By Michelle Anne, MBSR, PCC, Acharya, WOSB
Emotions can elicit stress
“She’s too emotional.” “Can’t we just get our work done and move on.” There are so many classic responses to emotions in the workplace. And sometimes folks are correct people can be overly sensitive. Some of us are highly sensitive, while others avoid emotions at all costs. However, the unfortunate reality is that these comments not only lead to lower productivity and conflict, they reduce creativity, performance, trust and bottom-line. Brain science helps us to cut to the very core and learn to use emotions and anxiety to increase our personal effectiveness. Because many of us do not understand the importance of emotions to decision making and how to feel comfortable with our own emotions, productivity, bottom-line, and people suffer.
Let’s look at emotions as an example. I often see leadership uncomfortable when someone responds with an emotional tone in a meeting, writing them off as irrational, unstable, etc. It almost seems they feel emotions should be removed from reasoning. Did you know, brain science reveals quite the opposite. Evidence shows that the emotional brain is critical to making effectivedecisions. Studies show that the emotional centers of the brain act almost like an accountant taking inventory of risk and reward. The limbic system which is our emotional center of the brain, is where our “gut” feelings come from, many call it our intuition. This system in the brain feels, and unconsciouslyresponds within .2ms. This is before our conscious brain comes on-line. The conscious brain I’m talking about is the part that helps us make rational decisions, think through different perspectives, etc. So what I’m saying is that emotions are unconsciously registered in the brain before our conscious brain is aware something is happening.
Through feeling and understanding our emotion and responses that we register, we can create not only a more thought out solution, but can gain necessary buy-in from staff by addressing their fears and building a trusting relationship through the real listening. When we compassionately connect with others, it reduces stress in both parties. Inside the brain, mirror neurons fire allowing us to feel what the other person is feeling. We will actually feel and/or sense fear, excitement and other emotions. This connection to others around emotions can actually give us great insight and perspective to make quicker decisions as well as build trust and really motivate others.
Anxiety & Stress
How often do you realize you are stressed or over your limit? What do you do about it when you are anxious? Many leaders feel stress and anxiety doesn’t impact their decision making, so they push on, and they tell their staff to push on. Science tells us anxiety and stress does impact our decision making, quite the opposite of what many leaders think.
The anxiety center in the brain connects directly to the thinking center (Prefrontal Cortex). The thinking center (PFC) allows a person to differentiate conflicting thoughts, good and bad, same and different, future consequences and helps with prediction of outcomes. When we are feeling anxious or stressed the amygdala (part of the brain that senses fear) disrupts the thinking center because safety becomes our only concern. This disruption affects short-term memory, risk assessment, and attention. So next time you feel stressed… take a break, use a stress reduction technique to come back into balance, before making that decision.
Find these interesting tips?
What if I told you, by understanding brain science you could be more effective leader or become a leader… would you want to learn how?
What if I told you, you can learn how to rewire your brain and learn to convert stress into intelligence… instead of feeling you need to be more industrious… would you want to learn how?
Understanding brain science, just may lead to you being happier, more influential, and creating a new reality for yourself.
Learn from Harvard-trained psychologists how you can:
- Rewire unconscious behaviors and habits
- Increase confidence
- Turn uncertainty to possibility
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- Increase productivity
- Bring teams into alignment
- Foster positivity
- Create new possibilities
This article was originally posted at themastercourse.com
Michelle Anne, MBSR, PCC, Acharya, WOSB is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.