When everything is happening, all at once and you're starting to get hot, it's awfully easy to say something that you don't mean, or that you shouldn't have said out loud. Maybe the kids are screaming at you from different sides, each with a different demand, or you're just trying to navigate some traffic while your seat is kicked behind you and your partner is explaining something that you need to listen to, but simply can't. Or perhaps you're at work and your manager is freaking out over something that wasn't your responsibility, but is now very much your fault.
We've all been there. When you look calm, it inspires confidence in your ability to take on tasks.
The Emotional Intelligence book in the Harvard Business Review's '10 must reads' series is really useful for picking up a few work-place signs to look for. It says, that when a company's leader is stressed, it can filter through the whole building in 2 hours, whereas if your manager is giving off an air of calm, thoughtfulness and resilient decision-making, other people will follow.
It's really easy to start getting worked up, and we're busy so don't always have time for a nice hike or a yoga session. So Here's 5 quick tips that will bring you back to your calm self.
- 3 deep breaths. It sounds cliché but it actually works. Breath in through your nose, hold it for 2 seconds, and slowly exhale through you mouth. In for 2, hold for 2, out for 2. Repeat.
- Make a circle with your index finger and thumb. This is known as the 'chin mudra' in yoga and is said to increase concentration, creativity and is a gesture of knowledge. I'm not sure about all that, but I like to just concentrate on it for a moment, trying to make a perfect circle. Give it a moment and you'll have forgotten what you were talking about.
- Open the window. Get some fresh air on your face and repeat tip number 1. Breathe.
- Get a plant. When I'm feeling the pressure at work, I like to give a little love to my desk plant. See if it needs water, how are the leaves doing? Is it getting enough light?
- Have a snack. There's a chance that you're feeling a little 'hangry' and that can make your temper short. While you can't control the actions or words of other people, you can enjoy a delicious treat, or a piece of fruit. Think about what you're eating, how does it taste? It's all about filling your stomach and distracting your mind for a moment.
There, feeling better yet?
Originally written for SocialDad.ca