As the healthcare crisis created by the new virus is expanding, sensationalists are fanning the flames of fear to further their own agenda. While there is a very serious crisis in many places, and we don’t know exactly what will happen next, volatility doesn’t help. We need to ensure we’re each responding intentionally rather than reacting unconsciously, and that’s one of the central goals of practicing emotional intelligence. We’ve collected several resources from Six Seconds and the web to help you do so.
Please share additional recommendations in the comments below.
While it does not offer in-depth ideas about what to do with our emotions, this frames the issue in a thoughtful way and is a validation: Yes, it makes sense people have strong feelings.
“Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends, and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help.”
Optimism is more essential than ever when we’re facing big challenges. Martin Seligman’s 3 Ps offer a simple, powerful test of your explanatory style.
Sometimes we treat feelings like anxiety as something negative or something to push away. Yet from an emotional intelligence perspective, every feeling is a message about something important. One of the keys to getting that insight is to accurately name the feeling.
If you’re a parent or teacher, you may also be grappling with the added challenge of supporting children in navigating their emotions. The key insight in this article: Respect that their feelings are real, and while it mightn’t be appropriate to share ALL your adult perceptions, they will be re-assured by you being real.
Sigal Barsade is one of the pioneering authorities on “emotional contagion” — the way emotions are automatically and almost instantaneously transmitted between people. In this podcast & article, Barsade says, “I would argue that emotional contagion, unless we get a hold of it, is going to greatly amplify the damage caused by COVID-19.”
Offering practical insights on how to use the skills of emotional intelligence in the Covid-19 crisis, Steve Goodner reminds us to pay attention to which parts of this situation are under our own control.
“I admit, I have struggled with some of these emotions. So how do we find truth, perspective, and a healthy mindset in the midst of a global health concern. Whether it’s Coronavirus, SARS, Ebola, or something more personal, the fear of the unknown is a strong emotional trigger, and getting information from reliable sources in order to adapt to the proverbial curveball is essential to success.”
Drawing on expertise about the process of change, Ali shares four steps: C-A-L-M.
“A – accept we’re in the midst of a large rolling change wave, and no-one knows when/how the wave is going to break. Listen to the emotions and feelings that are coming up for you. Name them and be curious about what message they’re trying to give you. Ask your people how they’re feeling and listen to them with empathy, not judgement.”
One beautiful conclusion, “At some point this week, my husband and I have the joy of welcoming a granddaughter into the world. And as I hold her, I will share my own inner CALM with her.
To start preparing her for the changing world she’s entering – with love, kindness, generosity, self-compassion, empathy and a huge dose of presence. Emotions are highly contagious, and my gift to her will be planting the seeds of Resilience, even from her first breath.”
This article makes an important point that, while there are legitimate fears and we need to pay attention: When we start feeling fear, it’s all to easy to over-generalize and over-react.
Some bad news from research about pregnant women during the Zika virus who tried many typical strategies for managing feelings:
“None of the strategies, including avoiding news of the virus or minimizing its importance, lowered their anxiety levels. And one technique — suppressing their negative thoughts and feelings — resulted in higher levels of fear two weeks later.”
It continues, “So what can we do to cope with these uncomfortable feelings, and avoid passing them to others? Schwarz reports fear is often attenuated when people are fully aware of why they’re feeling it.”
Videos and More
Part of emotional intelligence is tuning into the full range of our feelings, even when it’s hard. In this week’s EQ for COVID19 video is about finding new perspectives.
What is the role of emotions in change? How are you feeling in the middle of change? Big feelings are everywhere. Why? What do emotions like fear do, and is there a better way to understand and handle feelings in the midst of change?
At Six Seconds, we say, “Exercise Optimism.” It’s hard work, and can feel impossible. But the three bridges will help shift perspective.
Anxiety is a feeling of generalized threat. It can cause us to shut down. One key antidote is reconnecting with our own sense of purpose.
When fear rises, we tend to get into short-term thinking. Yet it’s times of great challenge when our essence becomes more clear. Like a cup of tea.
One reason the emotional reactions to Covid-19 are so strong is that STRESS is already so high. Here’s a quick insight into the neuroscience of stress and why we become so volatile.
In times like these, we need to strengthen our connections and our skills… but in many places, it’s not viable to connect in person. Fortunately, the Six Seconds community has an uplifting range of free and low-cost online classes to support you to grow and practice of EQ — together — virtually: Growing-U Online
To go even further, we offer online classes for EQ professionals and numerous EQ certification programs to bring Six Seconds’ tools to your clients, students or workplace. Explore the range of online emotional intelligence programs here.