Why is emotional regulation so important in business?
It’s fundamental because your emotions are a HUGE piece of the pie in terms of what drives your behaviour.
It’s not just fundamental in business, it’s a skill that is fundamental in your whole life.
This is what I’m going to be talking about in depth in this week’s SOS! (success over stress) group programme module. It’s HUGELY important to understand our emotions and how it shapes our behaviour and our results.
Your emotions create physiological, hormonal and psychological changes. These influence your thoughts and behaviour!
We’re not actually taught how to handle our emotions, or that we can really have any influence at all.
We kind of just accept them or learn to suppress them.
We only really know what parents and primary caregivers taught us about emotional regulation. But what if THEY weren’t really taught by their primary caregivers.
The important thing here is to note the generational differences. We’re essentially being taught emotional regulation of ‘the time’.
Taking into account what was and wasn’t acceptable in society at that time.
A huge amount of unconscious bias comes into the way we’re taught to be humans.
If you want to understand more about unconscious bias I did an episode specifically on that in 2020.
So you can see how this cycle continues.
We kind of go through life suppressing emotions or letting them take over.
We might learn as children that it’s not ‘ok’ to feel or express our emotions.
But even if you suppress them. They’re still there. They will come out in other ways.
But something that’s also important to know is that you can’t make good, conscious decisions in the midst of an emotional hijack.
Making decisions is something we need to do all the time as a business owner.
Now, to be abundantly clear, ALL emotions ARE welcome. They are not to be demonised. They are helpful indicators.
BUT, if you don’t know how to regulate them, you can get in a pickle.
Think about a time in your business when something happened that made you feel anxious, or scared, or frustrated.
How did it feel?
How did it affect your ability to do things?
If it was a sympathetic nervous system response, it might cause you to speed up, make mistakes, go into fight or flight, say something you don’t really mean, make rash decisions.
If it’s a parasympathetic nervous system response, it might cause you to freeze, people please or not be able to do much of anything.
The Limbic system in the brain is your emotional brain.
Home to the amygdala (fear centre), the hippocampus (memory centre) Hypothalamus (regulates the Autonomic Nervous System and controls endocrine, or hormone system. So responsible for releasing Adrenaline and cortisol. And for the fight/flight, rest/digest response.) They’re all talking to each other.
There’s something called ‘going limbic’ which is where your limbic system totally overrides your prefrontal cortex which is your higher level, executive functioning.
Your IQ literally lowers.
How do you think this affects your behaviour in those moments?
So, as a business owner, or in a high stress job, where you’re reacting all the time to potentially ‘threatening’ stimuli.
What do you think is going to happen?
Some common things might be snapping, shouting, crying, lacking focus, taking things personally, blaming.
Emotional regulation is self control and the ability to be able to bring yourself back into balance at will.
So how do you regulate your emotions?
There are a tonne of ways! I put 55 tools and techniques in the members area of the first round of my SOS! (Success over stress) group programme. I know I’ll be adding more in as we go along.
But think about what calms you down and gets you back on track?
There are cognitive tools like reframing, labelling and journaling.
There are somatic tools like breathwork, heartmath, movement.
My favourites are always singing and dancing. Singing helps tone your vagus nerve and the dancing helps the emotions to move through you too so you don’t get stuck in an incomplete stress cycle.
It sounds so counterintuitive to be in the midst of ‘going limbic’ and dancing or singing but trust me it works!
This is why that programme even needs to exist.
How does it feel to be hijacked by your emotions? You do things you wouldn’t normally. You can feel in a heightened state of panic or anxiety. Everything feels harder!
But we don’t have to be ruled by them in this way.
Meditation is another amazing emotional regulation tool. Mindfulness.
It’s operating that ability to command yourself.
So taking you out of the limbic brain and waking up your prefrontal cortex so you can rationally think things through and make better decisions.
Sounds much better right?
The other thing we need to be aware of is that emotions are contagious.
You’ve probably been around someone who’s super stressed, how do you feel?
You’ve probably been around someone who’s super calm and patient, how do you feel?
It’s emotional intelligence, right? Being able to recognise yours and other people’s emotions.
Self awareness and self regulation are two huge pieces of the puzzle.
Think about it, if you have the ability to regulate your emotions how different would it feel when you have setbacks? When people let you down? When a client doesn’t treat you well? When you have to give a refund? When you feel like you’re trying all the things but not getting the results you want yet? When you get a no? When something happens you were totally unprepared for?
Think about what your normal reaction might be in those situations and compare it to what it might be like if you were able to regulate your emotions.
Big difference right?
I believe the ability to recognise and regulate your emotions is paramount in living a life that you love, especially in running a business.
By its very nature it’s stressful because to do it, usually we have to go against so many of societies ‘norms’ about what’s safe and what’s not.
We go head to head with our own trauma.
Our brain and our nervous system will fight us the whole way if we don’t know how to help create ourselves a new base line of safety.
How many times have certain thoughts come up for you and stopped you in your tracks? The comparison, the i’m not good enoughs, the beliefs of it’s for them not for me. Our ego playing hard ball to try and keep us in the familiar.
If you don’t know your way around this stuff, how to be present with your emotions. How not to demonise them and see them as messengers and indicators rather than something to be suppressed or denied.
How not to blame and shame yourself for your own emotions when it’s part of being human.
THIS is the work that’s important in business…and in life.
You can have all the strategies in the world and that’s great, but not in isolation.
You need to know you can, and learn how to work with your emotions and self regulate.
BUT, this IS a skill you can learn. It’s not your fault you haven’t been taught it. It’s absolutely something you can learn. Make that your priority for a while and see the changes unfold!
Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
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