I’d gone out from a day out with a friend, we’d taken out dogs to the beach in her doggie van (she’s a groomer). Home after a fab time and I put my hand in my pocket to try and find my keys, no joy. Not there. I checked the van, around the front seat, the console, the ground below the van, nothing.
After turning out all my pockets, and checking everywhere five times or more, I was getting frantic, my two dogs waiting patiently to get in and be fed, my friend, lovely and patient as she is, had five dogs in her van waiting to go to their home and be fed too.
I decided the only thing to do would be to smash a window!
My brilliant friend insisted we go back to the beach, check the car park and see if we could find the keys before doing something so drastic.
As I went to climb back into the van, I checked my jeans back pocket and the keys were there!
Brilliant! Problem solved.
But the deeper problem was illuminated, a pattern of mine to go straight to detonation when faced with an obstacle, to wreak havoc.
And as I spent time exploring this issue, I realised it came from that feeling of powerlessness I had as a child and the inability to fight back. So I go straight to violence and a show of strength which is often (ALWAYS) the last thing needed.
Nowadays I tend to think first before I react but sometimes I still jerk the tray I want from the bottom of a pile of plates and end up with broken crockery all around me.
So, I created this for you and me.
The Check it before you Wreck it Checklist
Now, if you’ve already lost your shit for whatever reason, you can use it to do what you can to get back on track!
Doing something that dramatically changes your physiology is usually a good way to jump-start things. Even if you’re not feeling in the mood, do one of these things and you soon will feel better.
- Do the 7-11 breathing technique until you start to let go of the feeling of overwhelm/anger/fear.Here is how you do it, and it is as easy as it sounds: 1 – breathe in for a count of 7.
2 – then breathe out for a count of 11.
Make sure that when you are breathing in, you are doing deep ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ (your diaphragm moves down and pushes your stomach out as you take in a breath) rather than shallower higher lung breathing.
If you find that it’s difficult to lengthen your breaths to a count of 11 or 7, then reduce the count to breathing in for 3 and out to 5, or whatever suits you best, as long as the out-breath is longer than the in-breath.
Continue in this way for 5-10 minutes or longer if you have time – and enjoy the calming effect it will have on your mind and body. An added bonus of 7-11 breathing is that the very act of counting to 7 or 11 is a distraction technique, taking your mind off your immediate concerns.
This 7/11 breathing technique for relaxing quickly is the most powerful we know and has been used for thousands of years throughout the world.
- Put on some loud music and dance around like crazy. In a 2008 article in Scientific American magazine, a Columbia University neuroscientist posited that synchronizing music and movement—dance, essentially—constitutes a “pleasure double play.” Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.
- Leave it and come back when you’re in a more resourceful frame of mind.
That’s it. That’s all you need to do because as you breath in a structured way, you will distract yourself from the problem/issue and as your stress level comes down, your ability to think and create solutions comes online.
Don’t resist in getting clear. Don’t stay in righteous anger, because the person its hurting most is you!
Let it go!