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The Art of Self-Management

All of us will inevitably experience negative and uncomfortable emotions MANY times throughout life. We can’t avoid them, but it turns out we can choose how we respond to them. To do this takes practice and diligence, but ultimately determines just how much these emotions impact our lives.

Just as it is vitally important for a business’s success to have strong management in place, it is just as important for our well-being (and that of a business’s) for us as individuals to learn self-management.

Self Management: the process of managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources. 

Many people think that this means avoiding, suppressing, or denying one’s emotions or experience. But rather, it is learning how to respond to emotions and experiences in order to reduce harm to ourselves and others, and to help us navigate challenges more skillfully. 

How do we respond when we become emotionally activated?

Amygdala Hijack – in situations of high stress the amygdala takes over. The prefrontal cortex (in charge of rational decision making) goes offline when this happens.

The world-renowned mindfulness program, Search Inside Yourself teaches a tool to help when we get hijacked. This process helps bring the prefrontal Cortex back online.

SBNRR – Stop, breathe, notice, reflect, respond

  1. Stopping interrupts the automatic cycle of reacting mindlessly
  2. Breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system so we have more perspective. Maybe this is for a moment, maybe for several minutes.
  3. The next step is to notice. You might notice your emotional state, physical sensations, and your thoughts. This noticing practice helps to bring attention to what is actually happening. 
  4. Then we can reflect. We often want to think right away, but the prior steps are so important to allow for some stability first so that we can respond mindfully.
  5. Respond from a more mindful place.

So the next time you find yourself reacting instead of responding, practice some self-management by doing this process. I guarantee it will bring more ease into your day, which will ultimately make you more productive, creative, and effective in your work (not to mention happier). What do you have to lose?

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