Emotion control and Stress Management

Interpersonal skills are the behaviours and tactics a person uses to interact with others effectively, both individually and in groups. They include a wide range of skills, but particularly communication skills such as listening and effective speaking. They also include the ability to control and manage your emotions.

You will find out how your emotional intelligence can affect you. How does it influence your actions? How can you develop and improve it?


According to Goleman, Emotional Intelligence consists of four components: 

  1. Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviours, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.   
  2. Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions, your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  3. Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people.
  4. Relationship management – You know how to develop good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.


As you develop your emotional intelligence and your capacity to better recognize and understand your own emotions, you’ll find it easier to also manage your stress. While stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for, e.g. anxiety and worry, feeling of being overwhelmed, mood swings, depression, difficulty in concentrating or relaxing, change in eating and sleeping habits, aches and pains, low self-esteem, etc.


Stress affects everyone. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to block it as soon as possible. While stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:

  1. Feelings of constant worry or anxiety
  2. Feelings of being overwhelmed
  3. Difficulty concentrating 
  4. Mood swings or changes in mood
  5. Irritability or having a short temper
  6. Difficulty relaxing
  7. Depression
  8. Low self-esteem
  9. Eating more or less than usual
  10. Changes in sleeping habits
  11. Using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
  12. Aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
  13. Diarrhea and constipation
  14. Feelings of nausea or dizziness
  15. Loss of sex drive

Emotion Control and Stress Management

This is a common problem for many people: how we are supposed to manage our negative emotions that keep coming up when we’re stressed or hurt? Should we stuff our anger and frustration away and pretend that it doesn’t exist, so we can minimize the emotional fallout from these emotions? Or should we risk making things worse by saying or doing the wrong thing?

What Is Stress? Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.

Effective stress management helps you break the burdens that stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time to work, relationships, relaxation, and fun—and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that. 

Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress in your life

Tip 2: Practice the 4 A’s of stress management:

  1. Avoid unnecessary stress: It’s not healthy to avoid a stressful situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
  2. Alter the situation: If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it.
  3. Adapt to the stressor: If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself.
  4. Accept the things you can’t change: Some sources of stress are unavoidable.

Tip 3: Get moving / Do physical activity 

Tip 4: Connect to others

Tip 5: Make time for fun and relaxation

Tip 6: Manage your time better

Tip 7: Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle

Tip 8: Learn to relieve stress in the moment

Source: Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Robert Segal, M.A.

Activity

 

Name of the activity
Stress for Success

The aim of the activity: 
For all participants to experience a stressful situation and how to manage it for a success result.

Skills that the activity develops: 

  1. Stress Management
  2. Be focused on a concrete activity
  3. Team-working

How many people the activity is suited for: 
Minimum a group of 4

Time requirement for the activity: 
5-10 minutes

How many instructors are needed? 
1

Other requirements for the activity: 
Stress balls

Describe the activity in a clear and concise manner: 
IMPLEMENTATION: Ask participants to stand and form circles of about five to eight people. Give each group one stress ball to begin. Have the first person throw a ball to someone else and remember who they threw it to since they will be asked to remember and continue the same pattern. If there is only one group, you can be part of the group, but if there is more than one, make sure you are not in the mix, since you will need to move around between groups. Each person throws the ball to someone who has not yet had the ball. The last person sends it back to the original person who “keeps the ball rolling” a little faster than next time. (Do not have them throw to the same person twice until all members have gotten it first.) Once they have the pattern down, introduce another ball—then another and then another. Balls drop, roll, etc., but urge them to pick them up and continue. With five or six balls going at a time, it becomes quite a circus with a lot of laughing!

PROCESSING: After about five minutes, have everyone sit down and identify what they can learn from the activity (besides it being hard to keep all the balls in the air!). What did they learn they had to do to be successful? How many thoughts of what they would eat for dinner, etc.? 

This is a great lesson on mindfulness, as people are totally in the present, and thus would be an ideal activity for groups when addressing the subject of mindfulness. Point out that life is like the activity—we all juggle many things at one time, and if we are not focused, things get dropped! If we focus too much on the past or present, the stress balls will pound and bombard us if we are not alert.

References

  1. Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Robert Segal, M.A
  2. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm#
  3. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk
  4. http://blog.trainerswarehouse.com/stress-management-activities
  5. Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence – The Ground-breaking Book that Redefines What It Means to Be Smart (2006) – New York [u.a.]: Bantam Books.

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