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Your Knee-jerk Reaction Can Cause Stress

Contributor ,

re you living a life in De-Stress Default?

This happens when we as a norm experience a knee-jerk reaction for when things go wrong. It could happen if a child breaks a vase or we get yelled at in work. We have a negative response or we think negatively. If something happens that appears to be stressful, we become even more emotional. Stress can be infectious.

With our already hectic lifestyles, there are simple ways to avoid the de-stress default trap. We don't have to allow our stress thermostat to simmer or come to a boil when we come into contact with stressful people or events. We can respond positively.

Here are two simple steps to avoid the de-stress default trap:

One: Breathe

Every time you encounter a stressful person or event, take five deep breaths before you respond. Breathe deeply; exhale slowly. Five thoughtful breaths allow us to craft a positive response to replace our normal knee-jerk old way of reacting. Taking five deep breaths calms us and provides our brains with oxygen to think clearly and creatively.

Be proactive. Take five deep breaths when you first wake up, and take five deep breaths before you fall asleep. Take five deep breaths before you answer a telephone call from a stress-instigating family member or co-worker.

Two: Cultivate Your Emotional Intelligence

Dozens of studies find that negative emotions can be contagious, at home or in the workplace. Negatives can be a chief instigator of De- Stress Default.

don't see unhappy or stressful happenings as something negative. If you use emotional intelligence, you can make it a positive and learn to sequester de-stress default. Emotional intelligence defines your ability to gauge and act on another person's emotional reactions.

If you recognize that your boss usually is in a bad mood on Monday mornings, you have equipped yourself with the emotional intelligence to pro-actively avoid meetings (or better navigate your way through conversations that you can't avoid) with that person during those time periods.

If your kids seem to be prone to accidents, and most kids are, use emotional intelligence to shrug and think "Oh well, accidents happen.". You won't have quite as angry of a reaction.

Instead, you can pro-actively plan to be a role model for patience and a helpful teacher in showing how your children can how to avoid accidents. You can also become a role model for forgiveness.

If you tend to panic on deadline, use your emotional intelligence about yourself to create more time to start your projects well in advance of deadlines.

Your emotional intelligence needs to be developed and utilized. It can be a powerful tool to help you avoid the De-Stress Default trap, trim down your fast-paced lifestyle, and add some reasonableness to your coping mechanisms.

Ruth Klein

An award-winning business owner, best-selling author and marketing and time management consultant.


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