Thanks very much for sending this one in. Here is Sandra’s question:
Sometimes in one-on-one communication I can get emotional. I find it difficult to control. I can’t breathe. I react quickly, sometimes raising my voice or feeling as though I want to cry. What can I do to get control?”
Thanks for your question. This happens to many people. The key is to identify and diffuse the “triggers” that cause your response.
Typically what happens when we are triggered by a statement or behavior we react with: Stimulus – Respond. You need to change this process. Remember this formula: Stimulus-Breathe Out-Analyze-Remember your Intent-Respond. Give yourself time to respond after analyzing the situation. When you are speaking you probably don’t breathe evenly and take pauses. I want you to start breathing out a breath before you respond in all important communication situations. Try these techniques:
- Breathe out then breathe in. Just breathing in does allow you to relax. Do this twice if you are very stimulated or overwhelmed. You will catch your breath and your desire to yell or cry will be reduced.
- Change the Environment – Change the venue in which the communication will occur. Try to arrange the meeting and location yourself. The more control you establish in the beginning the more control you will have in the meeting.
- Make a list of the three to five questions you do not want to answer. Answer those questions and practice with your husband, children, and trusted friends.
- Change your thoughts about the communication and the outcome – thoughts can go into a whirl wind and get out of control. Your thoughts control your words and non-verbal behaviour. Practice the thoughts you want to have. Not the ones you don’t.
- Check out your perceptions — ask friends.
Try these techniques and let me know how it works for you.
All the best,