Tilt 365 Bloggers

How your family tilts under stress.

How your family tilts under stress.

Under stress, we can lean into our typical stress pattern or do a complete stress flip into other Tilt patterns.  

Here’s some signs that your otherwise well-adjusted family member is stressed and NOT just being a jerk.  

Wisdom quadrant stress reaction

Your family member could be obsessing over the news, data and information.  Become overly skeptical, critical of information, people, ideas and exhibiting generalized worry, and lack of hope for self or the world.  The true end of the world thinking.  They are simply trying hard to make logical sense of the world and take comfort in that.  If they understand it, they can feel safe.

Humanity quadrant stress reaction

This can show up as worrying too much about other people and neglecting one’s own needs (mom’s, dad’s and kids can do this).  Continuous worrying about losing connection with or being rejected by people. Worrying about other people’s opinions of them.  Being compliant with what other people want, pleasing others, not speaking up with true feelings. They don’t want to get left behind, they care about approval of others and just want to feel like they belong. 

Courage quadrant stress reaction

Being blunt and forceful with language and in conversation, dismissing others thoughts and feelings and ‘fighting’ for own point of view only. This can look like and feel like reckless behaviour with no consideration of risk or others.  They are simply afraid to lose their independence, being vulnerable and having to rely or depend on others. 

Resilience quadrant stress reaction

If someone in your family is acting hyperactive or impractical over even opportunistic this could be a sure sign of overusing resilience in stress.  They are over doing their creativity because they don’t want to lose recognition for the unique gifts they bring into the world.   Things can feel impulsive, chaotic and confusing. 


What to do about it?

Deep breaths people.  Lots of them.  Compassion.  Judgment free.

If you understand what they are worried about you have the keys to help them balance.

Right now, we don’t know the answers.  We are right to worry about safety, our jobs, our families, finances, people, the world and what life will look like when we are through this.

But we can do it in ways that are productive, kind, wise and hopeful.

We can be hopeful AND practical.  We can be courageous AND kind.

Here are some tips:

  1. Start talking about fear.  What’s behind actions we are taking or not taking.
  2. Listen curiously with each other about what the fear looks like, we need to get it out.
  3. Lean on gratitude.  In any moment, acknowledge what you are grateful for.
  4. Ask yourself and each other, where do I need to tilt my thinking right now?

How do I know this can help you?  Because I was experiencing this myself with my family...

And just like that, our worlds collided.

I’ve been working with teams my entire career.  Personalities at work are challenging.  Now mix in a little bit of family personality.  Bam.  Welcome Tilt365 “Family edition”.

Form. Storm. Norm. Perform.  Suddenly this holds brand new meaning now.

How is this really going to work?  No really.  

An extended spring break?  Sure.  We knew that this was going to be a LOT longer.

My ‘work team’ has suddenly grown to include children, pets and of course, my husband. 

We’ve always been ‘working together’ but living locked down under the same roof was going to require a different strategy.  So many questions:  what’s the vision for this new team?  how we will work together? how will we meet the needs of the team for connection, collaboration and alignment?  how do we keep our family safe, what information do we need?  how do we make sure work actually gets executed in our careers, school, chores? And how do we BE a family now, have fun, take care of our personal and mental health? 

And just like any new team, we headed straight on into the storm.

In the middle of a pandemic understanding stress reaction is gold. 

Suddenly the need to be fully aware of ‘who’ is showing up moment to moment was critical in helping our ‘family team’ navigate the choppy waters. 

There was pressure all around.  

My lawyer husband was deep into responding to his client's contract issues, arising from the pandemic and moving into execution.  Reduce risk, keep assets safe.  Leaning into structure tilt.

And there was me, connection, cross-pollinator extraordinaire.   How do I support all my peeps? Like, all of them.  How do I raise up the collective spirit?  We will be ok. We will find a way.  We always have hope.

Enter self-awareness.

I was overdoing connection, and I knew it.  The vision, the ideas, the support was becoming exhausting for me.  I was becoming overwhelmed by taking on all the emotions of people and ideas to build on and the execution of plans were lacking.  

The kids were tilting too.  Mostly in connection with each other, missing their friends and activities.  They seemed to be lacking the ability to fully lean into the Clarity tilt and consider the safety of people and how they could contribute to this in the world.   They freely leaned into Impact at times with spontaneous inventive ideas and courageous action while leaving a giant mess of destruction behind them. 

I suppose I’m pleased my kids were simply being kids and not being fear struck from what was happening all around.

And my husband? While leaning into Structure at work, would later ‘kick’ up his feet and move into  Clarity seeking more information in the news, assessing the risks, considering and planning for worst-case scenarios.

We were clearly over tilting our thinking patterns at times between being extremely skeptical and overly optimistic, and our feeling patterns at times of being overly supportive or being too blunt or direct through our feeling patterns.

So, what did we do?  We recognized it.  We embraced it.  We laughed.  We balanced. We tilted.

Talk.  Laugh.  Listen. Balance.  We will get through this together! 

This week's guest post was written by Jacqueline Arnold, ACPC, ACC. Jackie leads ♥ My Work. Over two-plus decades, she has built her career as a human resources and corporate executive, consultant and coach. She has a strong track record of transforming cultures, building and mentoring leaders, and coaching individuals towards job and life satisfaction. You can find out more about Jackie at: ♥ My Work.