Stress can often seem almost inescapable, particularly at work. Recent studies have revealed that the clear majority of stress for American adults is work-related, with 80% of workers reporting that they feel stressed on the job and 40% claiming that their jobs are highly stressful. These studies go on and on, listing the innumerable correlations between our stress and our careers. However, these bleak findings have been tempered by the recent discovery of an inverse relationship between emotional intelligence and stress on the job. To foster emotional intelligence in the workplace, begin with an awareness of both self and others.
A higher level of emotional intelligence is often paired with a heightened sense of self-awareness. This allows us to better recognize stressful situations and develop strategies for successfully managing them. It becomes easier to identify the strong pull of emotion, and decidedly choose a response. This awareness extends further to others, as empathy for those around us reduces the chance of conflict.
Stress at work can cause poor decision-making or to otherwise act impulsively. Giving in to these impulses will often only amplify a negative consequence. To that end, developing a sense of how to respond rather than react, can effectively defuse the situation with clear, rational, and helpful thought. Furthermore, cultivating an environment of listening deeply to one another provides an outlet to both heard and understood.
Finally, awareness adds knowledge of our limitations. It is never a weakness to ask others for assistance once we’ve reached our limits. While it may often seem that we carry our burdens alone, the truth is we all carry our crosses at different times. To that end, asking for help when needed and providing it when asked is a great way to relieve stress and develop empathy.