We all get upset at times. I also know that when I am upset having someone tell me “calm down” is the last thing I want to hear. It is almost as if everyone around you is cool and collected, except you. And for me, this makes me just want to explode because I cannot grasp why everyone is just so calm and I am over here fuming. This can even make us become defensive, and begin to think of all the negative things – toxic thoughts consume our minds. And once this happens, we are not able to think reasonably, causing us to blow up.
We also know that blowing up on someone is not the answer. Typically when we do this, we end up saying things we shouldn’t say and maybe don’t mean. We hurt others, and we end up hurting ourselves. And after it is all said and done, we think back wondering why in the world we acted that way and how it went south. “Why did I say something so mean or hurtful?” “Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut and take a moment to calm down?” The list of “Whys” can go on and on. But how do we change this? How do we calm ourselves down in order to avoid any negative consequences of being upset?
I read this great article this past week about the author’s daughter creating a five step plan that allows a quick recovery from being upset. Who would have guess that a child under the age of 10 would have such great insight into calming oneself down, but she does!
- Breathe into your discomfort.
We have all heard the phrase “just breathe” countless times, and probably hated hearing it too. Despite not wanting to hear these words, they hold so much truth in them. If we are about to breathe, taking deep belly breathes, we are able to lower our stress levels and this helps our body begin to relax.
- Close your mouth so the sounds can’t come out.
Like I said earlier, we often say things we shouldn’t when we are mad. Whether you need to cover your mouth or even walk away for a second, allow yourself to actually calm down before speaking. Truly this gives you the time to collect your thoughts and not let your emotions control your reactions.
- Make up a mantra. And repeat it.
The author’s daughter tells herself “Feel better, feel better, feel better” but anything can work. The author mentioned that she likes to say “Everything is going to be OK or You don’t have to have all of the answers right this minute.” Having a mantra, or phrase to repeat, allows you to focus on the words you are saying, repeating them over and over, until you begin to feel a sense of relief.
- Close your eyes.
When you keep your eyes open, you are not giving yourself the chance to truly be mindful of your breathing and calming yourself down. Closing your eyes allows you to cut out the surrounding world and the things that got you upset in the first place.
- Shift your vantage point, and focus on something new.
Think happy thoughts, it is as simple as that. Think about a cute puppy, or your favorite place to go on vacation, or maybe even your favorite holiday song. “Happy thoughts actually decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase serotonin, the neurotransmitter of well-being: brain research has shown that happy thoughts increase both mental productivity and the ability to analyze; they literally make us think more clearly.”
So the next time you get upset and are ready to blow, take a step back and try to use these 5-steps to see if you are able to calm down before anything escalates. If it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, keep trying and modifying each step to see what works best for you!
If you want to read Kaia Roman’s full article “A 5-Step Plan To Calm Down When You’re Upset,” check it out here – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20242/a-5-step-plan-to-calm-down-when-youre-upset.html
Having a hard time controlling your actions and words when you’re angry? Talking with someone can help you figure out what areas can be improved. If you’d like a partner in making change, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378! All of our Orlando Individual counselors can help you change negative actions when angry! It is possible for you to calm yourself down before things esclate! Give us a call to begin your journey!