Do you recall the last time you went to the Doctor and had your Vital Signs checked… were they in the normal range… or NOT so much?
If your job is keeping you up at night, makes you feel irritated, or causes you to have severe health issues, any one of your vital signs could and probably will spike. That’s a good thing because it’s the bodies alarm, warning us that we need to change something…
It’s the bodies alarm, warning us that we need to change something… “Warning, warning, beware, wake up, take control!”
What are (Physical) vital signs?
Vital signs are measurements of our body’s basic functions. The four main vital signs that Doctors and health care providers usually check and keep on file are:
- Body temperature
- Pulse rate
- Respiration rate (rate of breathing)
- Blood pressure
Unhealthy physical vitals that are left untreated lead to many different illnesses. Stress on the job can cause bad eating habits, lashing out at co-workers, addiction, and even divorce.
The public service profession can be very stressful, especially when you add PTSD and Cumulative Career Trauma, typically caused over time when experiencing repetitive horrific incidents.
Since you were born, your vital signs have been used to detect and monitor medical problems. But what about emotional stress… how can we measure our emotional stress and well being as a vital sign?
Keep reading, you’re about to learn how to read the signs!
How to check your Emotional vital signs
Knowing your Emotional Intelligence is a VITAL that should be checked often. It is just as critical as your physical vitals, but often overlooked. Having just the basic understanding of emotional intelligence gives you the ability to manage your emotions in stressful events.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is learning to become aware of OUR emotions and to recognize that our emotions drive our behavior – good and bad.
VITAL Tools and Exercises for Mental Health
Part of the 18-step ladder RITE Instructors use in teaching the emotional steps of mental health, shows the bottom or negative emotions and how they affect us throughout our day.
The higher one climbs, the more positive the steps get.
Placing Vital signs on where you are on this ladder is important to strengthening your mental wellness. Just start by being ‘Aware’ of where you are on your RITE ladder. This is called, ‘having Emotional Awareness.’
When you are ‘Aware’ of where you are on the ladder, then you can begin to place a VALUE on your own mental wellness. Your mental wellness value is important to your survival as a firefighter, police, EMS, 911 operator, and corrections officer.
There are internal and external factors that can influence your emotional intelligence and how you handle life’s daily stresses.
Internal: Inside of us
- Your Hot Buttons
- Things you feel are unjust
- Your Implicit Bias
- Childhood Experiences
- How you handle stress
- Sleep Patterns
External: Outside our control
- Bullying, Toxic, Angry Co-workers
- Ticking Time Bomb Employee
- Harassment and Discrimination
- Entitled Employees
- Witnessing unethical incidents
- Racial Equity Injustice
Think about the effects of ‘being mad’ on your bodily vitals.
- Restrictive shallow breathing, and even holding your breath
- Increased pulse rate, clinching teeth, and fist
- Less oxygen to the brain…unable to think clearly
- Higher blood pressure
- Block-Out Syndrome – Making Stupid Mistakes
Increasing your EI VITAL of Emotional Intelligence means you are making a commitment to being AWARE of your emotions at all times. Controlling your emotions is your EI VITAL to controlling the daily stress in your life, while providing a more successful and long-lasting career.
VITAL Tools and Daily Check-In Exercise for Mental Health
When jumping from call-to-call, getting your emotions in-check between calls and throughout the day is key to community engagement. One thing that helps do that is what we teach in our training, called ‘The Daily Check-In.’
The Daily Check-In is an Officer Wellness exercise that helps work on and take note of our emotions from waking up, until they end our day at home. Some will notice they stay pretty level-headed at Confidence, Optimism, and Joy. Others are surprised to note that although their day starts at with Gratitude, they quickly move to Frustration, Anger, and Worry.
“When you learn to control your emotions, using your daily check-in, you learn to control every situation.” ~Randy Friedman
RITE’s Emotional Awareness ladder is the first step in learning what makes you tick. By asking yourself, “what I am feeling” you start the process of understanding your actions.
The RITE Model helps improve department morale while building community trust.
No one can make you mad, no one. If you get mad it is because you allowed someone to get to you. ~ Linda Webb
At RITE Academy, we have been able to provide over 950 agencies (fire, police, ems, 911 operators and corrections), helpful EI Tools and Exercises that help each person personally control their emotions. It’s a huge Ah-ha when you finally ‘wake up’ and realize that you no longer have to listen to that toxic co-worker. Emotional Awareness is the positive choice you can choose to make better decisions while having a healthier profession.
RITE Training helps ALL public service agencies improve communication to avoid the Block-out Syndrome, to De-escalate situations, build Career resiliency, Leadership skills, and Departmental recruiting. Contact us about RITE TRAINING at your agency.