Like weeing your pants….
You have held back and held back and finally let go. You get a sense of relief, however this is quickly followed by ‘oh no’ and ‘how can I fix things and clean up the mess?’ We are talking about how it feels when we react inappropriately to someone. How can we intercept our ‘normal’ or habitual reactions, those that are destructive and don’t serve us?
This is a common question in training and coaching.
We find ourselves in conflict or under stress when we perceive the world differently to how we think it ought to be. Stress can also be triggered by experiencing key competing commitments, wanting to do at least two things at the same time and feeling guilty irrespective of which one we chose. A classic example is a parent who wants to work overtime to get on top of things but then feels guilty for not spending time with family.
Whether we experience stress or conflict; one of the first emotions to go is empathy. Our body does not know the difference between mental stress and physical stress. If confronted with a big lion, the body’s response is fight or flight, it is the same for mental stress. The body is flooded with the hormones that enable us to fight or run, with nothing left for empathy. We can’t have too many things going on at once…… hard to survive a lion attack if we have an urge to cuddle it at the same time!
Consequently there is a tendency that while under stress our relationships suffer. We snap easily, we get impatient, we easily get into tiffs. Once this is happening the conflict quickly takes on a life of its own, rolling in the wrong direction!
To counteract this we need self awareness and self management.
Take a look at our Understanding Mindfulness video as a tool for self awareness and self management.
Self awareness is about self monitoring, recognising the thoughts and early signs of stress and dealing with them then and there. The signs can be a sensation in the stomach, tightening in the chest or throat, that we start swearing or shouting, that we feel impatient or experience joylessness, etc.
Self management is doing what needs to be done once the sign has been recognised. It may be going for a walk, seeing a counsellor or taking a few minutes out by using one of our 10 Minute Wonders. In other words doing what it takes to rebalance, to calm down rather than behaving inappropriately. We enter the situation with the empathy required for continuing a good relationship.
If you notice nervousness or other symptoms of stress and you don’t have much time, then a mantra can also work. I use ‘trust’, I simply repeat the word till my mind can hear nothing else. I ‘outshout’ the worry or panic thoughts. Find a word that works for you, other words could be: love, peace, gold, strong, faith or whatever works for you.
Would love to hear about your experiences, comment on our blog or email us your thoughts.