We all have things that set us off. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being overtired or not feeling well, at other times someone might just simply say the wrong thing at the wrong time. In the blink of an eye we go from being fairly level headed to seeing red! Unfortunately when this happens we can act/react without thinking and may say or do things we'll regret later on.
I think it is safe to say we have all been there before? After all, we are only human and having bad moods is just part of life. However it would be nice to tame that temper a little so that we were more in control of how we react to challenging situations.
Here are 4 steps that we can all use that not only help us become more mindful of ourselves, but also help us tame our inner beasts and avoid overreacting!
Stop - As soon as that little light goes off in the back of your head, warning you that anger levels are rapidly increasing and there is high risk of overreacting, then just stop. Whatever it is you are doing stop for a few moments and take a mental step back.
Breathe - It is incredible how much our mood affects our breathing, you have probably noticed when you get angry or scared, your breathing becomes quicker and shallower, which means that you are no longer getting the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange you should be, which only enhances the emotion you are experiencing. On the plus side you can consciously alter your breathing, by slowing it back down and relaxing your belly so each breath flows naturally and deeply from this space. By doing this you will also help ease the intensity of the emotion. So that expression ‘Just breathe!’ when confronted by stressful situations is actually very good advice!
Reflect - Take a moment to think about why this situation has upset/angered you so much? Consider whether part of your emotional reaction might come from your own inner dialogue to what is happening? Are you egging yourself on? Is it possible that you are a little tired, or projecting other frustrations onto this experience? Is it possible that the other person is just having a bad day or projecting themselves? Taking the time to reflect can really help put things into perspective and give you a clearer view of how you can move forward.
- Walk Away - Okay, I agree this is often easier said than done, but there are some situations where walking away is the best thing you can do - even if it is just for a few moments. Walk away, take a few deep breaths, reflect on the situation, consider the possible outcomes from here and before returning, decide which outcome you would prefer to come into play and how you can help achieve this.