How to Cope with Uncertainty:
Practicing Emotional Intelligence During Coronavirus

While we cannot control the pandemic and all that it brings, we can control who we are and what we want to stand for in the face of it.

By Michael Miller – March 31st, 2020

The coronavirus has ground normal life to a screeching halt and replaced it with… questions.

So many questions. Most of which we can’t answer because we don’t have enough data. What are we left with? A whole lot of uncertainty. And uncertainty, as you’ve probably felt, can be a particularly difficult feeling. Our brains are hardwired to dislike it, to equate it with danger. Surprising fact about our brains: We’d rather know something bad is going to happen than be in a state of uncertainty. 

The result? A spiral of reactivity.

Even people who usually navigate change well may find themselves reacting differently in times of deep uncertainty, starting to feel lost, hopeless, and anxious. When there is volatility & fear all around us, it reduces our own equilibrium. And that’s why in times like these, practicing emotional intelligence is more important than ever. 

 

How to feel less out-of-control in the unknown

While we cannot control the pandemic and all that it brings, most of us actually do have a tremendous sphere of control. We CAN control who we are and what we want to stand for in the face of it. We can control what we read and what we share. We can control how we listen to and support the people around us.

To feel more in control, we have to remember the ways that we are in the driver’s seat. For example, we have choices about our thoughts, feelings and actions. We mightn’t have total control, but we have choice.

We also have choice about which feelings we focus on. Uncertainty can derail and paralyze us, but it can also fuel learning and growth and curiosity. When we’re pushed to change, we can resist, and, we can also break out of old patterns, establish new ones, and clarify what really matters. We can step forward with purpose, and take care of our and others’ emotional wellbeing during this challenging time.

 

Apply emotional intelligence to explore uncertainty

Each calendar quarter, Six Seconds chooses a theme as our focus for research and the free EQ Cafés our community holds around the world (online this quarter). Given the state of the world during this crisis, we’re focusing on a challenging, complex, and important feeling: Uncertainty. 

Like most feelings, understanding the meaning of uncertainty will help us grapple with it. So this quarter we’ll dive into the neuroscience and psychology of the unknown. We’ll offer tips and strategies to navigate uncertainty with emotional intelligence. Here are a few resources to get started:

Go through the KCG process. Start with these essential questions, which form the basis of the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence: What am I feeling? What options do I have? What really matters?

Sign up for a Growing U class. We launched Growing U to help people and businesses cope with the current challenges – check out the schedule below and sign up here.

 

Get certified as an EQ Practitioner. Emotional intelligence skills are learnable and form the foundation of a successful relationship with yourself and others. In challenging times, it’s more essential than ever. Join the global leaders in emotional intelligence for Unlocking EQ or the next step in your EQ journey. 

 

The power of naming feelings

Research on anxiety reveals a crucial lesson on uncertainty: Name it to tame it. Decades of research show a consistent story, that when we push away or ignore feelings, we don’t solve our problems.

The first doorway to engaging our emotional intelligence is to turn in and recognize our own, and others’, feelings. No judgment, no action required: Just notice. So as you’re grappling with one of the world’s biggest challenges, if you’re feeling big emotions, recognize it. It’s a message from you, to you, and it’s trying to help you cope. Then consider: What else am I feeling?

 

Why Six Seconds?

Why do leaders from places like the UN, FedEx, Amazon, Qatar Airways choose Six Seconds’ tools and methods?

  • Global: Used in 157 countries & territories — this approach works everywhere.
  • Scientific: The latest research creates a robust approach by the pioneers in EQ — these tools are reliable.
  • Practical: It’s not enough to talk about emotional intelligence — Six Seconds helps you put it into action.

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