When You Want to Lose Your Shit, DON’T
I hate hearing these two words. Especially when I am about to lose my shit. I have on occasion been told that I am overreacting and am too worked up. Sound familiar?
In the past (and sometimes even now, I admit) my reactions to some situations have not been great. I have a tendency to explode first; think later. So much so that one of my business partners used to call me Nitro.
Now I look back on those explosive times and am embarrassed really. Those reactions weren’t good for me — or for others. I had a short fuse and it blew – a lot. Today, those explosive moments are few and far between. (I suffer the occasional flare up. I admit.) This changes has taken an immense amount of self work. It’s something I have to work on every day. And the struggle and effort is worth it. The more I can “stay cool”, the better I can convey my points and argue authentically.
Here are a few tried and true tips for staying calm in a storm:
- Count. To 10, to 100, to whatever number you need until the need to react passes.
- Bite your tongue. Literally! Sometimes it’s the only thing that works for me.
- Breathe deeply. Over and over. Until the calm moves in and the storm passes.
Once you’ve quelled your explosion, ask yourself a deeper question: Why was I going to blow in the first place? Can I control this? And do I really care THAT much? If you’re willing to get to the root of your problem, follow these tips:
- Ask “Is it yours?” You’re asking yourself if the situation truly involves and/or directly impacts you. If it doesn’t, let it go! Say “It isn’t mine so I’m not going to get involved.” Done. Washed. Next!
- If it’s yours ,admit it. Listen to what is being said – you may not like it, still please listen. Then think before you speak.
- Take a time out. Say it out loud if you need to: “I need a time out!” Then think about what it is that is going on and how you feel about it. You are allowed to give yourself time, put your thoughts and feelings together and then coming back to the situation.
Here’s the cold hard truth: if you have a short fuse, there are things going on in the background. Stop hiding them; stare them square in the face, and truly look at what they REALLY are. When you start dealing with the shit that lives deep within your reactions will change.
I reacted the way I did because I was so busy trying to keep my emotions locked away anytime that when something “real” came up for me to deal with, I couldn’t. My reaction to hurt was anger and I would blow. When I started to deal with the past emotions I locked away, my reactions changed.
Here are some questions to ask yourself next time you feel like letting off steam:
- Am I at fault?
- Will this solve anything?
- Am I improving the situation?
- Should I be helping you?
- Am I uncomfortable?