Climbing Beyond COVID-19 by Managing Your Emotions
Recently, speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic on the London Real Channel, I heard Greg Braden say; “We are right now in a collective process of grief, whether people know it or not.”
It’s true. We have all veered off the path of our ‘normal’ way of life – our daily routines, our social gatherings, our connectivity. As social beings, this is a significant loss. Although there are well-meaning efforts to highlight and recognise the positive aspects from the lock down ( in my case the clean air and hearing the birds), you could gain so much more than that by paying attention to the deeper emotional experiences that you are going through in both personal and collective capacities.
That means firstly acknowledging that elephant in the room, GRIEF.
Grief is seen as a negative emotion, but imagine for a moment if you were to welcome grief like an old friend, believing she belongs just as she is. I use the feminine pronoun because we are speaking about a very strong emotion and it’s the feminine energy in all of us that reminds us how to hold this – with kind attention.
The next important piece of Braden’s message was a reference to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who has written and researched extensively on death and dying. She identified the stages of grieving that we all can move through when faced with loss. In this instance, the loss is about our familiar ways of ‘being’ and ‘moving’ in the world. Our ability to meet socially, in person, as a central theme. The grieving can extend far beyond this (others, nature, past etc) but this is in our immediate experience right now and therefore is a great starting point.
The stages can be really useful because they empower us to orient ourselves emotionally, in relation to what’s happening collectively, in a more resourceful way. The idea is that you want to aim to move through these stages in a healthy way and that means meeting and acknowledging what you are feeling.
Let’s take a look at the stages along with the feelings and behaviours they can bring:
1. Denial – fear, shock, confusion
2. Anger – anxiety, frustration, overwhelm
3. Depression – helplessness, sadness, stuck-ness
4. Bargaining – looking for meaning, reaching out, making inner deals
5. Acceptance – meeting life as it is.
Research shows that you are not able to bypass any stage, and that the sequence holds true for most people. It is also important to note that you can also go ‘to and fro’, moving up and down the ladder, while you climb towards the pinnacle stage of acceptance. The goal then, is to reach your state of acceptance as quickly as possible, in a healthy way, by staying with your emotional experience, giving your ‘feeling centre’ a space to breathe so to speak. The key is to treat where you are – in any given moment – with kind attention, believing that there is no need to be in any other place than the one you’re in right now.
When you reach acceptance, it feels fantastic. You are resourced, connected, grounded and open to the movements in life that will best serve you, as well as all humanity.
So then, it begs the question, how do we get there? We learn how to navigate our emotions.
Developing your Emotional Intelligence will help you move toward the acceptance stage, at a faster and healthier pace, by making you more aware of your emotions and how to navigate them resourcefully.
You will be more able to better manage your response to how you feel, in the moment, making decisions based on sound logic, rather than reacting through fear and anxiety. You will know that you are well able to meet the challenges in your life, any challenge, including this speed bump known as COVID-19.
Emotional Intelligence helps you become more agile, taking any shifting winds in your stride, adapting without all the frustration and inner turmoil. You will become more resilient and better able to manage your self-talk, your behaviour and your stress.
So, how can I help climb the ladder?
At People Builders, we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you and your team develop Emotional Intelligence. We are here to listen to your unique situation, so contact us today for a quick chat so we can explore together how we can partner with you and your team through our training and coaching solutions.