Furious? Losing it? About to do something you regret? Take a breath, and think about these tips...
1. Go slo-mo
You’re on icy roads doing 200km/hour. There’s a winged grizzly bear with a chain-saw swooping down on you. Rapid heart-rate, adrenaline surge, your mind races to take the best immediate action. All good in high-pressure emergency situations - but not the mode you want to be in when you’re dealing with friends or relationships.
It’s also the worst state to be in when you’re in an argument or something hard to deal with, which happens to be right when you want to let off steam. Before you blow up or hit send on that message, cool off, give it some time ...then check rear-vision mirror for winged grizzly.
2. Step out of it
The human body has excellent ‘bio-indicators’ or early-warning systems that are ultra-sensitive to, well, being a dickhead.
Indicators include feeling hot, getting the sweats, tightness in the neck, involuntary clenching of fists, uneasiness in your stomach or your mind racing - all ways your system tries to steer you away from making a mistake.
Be aware of your personal bio-indicators, then take a step out of the situation that’s causing them to red-line and stay out until all systems are back in the green. Congratulations, you’ve just avoided being a dickhead!
3. Bounce it off a mate
Tunnel vision = bad. Perspective = good. All right, it’s not Confucius, but it works. When you get feelings or thoughts stuck in your head, and you’re not getting anywhere with them, unload onto a mate.
Just saying it out loud can give you clarity, and running it by people you trust gives perspective, especially when it’s not what you were originally thinking. The annoying thing about this tip is that you kind of have to listen to what other people are telling you.
4. Emotions don’t hurt people, actions hurt people ...man.
It’s ok to be angry or upset (emotions). It’s not ok to be violent (actions). It’s how you react to strong emotions that will be the difference between you ending up a class act or a douche.
5. Everybody say ‘I'! ...not 'You'.
Handy little trick: When you tell someone, "You are a..." they usually get defensive, and their first reaction is "Am not!"
But say, "I hate it when blablabla..." and nobody can really argue with that. Only you get to say what you feel. It’s an old sales trick, but it works because it makes people more likely to hear what you have to say. E.g. "I love the late-‘90s WRX models - classic ol’ school turbo..."
So, next time you’re about to tell someone they’re annoying or crap, rethink your words and make it about you. For example, "I don’t like it when we’re late - I want us to try to be on time for things". And once they’re turning up on time to stuff, you can try selling them that piece of junk Subaru.
6. Choose your battles
The point of an argument is to find the best possible outcome, not to ‘win’ for the sake of it. Next time you find yourself arguing, double-check you’re doing it for the right reasons, and remember...
Good communication involves:
- negotiating and cooperating (everyone wins), not manipulating and competing (someone has to lose)
- listening to the other person (not cutting them off, talking over them or putting them down)
- staying calm (not yelling to shut people down or intimidate them)
- working through stuff (not giving up because it’s a difficult topic)
If you're losing it or want more help staying on the right side of the line contact 1800 MYLINE (1800 695 463)...