Build this into your new way of life:
1. Stop. Stop what you are doing. Just. Stop. Do not say one more word and don’t say what it is on your mind because you know deep down that that’s not what the situation, and you, needs right now. I’m sure you’ve heard, “the problem can’t be solved with the same mind that created it.” Let’s get you into a more positive mind set before you snowball into destruction of self and others.
2. Have awareness – become aware of the emotion you are feeling right now? Does this situation really need anger/guilt/resentment/defensiveness? Can I rationalize this situation? Can I problem solve and remove the defensiveness? Can I put myself in that other person’s shoes? You don’t have to judge your feeling, or judge why you felt it, and feel guilty, just be aware. Interesting, I’m so angry right now… why? When you are in a state of question, you have removed yourself from a state of blame, defensiveness and resistance. This awareness will create an openness in yourself that you may have never found or experienced before (because previously your emotions and reactions were dictated by an automation of quickly jumping to conclusions, fighting back, being defensive, etc.
3. Take 5 slow deep breaths – take more if you’d like. Breathing is an immediate increase in positive energy, serotonin, dopamine (the feel-good hormones) and a sense of calm and peace because it sends oxygen to enter the bloodstream and head straight to the brain, internal organs and muscles. Your mind and body are influenced negatively when you are in a tense situation and therefore need some attention. Providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide will help detox your body quickly. It will also help to remove the focus from the situation and place it back on yourself (awareness), which is exactly what is needed right now. You must deal with yourself before you (consciously or unconsciously) throw fuel on the fire.
4. Drink a glass of water – excuse yourself and grab a glass of water – you have now removed yourself from the situation that created distress in your body, and you are giving your body fuel to help create relaxation in your mind and body (by reducing your heart rate and stress hormones floating around your body). This also provides more time to rationalize the situation. Do I really mean to be this _______ (insert feeling: frustrated, defensive, angry, guilty, etc) because of someone else’s opinion, belief system, incident that I can’t take back, etc? No. Never. This is self-destruction which will never solve any problem constructively and will ultimately set you up for even more failure down the road.
5. Ground yourself. What does that even mean? It means to come down from being up in the clouds, creating irrational and fictional situations in your head. You need to become rational with some common sense for this moment, situation or experience. Get your head out of the clouds and plant your feet back on earth. This is done so quickly when you bring awareness back to your feet and body, instead of reacting with emotions/thoughts/feelings. Since you have already walked away from the situation to grab some water, you have at least already removed the stressor. Now focus some energy into your body and ground yourself this way. Plant your feet firmly on the ground (best is if you can take your shoes off and really stand outside on the grass/dirt/sand – becoming one with nature and the universe). Visualize roots growing out of the ends of your feet and going straight down into the ground which will help make the grounding feel very real. If you are unable to visualize this, try focusing on your feet and make them feel very heavy. If you enjoy meditation, which I really recommend for mind and body connectedness and overall health, do some meditating now to calm both your mind and body.
This 5 step process can be used in any situation that requires more self awareness and self help.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, feel pressured to make a quick decision, or were just hurt by a friend or family member.