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How to Stop Yourself from "Losing It" During Stress and Crisis

A couple was celebrating their 11th anniversary. It was an extra special occasion for them because each of them came from divorced parents whose marriages ended before ten years. The couple felt they had crossed a major hurdle and were proud to have overcome so many obstacles in their relationship.

To celebrate, one of them got off work early to prepare a special romantic dinner. No detail was spared – hours were spent preparing an extravagant gourmet meal, dozens of candles were lit, fragrant flowers filled each room, soft jazz favorites were selected on the music player, and a warm crackling fire cheered the fireplace. Even a chocolate fountain was invitingly placed on the bar. Everything was prefect.

Then the phone rang and the other celebrating partner began apologizing and explained that their company was having an emergency with an audit, so they wouldn’t get home until very late that night. The phone slammed down and was flung across the room knocking over the chocolate fountain. Sobs could be heard as footsteps ran down the hall and ended with a slammed door.

Have you ever had an experience where something “took over” and you lost control? Perhaps you had something to legitimately be upset about, but your response to the situation made it worse. Usually “hindsight” provides numerous alternative responses that would have improved the situation instead of worsening it. Yet that’s what happens when our primal (reptilian) brain reactions take over. We temporarily lose control – and often damage the situation even more.

One interesting way to overcome this loss of control is to actually balance your primal reactions. In other words, let other primal reactions have a turn. 

Most people have a dominant reaction – fight, flight, freeze, sex, or food. To balance, first find out your dominant reaction. Second, try to incorporate the use of other reactions. Third, try to actually overcome the reactions. 

To assess your dominant reaction, answer the following:

  1. If you were told you had one day to live, would you:
  1. Fight back and find a way to stop death from occurring.
  2. Ignore it and act as if nothing happened.
  3. Throw a big party feast, enjoying the best food money could buy.
  4. Throw a big party and make love to as many partners as possible.
  5. Sit alone, practically paralyzed in shock and fear.  

 

Answers:

a Fight ; b Flight ; c Food ; d sex ; e freeze

Want help getting in balance and managing stress and crisis? Call me (Kimberly) at 512.617.6356 for a free initial phone consultation. 

Comments

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Neil

Have you tried mindfulness or mindful awareness exercises like these?

http://www.mindfulawarenesstrainingsystem.com

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