Springing back into shape

Springing Back into Shape

In Article, Performance, Success & Mindset Reset by admin

How you respond in times of crisis could indicate your ability to manage your mental and  emotional state. It may also indicate your ability to set aside the highs and lows of the moment  and engage rational thinking processes prior to responding to a situation. 

The year 2020 brought with it challenges aplenty, uncertainty in abundance and a barrage of triggers  for mental and emotional highs and lows. Managing personal energy, balancing the emotional highs  and lows and functioning rationally despite the fear and uncertainty is where psychological resilience  becomes a core enabler for leading self and others.

What is Psychological resilience?

Psychological resilience is “the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to  pre-crisis status quickly”, simply, the ability to spring back into shape. Crisis is an event or situation that leads to risk, stress, loss, fear or uncertainty for an individual or group of people and could vary  in size and importance based on the perceptions of that individual or group of people.

Understanding what is happening in the brain in times of high stress or crisis is the first step to  learning how to spring back into shape. When faced with a perceived threat, a person would  frequently experience anxiety, fear, confusion and disbelief. This activates the survival instinct  sending all energy and processing power away from the rational part of the brain (cerebral cortex) to  the emotional part of the brain (limbic system). Any response while the limbic system is in control  will be an emotional response, and while there are situations that require an emotional response,  most situations will benefit from a balanced rational/emotional perspective.

Springing back into shape is a skill worth mastering and to master it you need to ACT.

Usha Maharaj
Emotional vs Rational

It is vital to recognise when your rational mind is being hijacked and take action to spring back.  Springing back into shape is a skill that can be learnt and one worth mastering. In observing the  behaviours of leaders through the havoc wreaked by Covid-19, leaders with the ability to spring back  into shape responded rationally and engendered support while those blinded by emotion made poor  decisions impacting not just themselves, but entire nations.

The speed with which you are able to spring back into shape could mean the difference between  delivering an impactful positive response or not. Developing this skill begins with an awareness of  what is going on inside of you, understanding how you process information and then taking steps to  improve and adapt this process. Doing this will help you to deliver thoughtful responses as opposed  to emotive reactions more often than not. You will know that you have mastered the art of springing  back into shape when you consistently speak, act and share in a way that is seen as rational,  constructive and considered.

Springing back into shape is a skill worth mastering and to master it you need to ACT.

Here are 3  steps to get you started: 
  1. Awareness – Regularly impacting others in a negative way? Reflect on the triggers of your  behaviours and try the steps below.
  2. Context – Alter your response by reframing the context of a situation away from the  problem toward the potential benefits.
  3. Time – Pause before you respond. During the pause, complete a rational process like  counting to 10. This will help to redirect vital energy away from the emotional to the rational  part of your brain.

Click here for a quick read on how to maintain a positive mindset. 

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PRO TIP

Do you feel stressed, anxious or overcome by guilt or regret after speaking your mind?

If this is unusual for you, it could be a sign that you’re weighed down and negatively impacted by stress and outer experiences and its time to take action to step back into the rational, real you.

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About the author:

Usha Maharaj CA(SA) is an Executive and Leadership Coach in South Africa who went from small town trainee accountant to Director in a Big-4 audit firm. Her 16+ year corporate career had all of the highs and lows of a high performing workplace where she shattered setbacks, crushed challenges and conquered fears to enjoy a highly successful career. She now inspires ambitious individuals and executives to reach their own highest level of influence in corporate South Africa.
Find out more at www.ushamaharaj.com.