Discover the difference between responding and reacting.
We all have them. Those situational “triggers” that bring on a wave of emotions and reactivity — and generally not our best thinking or behavior. What if you had a way to reduce those triggers, manage your vulnerability to them, and respond in a thoughtful way rather than react? The folks over at Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute have some simple practices intended to do just that, and more. In fact, they believe that through mindfulness practices that enhance our emotional intelligence, we can all become — well, better.
So, last week I worked with Meg Levie and Rich Fernandez from Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) to bring a mindful leadership training to my client. I attended the event and not only got to witness firsthand the practical and graceful (and humorous!) way they presented their material, I also learned some simple practices that I can really incorporate into my life. And so did my clients. In fact, we all came away with a clear vision of how these practices could lead to improved communication, better connection and a more peaceful day/life. In the workplace and beyond!
There is a growing body of research connecting mindfulness and emotional intelligence with positive, effective leadership qualities and Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) is one of the organizations leading the way on the practical application of this research. Developed at Google in 2007 by leading experts in neuroscience, business, and psychology, Search Inside Yourself focuses on teaching practical mindful leadership and emotional intelligence tools to bring out your best. The big bonus? Their program has been proven to reduce stress, improve focus, raise peak performance, and improve interpersonal relationships.
What began as a mindful leadership initiative within Google has now spread to over 30 countries and 100 cities around the world. The program uses practical exercises to improve the way we relate with others and to help us be better: Co-workers, managers, leaders, partners, family members, parents, friends.
And guess what happens when we feel like we are “better”? We feel happier. I don’t know if it comes from city living, being a parent or just operating in the world, but I find myself navigating a lot of triggers in my day. And I know if I could manage my triggers better, I would definitely have an improved sense of well-being. So here’s a start: SIYLI shared the exercise below with us last week and I want to share it with you all. Triggers be gone!
Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, Respond.
SBNRR is a practice that develops self-management and helps you deal with situations in which you may feel triggered. SBNRR is about pausing and considering alternative ways to act. It is not about avoiding, denying, or suppressing your emotions. Instead it’s about acknowledging that emotions are present, and choosing a wise response.When you become aware of being emotionally triggered, follow these steps:
This is the most important step. When you notice yourself becoming triggered, just stop. Decide to not react for just one moment.
Take a deep breath. Focus on the breath and calm your mind and body.
Notice what is happening. What are you feeling in your body? What emotions are you experiencing? What thoughts are happening? Are these experiences static or are they changing?
Consider why the trigger may be occurring for you. Where is the emotion coming from? Is there a history behind it? Is there a self-perceived inadequacy involved? Without judging it to be right or wrong, bring this perspective into the situation.
Bring to mind ways in which you might respond to this situation that would have positive outcome. You do not actually have to do it — just imagine the kindest, most positive response. What would that look like?
Try this either as an “in the moment” integrated practice, or follow the model as a way of reflecting on a past situation, using a challenging situation that you recently experienced.
*If you're interested in learning more or bringing SIY to your workplace, send me a note here or contact Meg Levie directly.