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Show notes: Episode 14, Stress Tolerance

Episode 14 show notes: EQ and You, Stress Tolerance

Kim and David talk in this episode (14) about Stress Tolerance. Unfortunately, part way through this show an echo develops, and it persists. So we cut this episode a little short. But it’s still interesting. Stress Tolerance is the second competency in the Stress Management composite, and the second last episode in our series on the MHS model of EI.

Please join us in two weeks on Friday, January 29th at 9:30AM Pacific, for our next broadcast on Optimism. Interested? You can subscribe to our EQ and You reminders.


Stress Tolerance involves coping with stressful or difficult situations and believing that one can manage or influence situations in a positive manner.

History of stress, Hans Selye

About Hans Selye

Linking Emotional Intelligence and Performance at Work: Current Research Evidence With Individuals and Groups, by Vanessa Urch Druskat, Gerald Mount, Fabio Sala

Stress Tolerance tip sheet (PDF)

Most effective ways to boost performance

Forty years of stress research (PDF)

Evidence that emotional intelligence is related to job performance and affect and attitudes at work (PDF)


Partial Show notes

0:00 Introduction, by David
0:30 David: We’re here to discuss Stress Tolerance. Stress is very uniquely related to individuals. What stresses me may not stress you and vice versa…
100 Kim: I’ve reached a point where I’m not really stressed by stress. Things happen. [Laughs] Stress is information. I get sweaty palms or an increased heart rate and I just pay attention to that information. One danger is the self talk that can happen in response to stress…
2:30 David: Yeah, stress is pressure to take some action. If we can take the action then all is well. If we can’t take action, then we may experience some secondary stress… We’re often talking about the bad reaction when we’re talking about the primary stressor. It’s so often seen as negative…
3:50 Kim: Being aware of stress gives us an opportunity to avoid the negative reactions. Given certain priorities, for example, how can I respond creatively…
4:30 David: So stress is neutral information in the first place, and then we use our EI capacities to avoid turning that information and those contexts into “stress being a bad thing.” Let’s change how we view stress. It’s a requirement of living.
6:15 Kim: Yes. Even as I hear you say those things, I relax. When we see stress as a part of life, we can engage with it positively.
6:45 David: Responding to stress means being flexible about your to-dos and your priorities. Responding to stress can also mean examining our image of ourselves…
9:00 Kim: Articulating your experience of stress to others can also be very valuable. Put it out there to others and that can elicit humour. It can elicit a little chuckle and also an opportunity to do some reality testing.
9:45 David: [Laughs] Here’s a humorous vignette: I was giving a talk once and the audio technician couldn’t get the video working, and I became so worried, but then I acted out the humorous video and it was fantastic. Once I got over the initial anxiety, everything worked out fine. Delivering the message was critical, and it worked out fine… often these details seem like life or death.
12:30 Kim: [Laughs] Yes, it feels like life or death. It’s fight or flight! It can cause freezing up, sweating, heart rate increase… Self-regard and optimism are key here. If we remember our other successes and can envision success, then we can respond creatively…
14:00 David: It’s not the first time I had to respond imaginatively to a situation I found myself in… Sometimes we have to take a breath, calm down, get grounded, and examine the way we’re thinking about a situation. Organizing our thoughts differently can save ourselves worry and anxiety… tolerating stress is also about how we create stress…
16:00 Kim: Yeah, how do we say “yes” and “no” to the various things we’re taking on. How do I take responsibility for the stress we create…
17:00 David: Sounds like you’re saying assertiveness is a related competency.

We need to be careful not dump stress on people around us.  Tweet This!

18:00 Kim: Yes, and saying no, is doing right by someone…
18:20 David: Yeah, but the social pressure to be available to say yes to someone is huge. It’s hard to resist sometimes…
19:00 Kim: This takes us back to this social pressure that we present ourselves as fully formed and fully functional… sometimes saying no, and being vulnerable, can create an interesting and deep connection…
20:30 David: This is partly about how we work and relate to each other. Sending email can be tricky… We need to be careful not dump stress on people around us.
21:45 Kim: One required question is am I responding or reacting?…
22:45 David: Response and responsibility requires the right amount of stress. When our response meets the challenge, then we’re in balance… One leadership model distinguishes between reactivity and creativity…
24:50 Kim: To sum up maybe, is we’re talking about self-talk, self-management and balance. It’s good to examine our assumptions about a situation. It’s good to get curious about a situation or person causing stress…
26:00 David: We examine our emotional operating system and create a management plan. We have the technology…
27:50 Kim: Be flexible with yourself. Don’t lock yourself into a particular story about a situation or context. That constant working on self-awareness is really important.
28:45 David: Yes, and problem solving and impulse control are also helpful tools here. Take the time that’s necessary to respond – resist the impulse to react. Reach out to others about how to handle things. Don’t isolate. This is especially true for men who generally have a harder time reaching out for help…
30:00 David: Join us next time for our show on Optimism! It’s going to be great! [Laughs]

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