Keep Your Cool When It Gets Hot

Serene Sara  In my last post, I introduced the idea of getting ‘cubed’ or being simultaneously smart and stupid. These momentary lapses in judgment when our emotions squelch our logic can wreak havoc on our business and personal success.   As promised, in this post we’ll look at ways to avoid those moments.  How you can remain serene.

When you were a kid and got really upset about something, what did your parents tell you to do? Take a deep breath? Count to 10? Walk away? Take a time out? It turns out they knew what they were talking about. Neuroscience tells us why. When our emotions get the best of us, they override the part of our brain responsible for logic, reasoning and perspective – among other things – and we can’t access them for about twenty minutes. All we have is our emotions. Our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow, and our bloodstream is filled with toxins that can take 3-4 hours to clear.

Take a look at why your parents’ advice works.

  1. Take a Deep Breath – Research shows that deep breathing, also called belly breathing or breathing from your diaphragm, helps calm you down. It stimulates the parasympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system which is responsible for relaxation. But one breath won’t get it. You need to breathe in for a count of six seconds and out for a count of six seconds. Do that cycle for two minutes.
  2. Count to 10 – Counting activates the logic center in our brains and forces it to re-engage.   You can also do math in your head to achieve this.
  3. Walk Away – In order to help clear the toxins from our bloodstream, we need fresh oxygen in our bloodstream, so walking or any other form of exercise will speed up this process.
  4. Take a Time Out – Because it takes about twenty minutes for our logical brain to re-engage after the emotional brain has hijacked it, we need to take some time out from the situation that triggered us before we have our ‘whole’ brain back.

One thing your parents may not have told you is that gratitude has been proven to bring forth calmness faster than any other thoughts. What are you most grateful for?

So there you have it. You can either get immediate gratification now and pay the price later, or you can take your parents’ advice – for once – and get your logical brain back in the driver’s seat.

Next time we’ll look at some more advanced techniques to help you avoid becoming cubed.

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