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Mental health: 5 keys to maintaining emotional balance during crises

What can we do to avoid being on the negative side of this whole situation.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. This article was updated on July 28, 2020

As we know, most of us go through crisis, just like our countries. They are life cycles that, if we resist them, produce an effect contrary to what we seek: they persist with more force.

Sydney Sims vía Unsplash

Now, a context crisis does not necessarily imply that the individual emotional microworld must replicate it.

To achieve this it is necessary to train in maintaining emotional balance.

The concept of crisis encompasses that of change, since it deals with situations that generate modifications with consequences.

A pandemic, dismissal from work, the country's economic situation, a divorce, a scam, are crises in themselves, which have different types of emotional impact on each person.

Cognitive bias, that is, the most common form of brain reaction, for many people is to take them as a failure and, therefore, the negative sign is placed within the individual and even collective attitude and interpretation of the moment they are going through .

Factors such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, cardiovascular diseases, and poor adaptability do not help us achieve the necessary emotional balance. This is how the visions are closing, the tunnel seems to have no light at the exit and we immerse ourselves in a trap that apparently will have no end or alternatives.

The concept of crisis encompasses that of change / Image: Anthony Tran via Unsplash

What to do to maintain emotional balance during crises

Thinking of ourselves as humanity, we are an interrelated system: we interact in the best possible way, we connect and transmit that flow of experiences, energy and information to each other.

The form that this energy takes will be contributory or restrictive. This means that if, in the face of the same crisis, two people assume it as a failure or in despair, they will strengthen each other in a downward spiral of what we can call non-contributory or restrictive emotions: they drag each other down.

On the other hand, if the same people have a realistic-optimistic view of the situation, for example, considering their internal strength to go through the challenge, the result will be exactly the opposite: of contribution to lift each other up.

To illustrate this issue, in the social systems in which we live inserted, the role of leadership helps to move from crisis to opportunity, at least from the deepest sense that can be assumed. Therefore, a leader can contribute to accompany the people on their teams in a greater sense, so that, despite what they experience, they can go through it in the best possible way.

Here is something curious: the difference between a boss and a leader. The boss, a top-down, giving orders, controlling, is a practically obsolete model with little life left. The new leadership , more conscious, contributory and people-centered, is the one that will give life to the new dream, the new epic of that team, so that, going through it together, they come out as strengthened as possible.

As we can see, they are two views of the same issue, the same crisis. What radically changes the outcome is focus and attitude.

These five keys will help to have contributory visions in the face of crises, both personal and collective:

  1. Face situations. The reptilian urge to cope or run from problems is key. When he runs away, you will continue to drag the problem no matter how much he hides it under the rug. Instead, by facing it, you will have the enormous opportunity to grow and transform ourselves, because you will lift the veil of hidden learning.

  2. Always choose the attitude, and especially when there are things that are beyond your control. In crises there are aspects that have to do with the individual, and others that exceed your power of control or decision. The ideal is to learn to manage it, and the tool here is that you choose your best attitude. The attitudes are three: positive, negative and neutral. In the positive pole there is no major problem. The challenge is in the negative polarity, where you generally get carried away by worry, fear, obsessive fantasy even by things that have not happened, and may never happen. You lose too much energy that you could redirect to other types of thinking and internal constructions that help you get through the moment. Going to the middle pole, neutrality, will allow you to observe the problem from different perspectives, take distance, avoid judgments and automatic responses and thus, have another dimension of the issues. Even from your own internal emotions.

  3. Change the perspective of matters. When you indicate the word "problem" to the brain, you will realize that it locks up, stops. On the other hand, when you indicate through your subconscious mind, “I am looking for the solution”, “it is an issue that I am going to solve”, “I am going to act instead of staying stuck”, right there a generative internal process of possible exits begins . This is solely up to you.

  4. Express emotions. Those of us who work with human behavior, as is my case as an executive and business coach for professionals and teams, know that the tendency of the majority is to want to control emotions. A secret between you and me: emotions cannot be controlled; in any case, it is possible to manage them. The difference is huge: when you control, you want things to be your way. When you manage, you manage emotions in such a way that in that internal chess you are playing in the best way to accommodate the pieces in a game that is contributory towards you and your direct environment. So, create spaces to share what you feel; don't cover them because they turn inward in the form of psychosomatic illnesses or conditions (and always check with your mental health professional here). Write your emotions, even burn that paper with the emotions that do not support you (in the manner of what Alejandro Jodorovsky proposes in his methods that he calls psychomagia). Do what works for you so you don't get stuck in that emotional state of internal shock that keeps you from moving forward.

  5. Move towards proactivity. Stephen Covey postulates that when we are reacting to things, the circle of concern within you widens internally, and that of influence shrinks (the possibility of real change over what you DO have control around you, your square meter of positive influence ). On the other hand, when you act proactively, thinking about and activating solutions, the circle of influence widens considerably until your circle of concerns is minimized. This is a fundamental distinction: being proactive moves you towards the result, while in reactive mode you obstruct the possibility of solutions to problems.

Now you know: the balance of emotions depends directly on your attitude and how you allow external events to impact you, no matter how difficult they may be and no matter how complicated things get. There are always options on the road to overcoming the crisis. And that improvement begins individually, without waiting for another person to come with a magic wand to solve it for you.