Teenagers have a language all of their own, one phrase that my son frequently puts to me during moments of tension is ‘just calm yourself’. Whilst it’s not what I want to hear at the time it is good advice.
Tensions, especially relational can disrupt our mood, actions and ability to make good choices. Here are 3 ideas to help ‘calm yourself’ when a colleague or family member is causing frustration.
1. Chill Out – plunge your face into a basin of cold water, the colder the better. As you hold your breath for at least 30 seconds your body instinctively triggers a lifesaving reaction, thinking you’ve fallen into a frozen lake. Blood vessels narrow, heart rate slows, and oxygen is directed to your vital organs. The distraction alone will quell your rage.
2. Take a Breath – heart rate synchronises with breathing. Slow long breaths will lower heart rate, focus on exhaling for at least 6 seconds repeatedly for up to two minutes.
3. Give it Time – emotions are natural. If badly managed they can give rise to inappropriate behaviour but the fear of bad behaviour shouldn’t cause us to ignore or suppress the emotion itself. Like waves, emotions build, rising to a peak then crashing and dissipating. The first two techniques should help to manage the peak phase. As this passes it will still take time for the wave to reach the beach and disappear into the sand. It’s important not to disrupt this process by revisiting the cause of the emotion too soon, as doing so acts like a tidal barrier and that wave or emotion can’t naturally subside.
Special Thanks to the Savvy Psychologist Dr Ellen Hendriksen for these tips.
It’s thinking like this that underpins our conferences, coaching and team development, talk to us to find out how we can help your organisation improve performance.