearly, organisations can no longer afford to ignore the threat posed by this epidemic and need to work with their people to devise and implement programmes to mitigate the negative stress effect.

The starting point is to understand what stress actually is. Contrary to popular belief, stress is not something that happens to us; rather, it is a physiological and psychological response to an event which alarms us – an emotional reaction, caused by chemicals in the brain.

A vital tool to deal with this emotional reaction has to be Emotional Intelligence – being more intentional and smarter with feelings. The full Emotional Intelligence model consists of 3 core elements: • Know Yourself – Understanding Your Emotions and Patterns • Choose Yourself – Choosing Your Response and Way of Thinking • Give Yourself – Your Behaviour, Interaction with Others and Overriding Sense of Purpose

As the commercial world becomes more aware of the value of this framework for sustainable success in the relentlessly challenging environment, Emotional Intelligence competencies are increasing being recognized as key criteria for recruitment and leadership development programmes.

Here we offer you a taster of the Emotional Intelligence competencies in the form of 5 top tips for using EQ to overcome stress:

Tip Number 1: Take a 6 Second Pause

In challenging situations, we need to take the time needed to overcome the immediate impulse to react to situation. After 6 seconds, the chemical surge created by the brain have subsided and we are then able to respond with control and intention

Tip Number 2: Analyse the Emotion Here the principle is that of “Name it and Tame it” … by reflecting on the exact nature of the emotion and its level of intensity, we take control of the effect that it has on our judgement and behaviour

Tip Number 3: Consider the Options There are 2 questions which we need to ask: – What do I really want the outcome to be? – What are my options?

Tip Number 4: Engage Optimism Optimism really lies in the way that we view challenges. Whilst a pessimistic approach views an adverse situation as permanent, pervasive and impossible to overcome, an individual who engages optimism is able to see adverse situations as: – Temporary – Isolated – Able to be resolved

Tip Number 5: Increase Empathy Establish connection with others through understanding and actively listening to everyone with whom we interact.

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