Managing Emotional Reactions

When you listen to the news you might notice the increasing amount of stories containing anger. I’ve personally observed a case of road rage after one driver cut off another; and I’ve witnessed people being rude and having an angry tone when they are waiting in a slow moving grocery store line.

People seem more reactionary than ever before. My question is how can we channel the negative emotions we experience in a way that leads to more conscious empowering decisions? If you’re thinking that you can’t, the good news is you can. There are things we can do to lessen the negative and depleting energy.

All emotions, including anger, provide us with information. Scientifically, anger hijacks us and can lead to emotions like shame and guilt. Being aware of what triggers us is helpful. Emotional triggers can be people, words, opinions, situations, or environmental situations.

I recently was on a webinar given by the Tapping Summit (Emotional Freedom Technique) where the moderator said that anger is a signal that says our system is being attacked, and the energy from anger keeps us safe. We have that trigger because we feel the need to protect ourselves and because our systems perceive us to be in danger. So this is a healthy response. Issues arise when what we perceive is not necessarily accurate.

When things like frustration, weakness, disappointment, a lack of patience, or sadness show up, it can all get channeled into anger. Here are several ways to deal with these emotions in a healthy way:

Deepen your awareness. You can’t make a change unless you are aware. Notice your thoughts (self-talk) and notice your environment (where you are and who you’re with). Places and people trigger reactions, both positive and negative.

Be aware of where you feel the emotion in your body because it triggers a physical reaction. As soon as you recognize the trigger use that physical reaction as a signal. For example, when I get anxious about something, I get a “kicked in the stomach” feeling. As soon as I am aware of that feeling I take a breath or a pause and ask myself, “What am I anxious about, whether it’s work or personal, that I’m getting that feeling?” It’s very helpful in pinpointing what’s going on at that moment.

Deep breathing exercises. Try this:

Take a deep breath, hold it for 5-8 seconds, and release the breath. You can repeat as needed. It will physiologically ground you.

Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Tapping is a tool to assist with emotional or physical issues. As you tap on certain points on your body you are breaking up energy that might have been stuck there for years. At the same time you are tapping, you are saying limiting beliefs (“I am afraid of being wrong”) and then re-framing to a positive phrase (Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong and that’s okay!) To learn more about tapping Google the Tapping Solution to see it demonstrated… Or, you can ask me. I am an EFT practitioner.

Count to ten. If you still feel triggered, keep counting

Take a walk to cool off.

Make a Game Plan to Integrate Your Professional and Personal Life

Several times in the past week I have heard people comment that they can’t believe it’s March. Time seems to pass more quickly with each year. We are heading into second quarter. How can you make the most of 2019? Are you heading in the direction you want or do you need to shift anything? Do you know of anything that could get in the way of you attaining your goals? If so, what can you do to head it off?

Recently, I was coaching a client, Gary, who said he felt like he was running out of steam. After asking several probing questions we were able to dig deeper to find that Gary started out the year ‘full steam ahead,’ and now, he felt like he was just chugging along. He then mentioned that the same thing happened the past two years and he didn’t want this to be his pattern. He wanted to feel productive and happy at work and enjoy his family. I believe that’s a reasonable request and something we could accomplish together.

I asked Gary if he were fully committed to changing that pattern, and if so, I would be his committed partner to guide him along the way. Sometimes people say they want something to change but their actions don’t match their words. In this case, Gary was ready. He said he didn’t want to look back on another year and not have what he wanted. It was great that Gary recognized this and was ready to move forward. Too often people burnout because they lack the awareness that a change has to be made, or they feel that there’s nothing they can do to shift things.

After meeting with Gary, we made a game plan. There were several factors impacting his Gary’s energy level, physically and emotionally.

He had a high level position within a large company with many demands. At home he and his wife, who also works, had one child in middle school and one in high school. In addition, his wife’s mother’s dementia was getting worse, and she was living with them.

Like many people in similar positions, Gary and his wife had difficult decisions to make. And making big decisions can cause some sleepless nights and worry.

Regarding Gary’s long working hours, he made the decision to be home for dinner each night. Long hours kept Gary at the office and the negative impact was that he was missing family dinners and the chance to connect with his family. Moreover, at work, because he was so tired, Gary wasn’t as clear and focused and he wasn’t being productive. Here’s what Gary committed to do.

By leaving work earlier, Gary was able to enjoy time with his family and the conversations he would have missed. He got into bed earlier and felt more refreshed. We put together a workout schedule and a “relationship” schedule so that Gary and his wife had some time for themselves, couple time, and family time.

Gary and his wife are figuring out next steps with her mom. The two choices they came up with were having an aide in the house full time or putting her in a facility. The good thing is they have the energy and clarity to make those decisions together, and they are tough decisions to make.

It takes courage to take the steps that Gary has taken. When he told his supervisor the decision to leave work earlier, his boss was not thrilled but Gary made a life decision of what he was willing to tolerate. His boss saw that the longer hours weren’t necessarily equating to being more productive.

Even though we’ve got a long way to go in 2019, take a look at how your life is going. What’s your schedule like? What are you willing to sacrifice? What are your values and are you living them?

Make this the best year of your life!

