"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us." ~ Marianne Williamson

Monday, January 30, 2012

Don't Let Difficult Situations Get The Best Of You: What To Do, When You Don't Know What To Do.

Today's blog stems from several discussions I have had with others, regarding the topic of "crisis." The term crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. Sometimes it is those overwhelming moments where a situation is out of control; words start spilling out of your mouth during a heated argument and before you know it you're giving them a piece of your mind and then some. Maybe you find yourself behind the worse driver on the planet and all of a sudden you're blaring the horn and giving a one finger salute, only to realize the eyes glaring back at you in complete shock belong to.....your boss! Eeeek! This my friends is a "moment of crisis," then what follows afterwards is the feeling of regret and wonder as to what came over you to act that way? How could we not see the consequences of our words or actions?

While we have no control over many situations in our lives, I hope to share with you a technique I learned to help stay in control of yourself during an intense situation. In a moment of crisis we become so overwhelmed that it causes our brain and body to begin releasing hormones and chemicals at rapid speeds. This relates to the part of the brain known as the, Limbic System, which is most responsible for our emotions (Clink here to Learn More).  This is also related to the "Fight or Flight" response, that ignites in a moment where we feel threatened and regardless of what happens, everything (and everyone) around us seems to be a threat. Our rational mind goes out the window and we are now living in the "survival" moment, and not thinking about the consequences of our words or actions. Your brain is only focused on survival, not thinking clearly, and could potentially set the tone for a regrettable situation. 

Moment of Crisis- 15 Minute Time Out Rule
Moment of crisis lasts about 15 minutes. This is the amount of time that it takes for your brain and body to realign itself and get your chemical and hormones back in balance. Giving yourself this time can help prevent you from lots of regrets. Whatever it is that gets your warning sensors blaring, try these three steps. The next time you find yourself in a situation of intensity, whether it's on the road, at work, in public, or even when you're home, give yourself a TIME OUT. Yes, that's right.

 15- Minute Time Out Rule
If you thought time outs were just for kids, think again. Sometimes we all need a little time to sit and think. Here are three simple steps to help overcome your moment of crisis. 

1. STOP: If you find yourself feeling emotionally overwhelmed, stop whatever you are doing. If you're in a heated discussion, ask for some time to gather your thoughts. Before responding to anything via e-mail or via Facebook or Twitter, give yourself a time out before hitting the send button. If you're on the road and about to get on edge, try pulling over to a safe location. 

2. SIT: Try to find a quiet and safe place, where you can just sit in silence and gather your thoughts. Remember to do this for a complete 15-minutes or however long it takes for you to calm down. 

3. BREATH: Getting some oxygen to your brain is a great way to start relaxing your mind and body during a moment of crisis. Try closing your eyes and visualizing something positive such as the words love, sunshine, or calm. 

This technique is something that I learned during my mental health training many years ago, and has still remained a popular piece of information I like to share with audiences. You would not know the numerous texts or calls I have received from friends letting me know that they used the 15 minute rule at some point in their life. I have also found this helpful when making big decisions, or even before making a large purchase. 
Life can be overwhelming at times, but we don't have to let out of control situations get the best of us. This is why knowing about mental health is critical to preparing us for the unknown and hopefully can help in making better decisions. Sometimes knowing when and how to take a step back during a tough time can make all the difference. 

Be well, 
Ane :)