We´ve all experienced the feeling of being triggered. That moment when our emotional brain hijacks our thinking brain, threatening to dismantle everything as impulsive behaviour and overactive emotional reactions kick in.
With an average of 60,000 thoughts a day and only 8-9% of those being present moment thinking, it´s not surprising how quickly our impulse control side swipes us especially when we feel stressed or triggered, activating our amygdala hijack.
When the emotional part of our brain, the amygdala is hijacked, oxygen and blood flow quickly away from the thinking brain to our larger muscles, allowing us to react quickly to navigate out of potential danger. However, this process can also prevent our ability to tap into the cognitive side of our brain which utilises logical, rational, balanced decision making.
But we do have a choice.
Understanding more about Impulse control, especially as a core competency of emotional intelligence allows us to control our emotions and desires and learn techniques that will help us avoid inappropriate outbursts and poor decision making.
To start, pay attention to what triggers you, as it will allow you to uncover useful information that will help you not only expand your self-awareness but also your self-leadership
Explore repeating patterns of behaviour and the situations that can often leave you feeling unheard, unappreciated and out of alignment with your values, and observe how you instinctively want to react.
Be conscious of the impact tiredness has on you, and your ability to manage your impulse control.
Be aware that you cannot control or change other people, however you can control how you choose to react to them and respond to the situation at hand.
So how can you learn to control your impulse control and follow the rules of engagement in the workplace around emotions and behaviours that can be life changing or career limiting, if not adhered to?
- When you are triggered by a situation or person, STOP and breathe before you react. Breathe into the count of five and breathe out to the count of five and repeat these three times. This simple exercise brings your heart and brain into coherence, it is also a scientifically proven way to emotionally regulate
- Whilst breathing, listen to the person speaking, ask questions to understand their point of view but don´t feel the need to respond immediately.
- If you know one of your triggers is feeling stressed or pressured, manage your time to allow for a buffer, to breathe and re-centre before meetings.
- Practice present moment thinking.
- Explore your triggers and your bodily response, so you can recognise the warning signs.
Talentsmart have revealed that leaders who can learn to manage strong emotions even when feeling stressed or pressured, while maintaining a healthy sense of humour, are more successful in building stronger relationships, being creative and meeting professional goals.
To learn more about emotional intelligence and where you score on impulse control on our EQ-I 2.0 assessment please contact a member of our team to book a free consultation.