Research suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) supports superior coping abilities and helps people deal with chronic stress and prevent burnout.
Stress and burnout are not the same thing. While we know that stress often leads to burnout, it’s possible to handle the onslaught of long hours high pressure and work crises in a way that safeguards you from the emotional exhaustion lack of confidence in one’s ability that characterizes burnout. The key is tapping into your emotional intelligence.
The clever people at Harvard did a study on 35 chief medical officers in large hospitals to gauge their level of stress and tried to determine what if anything they do to deal with burnout. The findings were surprising despite an overwhelming 69% of these medical officers described their current stress levels as severe, very severe, worst possible the majority were not burned out. The common theme that kept their stress under control was emotional intelligence.
Emotional awareness, one of the components of EI, allow us to understand the sources of our frustration or anxiety and improves our ability to consider different responses.
Self-management, another EI competency allows us to stay calm, control impulses, act appropriately when faced with stress. Conflict management skills allow us to channel our anxiety and emotions into problem solving mode rather than allowing the situation to bother us or keep us up all night. Empathy also helps to fight stress. when we actively try to understand others, we often begin to care about them. compassion along with other positive emotions can count the physiological effects of stress. understanding other people’s perspectives attitudes and beliefs helps support our ability to gain trust and influence others on a very practical level often we get the help we need before stress spirals out of control and turns into burnout.
How can we manager stress and avoid burnout?
People use drugs alcohol as ways of coping with stress often overeating too they’ll push harder rather than slowing down when slowing down is exactly what their body mind needs. what was learned from the chief medical officers is that we can learn to leverage our emotional intelligence to deal with stress and ward off burnout here are some things to try:
- Don’t be the source of your stress:
Too many of us create our own stress, the full body response triggered merely by thinking or anticipating future events that might be stressful. High achievers or perfectionist personality types are more prone to creating their own stressful stop however as learned from the study of chief medical officers those more attuned to the pressures they put on themselves how better equipped to deal with their stresses, ask one put it, “I’ve realized that much of my stress is self-inflicted from years of being out of myself. Now that I know the problem it causes for me, I can talk myself out of the nonstop pressure.”
- Recognise your limitations:
Being more aware of your strengths and weaknesses will help you identify where you need help. in the study the chief medical officers describe the transition from clinician to leadership role being a major source of stress. Those who recognize this type of demand where outweighs their ability try not to go alone surround themselves with trusted advisors and ask for help.
- Use breath work when anxiety rises:
Breathwork as a form of mindfulness helps us tap back into our nervous system and send it the signal we are not under threat. It helps slow the heart rate reduce tension when faced with a stressor. as one leader described it “allows me to be more open to other solutions and I don’t waste time in defense mode.” Attention is the ultimate act of self-control attention to the breath is a great place to start.
- Re-evaluate your perspective of the situation:
Our perceptions of what we make things mean can have all the difference in terms of stress for on our body. Do you see your stress as a problem or a challenge to solve? Is it eustress or distress? One of the chief medical officers described it as this “what once felt like stress is now good stress; I’m motivated to think of it as a problem to be solved.”
- Put yourself in their shoes and reduce conflicts:
Conflict can lead to burnout so deescalating it can be important. Be inquisitive, last questions, listen deeply. Keep your attention on the other person focus on what they’re trying to tell you. By seeking to fully understand their perspective you’ll be in a better position to gain trust and influence them. sharpening your empathetic listening may enable you to foster greater collaboration and create buy-in with colleagues. An example from our doctors, a recent situation came stop where a physician stormed into his office and said, “you must do this or babies will die.” instead of reacting defensively and potentially causing harm, he steadied himself and focused his attention on seeking to understand the precision physicians perspective. His response de-escalated the conflict and resulted in a healthy less stressful conversation. By developing emotional intelligence, you can stop burnout for yourself and others. Remembering though: improving EI takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself, as well as forgiving and kind the last thing you want to do is to make improving your EI another source of stress.
Source: Harvard Business Review