Are you caught off guard when criticized or pulled into an argument? Learn techniques for breathing and creating space so that you respond appropriately instead of getting swept into a trigger situation.
- When you hear something you don't like it's easy to get angry, and when you're angry it's easy to become defensive. You feel attacked. You're no longer able to listen. You go into fight-or-flight mode. You say things like, "Well, that's not fair," or "You don't understand," or "You must be crazy!" Then a day later or maybe a week later you have regrets. Your boss tells you to work on receiving constructive criticism, your colleagues say you're too sensitive, or your spouse calls you hotheaded. You feel embarrassed.
Your relationships are strained. "If only you wouldn't have been caught off guard," you tell yourself. I'm going to give you a coping mechanism. Three easy steps that will work for you in both your personal and your professional life so that you never feel caught off guard again. I call this strategy Creating Space. These three steps give you the space you need so that you can respond appropriately instead of reacting from anger. Step One: Breathe. Step Two: Acknowledge.
And Step Three: Time. Think of the acronym BAT. Breathe, Acknowledge, and Time. The first step is to take a deep breath (inhales deeply) and count silently to five. This gives you time to think about your next step. The next step is to acknowledge the information, whatever it may be. The acknowledgement can be really simple. Something like, "I hear you," or "I understand," or "I'm sorry that you have that perception." And step three, buy time.
Buy some time to process the information. You can say something like, "I'd like to think about this "and talk with you further on Thursday." Now let's put it all together. You get blindsided by something someone says and your first reaction is to want to interrupt, defend, or blame. But instead, you use the BAT method. "I'm sorry you feel this way. "I'd like to think about this a bit "and talk further on Thursday." Now you can process the information and prepare an appropriate response.
Now that you have the Create Space strategy, you can form a new habit that helps you maintain your composure and stay in charge of your energy.
- Acknowledging an anger problem
- Using calming techniques
- Avoiding other people's issues
- Understanding your triggers and old behaviors
- Mastering your narrative and taking control
- Setting appropriate boundaries
- Making anger work for you