It is surprisingly easy to lose your cool, and to react to minor stresses and to irritating people. However, most of us would rather feel relaxed and in control, and the following guidelines can help us reach this goal.
- Keep things in perspective: Often we catastrophise or over-react when the issue or offense is insignificant. Here, it is best to force yourself to take a balanced approach and remind yourself, “it’s minor, and not worth the energy!”
- Visualise yourself coping: Take a few deep breaths and let your feelings settle down. Draw a mental picture of a calm, unflustered “you”, who takes their time to respond and is able to cope. Then, in a calm, low voice – with a few well chosen words – respond as you would like, so you maintain your self-respect.
- Be aware of your triggers: When someone pushes our buttons we generally react. However, if we know what those are then we can regain control, and can practice how to cope when our feelings are stirred. Also, if we’re tired or hungry, feeling cold, or over-stretched then we’re much more likely to over-react.
- Create a calm environment: Stay one step ahead by preparing yourself for inevitable setbacks and infuriating people. For example, play some music in the car, or take a walk during lunch, or keep some photos in your office of the people that you love.
- Distract yourself: When you feel the pressure building, or you start to ruminate, think of something that’s amusing, or a fun event you’ve planned.
These are just a few suggestions to help you stay detached so that stresses and people don’t make you lose your cool.