Interpersonal Skills are Key in Developing Relationships

We’ve all heard the well-known real estate saying, “location, location, location.” And when it comes to people, I think “relationship, relationship, relationship.” In order to maximize and best enjoy relationships you want to have good interpersonal skills.

Since almost all aspects of our lives involve communication, having ‘people’ skills, such as collaboration and good interpersonal abilities, and traits like self-confidence, and positive thinking, are highly desirable.

Specifically in the workplace, where we interact with different types of people, good interpersonal skills are vital. Other important interpersonal skills are listening, understanding and using body language and the same of gestures (non verbal communications). Moreover, having a positive attitude, and showing respect and appreciation are highly valuable to fostering good relationships.

Our interpersonal skills are integral to our relationships in both personal and professional connections. Having good interpersonal skills leads to a better understanding of others. We use those skills when we interact with others.

Anyone can develop strong interpersonal skills. Like developing a muscle in our arms or legs to make them stronger, these skills can be built. For some it may come more naturally, but the reality is that anyone, with practice, can develop these skills, and doing so can lead to building more effective relationships.

In the workplace interpersonal skills are the foundation of trust, and are key factors in individual and organizational performance. Results from developing successful interpersonal skills contribute to better performance, effective problem solving, and help in decision-making.  

A local organization, Management Concepts, offers a course Interpersonal Skills. The course teaches competencies that are essential for developing effective relationships with others. The competencies are at the course’s foundation. They are:

Awareness of self

Awareness of others, and

Maximizing Relationships

Awareness of self: understanding your own communication skills and how they impact others. As you deepen your awareness you’ll be able to make new choices about how to communicate more effectively.

Awareness of others: includes careful listening, skilful questioning, and keen observation of nonverbal cues to ensure understanding. By being aware of others you can structure your communication to be more effective with different types of people.

Maximizing Relationships: using and refining your interpersonal skills over tie to develop satisfying connections with others; also being able to deal with conflict and breakdowns that occur.

We know that growth in one area can cause your personal effectiveness to flourish. Who wouldn’t want that!

In my next article, I’ll dive deeper into interpersonal skills because they are essential for a person to thrive. Stay tuned!

Multi-tasking Can Drive You Crazy!

Feeling like you need to catch your breath? The beginning of 2019 has certainly gotten off to a fast start. Are you busy or too busy? Feeling overwhelmed or exhilarated? Are you being productive?

To ensure that “busy” doesn’t turn into an energy depletion, too much on your plate, or feeling out of control, try these tips:

Assess your situation

Be aware of how and where you’re spending your time. Answer these questions and make sure you are satisfied. Does your schedule conflict with your priorities?

Are you spending too much or too little time to get things done? What do you do to monitor your to do’s?

How do you set priorities?

Remember the four quadrants in Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? Important, Not Important, Urgent and Not Urgent. Don’t put everything in urgent because when you do it loses its importance. Make a list of your needs. The list might then be affected by due date or whom the response is to. Assess the value. Be flexible.

Say ‘No’

Be bold. If you can’t take on another task, say ’no.’ By saying ‘yes’ when you would rather say ‘no’ you are saying ‘no’ to yourself because the time has to come from something you are doing. You also don’t want to take on too much and have something fall through the cracks. That is a reflection on you, especially if it happens more than once.

Be Aware

Notice your energy level. It’s great to be busy, but too busy depletes your energy. Ask yourself when you have the most energy in the day and do your hardest or most time-consuming tasks then, so you don’t run out of steam. Choo-choo ahead!

Dealing with Distractions, Multi-tasking, and Clutter

Multi-tasking can be a huge problem. We are expected to multi-task even though our brains are wired to do one task at a time. The reality, unfortunately often, is that in our professional and personal lives we are expected to do several tasks at one time.

Since this is often the reality of the situation, choose three tasks. Then allot time to work on each so that you can go deeper than touching the surface of multiple tasks.

“Too much” gives us a feeling of clutter and that overloads our senses and makes it difficult to focus and manage. Take baby steps and keep moving forward.

Turn off any technology you can, like noises pinging us that another email or text is waiting … it’s too much of a distraction…and, an annoyance.

The constant phone and email interruptions don’t help, and neither do all the meetings we attend. Again, take baby steps forward so that you feel like you’re accomplishing something instead of having that heavy feeling from clutter and overwhelm.

Dealing with Email

Dealing with endless email is a complaint I hear over and over. So it doesn’t turn into clutter, choose several specific times of the day to look at your email. Email can use up a great deal of time. Estimate how long it takes to respond. Generally speaking, a shorter reply is acceptable if you answer sooner.

Here are two ways of thinking. You can answer emails first thing in the morning. Make sure you have the discipline to then move on to something else in a reasonable amount of time. Or, consider doing a couple of tasks first and then going to the email…set a timer on your technology so you don’t lose track of time.

For me this come has into play since my book was published. I love the coaching, speaking engagements, webinars, etc… and it also takes a lot of prep time. I was at that point where I needed assistance with some of the administrative and technical support for my book so that I could work on the client related prep work. Prep work takes a long time. I assessed my situation and decided that I would hire a virtual assistant.

Task Management Systems

If you prefer a task management system there are plenty out there. Find the one that is right for you.

No matter what you decide, it’s important to feel productive. Carry on!