Managing stress and anxiety in an ever changing climate

As the world gears up for back to school, a new way of life while we continue to deal with the pandemic. It has become more crucial to be aware of our emotions and how  they change when our routines change. Let me give you an image; it’s 7:55am and you are planning to leave the house by 8 am so you can beat traffic and drop off the kids beforehand. You have your lunch bag in hand and you are ready to leave, only to realize that the toddler has taken off their shoes and they are rolling on the ground. As a parent, your first reaction is probably a swear word and a feeling of discouragement as the morning had gone so well. It is worth noting that your response is normal and in fact expected.

Emotional intelligence is what you utilized in that moment not to burn down the house and not just join your child on the floor and “give up”. Emotional intelligence is something we all need in our day-to-day interactions with other people.  By definition, emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand and manage their emotional turbulence. It is our responsibility to own up how we are feeling, thinking and acting.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

As mentioned above Emotional intelligence is an internal process. It consists of being aware and understanding our feelings, reactions and triggers, etc. This internal process happens so quickly that we think, we do not have a choice but reality we do. As we build more insight and awareness in about ourselves the choice as to how to respond becomes more evident.  

Emotional intelligence is largely characterized by empathy, clear and courteous communication,  active listening, open-mindedness, understanding, managing and regulating our emotions with everyone we interact. Emotional Intelligence actively seeks to understand things from  another point of view without argument or forcing down our own ideas onto others. When we respond this way we are less likely to be reactive. With Emotional  Intelligence, you are not manipulative, you do not gaslight or stonewall others, instead you seek to understand others before responding

In short, emotional intelligence is :

  • Awareness
  • Noticing  and understanding
  • Regulating emotions 
  • Emotions is your friend

Emotional intelligence is not about:

  • Blaming others 
  • Verbal outbursts
  • Being argumentative 
  • Not listening or zoning out
  • Judging others

Even though it can be difficult, it is safe to feel and your emotions are valid. To build healthy relationships emotional intelligence is essential as well as choosing how we respond to others.Benefits of emotional intelligence include feeling loved, appreciated,helps diffuse tensions thus reducing anxiety and improves relationships with oneself and others.  

Witten in Collaboration with Rapid  Action Health