Count to ten:Helpful tips for dealing with tense situations
As a Garda you are trained to deal with all kinds of situations during the course of your work, but dealing with difficult situations at home, with work colleagues or with friends and family requires a completely different set of skills and mindset. Here are some tips for dealing with tense situations that happen throughout your day.
LET IT GO
You’re not the Dali Lama and it takes a big person to walk away from a situation where you feel you’re being hard done by but the benefits of this approach are far greater than confronting a rage with another rage. Remember that at our very core, people for the most part are good, but our judgment becomes clouded and we may say hurtful things.
WAIT IT OUT
Emotionally charged responses never get us the result we want; they only add oil to the fire. What is helpful is after a short respite (say 12 to 24 hours), to allow ourselves to cool off. Try taking time out before responding to something that’s irked you. If you still feel the same way then by all means let the individual know.
“DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF I’M RIGHT?”
Sometimes we respond with the intention of defending the side we took a position on. If you find yourself arguing for the sake of right, ask “Does it matter if I am right?” If yes, then ask “Why do I need to be right? What will I gain? ”
Many times when a person initiates a negative message or difficult attitude, they are trying to trigger a response from you. When we react, we are actually giving them what they want. Let’s stop the cycle of negative snowballing and sell them short on what they’re looking for; don’t bother responding.
STOP TALKING ABOUT IT
When you have a problem or a conflict in your life, don’t you find that people just love talking about it? We end up repeating the story to anyone who’ll listen. We express how much we hate the situation or person. What we fail to recognise in these moments is that the more we talk about something, the more of that thing we’ll notice. Example, the more we talk about how much we dislike a person, the more hate we will feel towards them and the more we’ll notice things about them that we dislike. Stop giving it energy, stop thinking about it, and stop talking about it. Do your best to not repeat the story to others.
BE IN THEIR SHOES
As cliché as this may sound, we tend to forget that we become blind-sided in the situation. Try putting yourself in their position and consider how you may have hurt their feelings. This understanding will give you a new perspective on becoming rational again, and may help you develop compassion for the other person.
LOOK FOR THE LESSONS
No situation is ever lost if we can take away from it some lessons that will help us grow and become a better person. Regardless of how negative a scenario may appear, there is always a hidden gift in the form of a lesson.
CHOOSE TO ELIMINATE NEGATIVE PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE
Negative people can be a source of energy drain. And deeply unhappy people will want to bring you down emotionally, so that they are not down there alone. Be aware of this. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind the energy drain, cut them off from your life. Cut them out by avoiding interactions with them as much as possible. Remember that you have the choice to commit to being surrounded by people who have the qualities you admire: optimistic, positive, peaceful and encouraging people.
BECOME THE OBSERVER
When we practice becoming the observer of our feelings, our thoughts and the situation, we separate ourselves away from the emotions. Instead of identifying with the emotions and letting them consume us, we observe them with clarity and detachment. When you find yourself identifying with emotions and thoughts, bring your focus on your breathe.
GO FOR A RUN
… or a swim, or some other workout. Physical exercise can help to release the negative and excess energy in us. Use exercise as a tool to clear your mind and release built up negative energy.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Ask yourself two questions, “If I do not respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it?” “If I do respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it? “ Answering these questions often adds perspectives to the situation, and you’ll realise that nothing good will come out of reacting. Your energy will be wasted, and your inner space disturbed.
AVOID HEATED DISCUSSIONS
When we’re emotionally charged, we are so much in our heads that we argue out of an impulse to be right, to defend ourselves, for the sake of our egos. Rationality and resolution can rarely arise out of these discussions. If a discussion is necessary, wait until everyone has cooled off before diving into one.
List out things in your life most important to you. Then ask yourself, “Will a reaction to this person contribute to the things that matter most to me?
This doesn’t always work, but sometimes catches people off guard when they’re trying to “Pour Poison” on you. Compliment the other person for something they did well, tell them you’ve learned something new through interacting with them, and maybe offer to become friends. Remember to be genuine. You might have to dig deep to find something that you appreciate about this person.
Take out some scrap paper and dump all the random and negative thoughts out of you by writing freelywithout editing. Continue to do so until you have nothing else to say. Now, roll the paper up into a ball, close your eyes and visualise that all the negative energy is now inside that paper ball. Now throw it in the bin.