Why ask if someone’s behavior stresses you out? An approach to prevent and manage crisis and de-escalation begins with self awareness and self care. These preventative strategies are paramount and begin long before the crisis or escalation ever happens. Research-proven best practice shows Prevention is the dominant paradigm for dealing with Bullying, Crime, Fire, Risk Management, Suicide, and Theft.
How does it work?
You start by understanding how stress affects you – how you act, think, and communicate. Your stress reaction greatly affects the outcome of your interactions.
Your reaction determines your effectiveness to manage a situation.
What is stress? Dr. Richard Lazarus, an influential psychologist who studied stress extensively, has defined stress as your perception of your ability to cope. Notice the word perception in that definition. Stress is not the event but your own response to it.
Think about it: if you can deal with the situation, is it stressful? No. What is stressful? Stuff you cannot deal with.
Stress is your ability to cope with the demands of the situation emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Crisis management starts with you!
De-escalation skill starts with self-awareness. You start by understanding how stress affects how you act, think, and communicate. Your stress reaction can greatly affect the outcome of your interaction with the other person. Stress, as previously defined, is your perception of your ability to cope. How you react can make a difference in your effectiveness in managing the situation.
Being aware of how you react under stress is one of the keys to understanding how to de-escalate others. Self-awareness is a focus on your own stress reactions.
Think about the last time you had an argument with someone: What would have happened if you lost your cool and started to scream and yell at the person?
You know the answer to that question.
Screaming and yelling does not de-escalate the situation. Maintaining self-control is paramount. The saying is true that “cooler heads will prevail.”
But how? Have de-stressing strategies available and ready to help you in any situation that could arise. You will need strategies that you could use any day; before, during, and after a stressful situation. These strategies will help you manage your own stress reactions and cope with the situation.
Stress then becomes beneficial for you.
Stress can be a good thing in moderation.
Research shows that some stress is advantageous to have increased awareness and responsiveness. Your stress can be a motivating factor – it pushes you and challenges you.
- Recognize your own stress reactions
- Use your stress to your advantage
- Create supports for your physical, mental, and emotional needs
- Create a plan for self-care
- Manage yourself before managing others