How to Reduce Stress and Make Better Decisions

how to reduce stress and make better decisions

This is the fourth part of a series of posts on Emotional Intelligence. You can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In this post, we’ll look into the last 2 key components of Emotional Intelligence – Decision Making and Stress Management.

Decision Making

Decision Making is the ability to take decisions in an objective manner, without being influenced by the emotions that are prevalent at that point in time.

Decision Making has 3 sub components –

  1. Problem Solving
  2. Reality Testing
  3. Impulse Control

1. Problem Solving

Problem Solving is our ability to find appropriate solutions to the problems in situations where emotions are involved.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that have strong emotions surrounding them. You must have often seen or experienced instances where decisions taken in a few such situations often lead to bigger problems. One of the main reasons for that is, the fact that the decisions taken are biased by the emotions that are prevalent. In such situations, it’s always important for us to wait for some time before taking the decision. This will wane down the impact of the emotions and as a result the decision would be more unbiased.

2. Reality Testing

Reality Testing is the capacity to remain objective by seeing things the way they really are.

As in the case of Problem Solving, strong emotions involved often cause a bias in how we perceive facts and result in misinterpreting facts or hampering our ability to get into necessary detail or ask appropriate questions. All of these negatively affect the decisions we take. Hence, it’s important to stay objective during these situations.

3. Impulse Control

Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision making.

Impulse Control doesn’t mean that we hide our emotions or sugar coat them. Impulse Control involves our ability to delay expressing our emotions when we are going through strong emotions. As we delay the expression, we try to understand the cause of such strong emotions and identify an appropriate way to express them. This ensures that the emotions are conveyed appropriately without impacting the relationships or causing stress.

Stress Management

Stress Management is the ability to cope up with the stress and minimize its impact.

Often, the clients whom I coach, use the words “Pressure” and “Stress” interchangeably. I’ll explain the key difference between them. Pressure kicks in when there is shortage of resources – like time or money or people and so on. Pressure is external and it is inevitable. It exists in everyone’s life. However, Stress is how we react to the pressure. Often, we begin worrying about the outcome of the pressure. It is this worry that causes Stress. So, it’s internal. While Pressure is inevitable, Stress is a choice.

Stress Management has 3 sub-components to it.

  1. Flexibility
  2. Stress Tolerance
  3. Optimism

1. Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to adapt to different emotions, thoughts and behaviours to different situations. Flexibility helps the individual to have an open mind and welcome different ideas. It helps the individual to absorb feedback periodically and course correct if needed.

2. Stress Tolerance

Stress Tolerance involves coping with difficult situations and believing that one can manage or influence situations in a positive manner. It’s one’s ability to not let pressure negatively impact their composure. Many great leaders absorb the external pressure and do not let it impact their teams which enables their teams to deliver with ease even in crisis situations.

3. Optimism

Optimism is one’s ability to stay positive and hopeful even in unfavorable situations.  This attitude helps them stay resilient even when they are going through adverse situations.

Together, these 5 key components of Emotional Intelligence (Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management) not only create awareness but also point us in the right direction to improve Emotional Intelligence. In the next post, we will see how Emotional Intelligence will help you in your personal and professional life.

STAY HAPPY, STAY BLESSED!

(Aditya Kuchibhotla is a Career Coach and a Life Coach helping people with their personal and professional aspects. You can reach out to him on his website www.adityakuchibhotla.com)

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