Stress Reduces Emotional Intelligence
Crazy Busy? Breathe
Did you know that stress reduces emotional intelligence? It is a common reaction to “dumb down” under stress no matter how smart or experienced one might be. Worry, panic, and stress have cascading effects that compromises our thinking, decision-making, and interactions with others. Not good for top leadership skills! It is no wonder that a hallmark EI skill of top leaders is Stress Tolerance, or the ability to remain calm under pressure.
Typically, we react to stress with negative thoughts and emotions, which in turn affects how we behave and make decisions. Stress creates thoughts that are more negative, critical, or unduly catastrophic. We tend to distort, exaggerate, oversimplify, or ignore key events.
Stress alters our emotions such that we get more anxious, angry, irritable, and overwhelmed. Our interactions with others are impacted when we are thinking more negatively and are losing emotional control, We become curt, arrogant, or impulsive rather than civil and sociable. Or, we may hunker down and isolate rather than collaborate and problem-solve.
You are probably familiar with the surge of stress hormones like adrenaline. Are you also aware that your breathing becomes more shallow and less oxygen flows throughout your body? Your muscles tense up. Your heart rate quickens. Blood pressure elevates. We may overwork, under sleep, eat poorly, and skip exercise; all of which worsens the stress cycle. Further, does your stress reaction inspire followership or alienation at work?
Does your stress cycle inspire followership or alienation at work?
Meditating and learning how to breathe is one tool to nip the stress cascade effect. By intentionally manipulating our breathing, we can actually alter our physiological response to stress. Deep breathing brings calm to a highly activated body. Focused breathing disrupts the chain of negative thinking. Heated emotions subside. Our physiological systems calm as more oxygen flushes through our system. Once calmer, our thinking actually becomes clearer as the frontal cortex of our brain is re-engaged. We regain our ability to think creatively, analytically, and intuitively. We are better able to reason and to problem solve. We are more flexible rather than rigid. Finally, we are nicer to be around and others may be inspired to work with us and for us again.
Training yourself to remain calm and focused is a critical leadership skill. Learning to control your breathing is one key tool to stay calm and laser focused. Like strength training, it takes daily practice to learn to actively manipulate your breathing and reap the benefits to your health, body, mood, and even your career.
Get a simple method of breathing, by clicking below, and get Even More Success now.