So many times we act before we think when we should think before we act. Prisons are full of people who wish they had one more second to think. Unfortunately now they have many years and in some cases a lifetime to think but they still can’t change what they did.
What makes one person wait and another act impulsively? This requires a far more complex answer than the space and time I have available here. One thing however seems to be of help to anyone and that is creating distance from the thought to the response. In order to do this I think you already have to have a plan in place in your mind. Part of that plan is to learn to read yourself. By this I mean become more aware of your own sensations when you are getting angry or upset. Take a moment and sense what you feel when you first become upset. Some people may feel more tension all over their body, another person may feel a knot in their stomach, and still another their ears becoming hot. Most of us have never taken much time to think about this but I am sure we all have tip offs as to where we are within our angry state if we would just tune in. Once we become aware of what we sense when we are getting upset we can make a plan. For example when I feel that knot in my stomach I will take three deep breaths before I respond no matter what. When I feel my ears getting hot I will swallow three times before I say another word no matter what. When I feel my body getting hot I will count backward from ten to one slowly before I make a comment no matter what. You need to have this in place in your mind so you don’t have to think about it when it occurs. With practice it can become an automatic response to yourself rather than your automatic response to another person. Try it repeatedly and give yourself time to learn this new skill. Over time you may be surprised how much it helps you feel more in control of yourself in your interpersonal relationships.
Use this Card to…
- Become more aware of your level of anger or stress
- Develop new techniques to handle your anger or stress level
- Be more objective in your response to another person
- Learn to “read” your own body better