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I created a 3 part series to help you pinpoint how stress is affecting you so that you can start to do something about it:
Part 1: How Stress Affects Your Body
Part 2: How Stress Affects Your Emotions
Part 3: How Stress Affects Your Mind
The week we are discussing stress and your emotions.
In today’s episode you will learn:
Emotions, while sometimes very inconvenient, are essential for providing information about how we feel about what is going on around us. Stress influences our emotions and our emotions influence our stress.
When you become more aware of your emotions you can use that awareness to understand your emotions. You can then see how stress impacts your emotional state -which can impact every aspect of your life. Yikes!
When you understand your emotions, you work better in teams and build stronger relationships. You also respond better in stressful situations.
What could mean for your business? Think of all the possible benefits of working better in a team, of being able to build stronger relationships (hey investors!) and of being able to respond as this amazing version of yourself in a stressful situation (hello leadership!). These are incredibly valuable assets for an entrepreneur.
Action step to understand your emotions: Next time you are super happy or excited about something, ask yourself: What is this emotion trying to tell me? What is it that I value about this? Or what need is being met? This will help you understand your ‘negative’ emotions more effectively.
Consider the concept of ‘emotional well-being’ - defined by stress expert Brian Seaward as, “the ability to feel and express the entire range of human emotions, and to control them, not be controlled by them” (2018, p.58). I’m going to propose the idea that all emotions are healthy - it is how they impact us and how we use them that can make them unhealthy.
Take ‘fear’ for example. Being afraid of stuff is so important!! It can protect us from physical danger. It’s information. Emotions are data that you are collecting about what is going on around you. I’m afraid of failure - ha, I’m an entrepreneur too! When my fear of failure is "healthy" it can help me to make tempered decisions, to acknowledge risk and make a thoughtful decision. When my fear of failure is "unhealthy" it could become all I think about, it could paralyze me, it could lead to complete inaction. In this example, my healthy fear of failure might actually help me to manage stress - I’m aware that I feel afraid, I figure out why, and I use that to help me make a decision that works for me. In this example, my “unhealthy” fear of failure could lead to inaction, which could cause stress - especially as an entrepreneur, because if I’m not moving forward, if I’m not working, then I’m not making money and that can all cause some very real stress.
As an entrepreneur, I know you love data. Emotions are packed with useful data! Are you really willing to let this data go without trying to understand it?
3 step process to beginning to understand your emotions better:
You can zero in on your experience by stating: In that moment, I was having the feeling of being afraid… or sad… or mad… or glad!
Maybe you were feeling more than one of these or have a different word you might use. There is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings.
Take a moment and become aware of how you were feeling.
3. Why was I feeling that? Now that you know what you were feeling, why do you think you were feeling that?
For example, I was having the feeling of being mad because…
What was this emotional response trying to tell you? Were you tired? Were you stressed? Was there something you wanted or needed that you weren't getting?
Use Steps 1-3
Complete the sentence:
I was having the feeling of (mad, glad, sad, afraid) because of x.
How will you start working on noticing how stress impacts you and why? And what will you do to fix it?
My top three resources for learning more about your emotions:
1. Seek out a mental health professional. Someone professional trained in human emotions - like a therapist or a psychologist. Am I saying that you are crazy or there is something wrong with you? Nope. I’m saying that you are human and want to be the best version of yourself. I think that having a therapist is one of the most valuable tools an entrepreneur can have to help them stay sane and on top of their game in the middle of the chaos of running a business. When you understand yourself better (your emotions, your thoughts) you are going to be better at your job (and everything else).
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