Ever walk away from a conversation where you feel the other person has dumped the weight of their world on to your shoulders?
Where they walk away looking visibly lighter and you feel as if you have been dragged through the wringer?
With close to 1 in 3 people in Australia wrestling with uncertainty, stress and anxiety at this time, it is more important than ever that we check in and listen. But it is just as important that we take steps to protect our energy and mental health.
3 tips to better manage the emotional and energy load in conversations:
Set explicit boundaries for what role you want to take in a caring conversation. Is it listener? Carer? Supporter? Cheer leader?
Know that providing a sympathetic ear is usually enough to transform someone’s day for the better. You don’t need to take on the extra emotional burden of problem solving or fixing.
Understand that the other person is responsible for their thoughts, feelings and actions they do or don’t take.
While life can be challenging and tough, it is not all black, gloomy and stressful. Negativity is contagious but so is positivity. Help balance conversations with:
Empathy rather than sympathy “Wow, I can see this is tough for you” and adopt a mindset of curiosity.
Perspective taking questions: “How have you managed this type of situation in the past?” “What are the kinds of strategies that work for you?” “Are there any silver linings?” “What are you learning?”
When the conversation ends take a break for yourself. It takes just 5-minutes to reset and recharge.
Move and “shake it off” – change your posture, stance, sitting versus standing, take a quick brisk walk
Take a couple of slow deep belly breaths to activate calm with your parasympathetic nervous system
Tune in to 3 things about your life that you appreciate or feel grateful for. Cultivate the associated positive feelings and enjoy 2-3 mindful minutes
Then set an intention for how you want to show up for the next conversation or for the rest of your day
Fleur Heazlewood: With over 20-years corporate experience and as a past CEO, Fleur Heazlewood is an expert in workplace resilience and wellbeing leadership. Fleur partners with CEO’s, Human Resources and managers to create positive, healthy, resilient and productive workplaces. Fleur helps leaders build personal resilience, emotional intelligence, mental health and wellbeing. She helps managers to develop positive leadership practices, build psychologically safe teams, and support staff who may not be ok.
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