You may feel like the fall was a blur - many people do. Moving from election craziness through holiday chaos, you've experienced emotional ups and downs.
Think back to a time when you experienced a negative emotion in 2016 and answer these questions:
Name the negative emotion that you experienced (write name here):
Rate the intensity of the emotion (1 none to 10 high intensity):
Quickly list three things that happened that triggered this emotional state:
Look back at your answers above - were the triggers serious enough to give up four hours of focus and energy? Were you aware that working under stress creates mistakes, which, in turn, creates more stress and rework? Can you see this in your reflection above?
There are appropriate times to be in a negative or positive emotional state that block your ability to think clearly. Examples are a serious illness in your family or the birth of a child. You can learn to catch yourself before your brain and body goes into protection mode. If the triggers are not worth shutting down your brain and losing your energy, try to notice and grow these areas:
Self-Awareness - Learn to notice when your mood begins to change
Self-Regulation - Learn a few tricks (deep breaths for a start) to return to a focused, productive state
Empathy - Notice and understand the emotional states of others to replace judgement
Here's my own 2016 example: I was facilitating a large project management workshop. A man (this is NOT his picture) who seemed to be angry about coming to class (my interpretation) arrived late. He worked hard not to participate and surrounded himself by people who were in a similar mood. They all sat together at a back table. Here's where my emotions started to challenge my energy and focus:
Self-Awareness: He's an instigator and making me mad. Why is he angry at me?
Self-Regulation: Should I call him out? He's distracting others so maybe I should yell at him or tell on him?
Empathy: I wonder what happened to him before this class to make him so unhappy.
Notice in the first two parts of EQ, I'm focused on myself, judging someone else by what I believe behavior should look like. These are not facts, but my interpretations. Empathy helped me begin to reframe. I was able to mitigate my self-awareness by noticing it was not about me. I reframed self-regulation by taking a few breaths to calm myself. Emotions ramp up in 90 seconds or less, so there's not a lot of time to stop the negative impact.
To Refresh, start noticing your reactions. For five days in a row at 3 PM each day, think through the starting exercise again (name the emotion, intensity, triggers). I predict you'll notice that you are letting other people and circumstances steal your energy the same way, frequently. Look at the situation starting with Empathy and you'll see new ways to keep your energy.