Learning How to Hang On to Your Self-Control
By Sandy Schroeder
Sometimes it is almost impossible to be quiet in a difficult situation. Then words fly and angry remarks may leave scars that linger long after the episode is over.
I have been in a few of those situations. Sometimes outbursts were inevitable, but other times they might have been avoided, preserving harmony and saving the feelings of others. Considering the issues involved, it may be wise for all of us to learn how to hang onto our self-control.
If you think about the people you know who are able to remain calm, they are usually the people who you trust, and who move ahead to get more done. If you take a deep breath before you strike out, you may give yourself a grace period that calms everything down and avoids hurting others' feelings or destroying a relationship.
Here are some good self-control tips from Dr. Kurt Smith, Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching in Northern California.
Be aware of what can happen – If you appreciate what is at stake you may be much more likely to hold your tongue. Little collisions that lead to angry flare-ups or spiteful actions can disrupt a workplace with needless tension. When you think of how other people may be hurt, how you can jeopardize your job, or how you may lose the respect of others, that angry outburst just may not be worth it.
Rethink the situation – When little disagreements break out there may be ongoing irritants that trigger them. If you already know what makes you angry, why not find ways to avoid it or dismiss it. I have been in meetings where everyone knew what a troublemaker was going to say before it was said. Learning how to nod and avoid rolling your eyes or giggling can release a lot of tension and even deflate the whole issue.
Run away from the whole thing – I have worked with people who never seemed to be too bothered by ongoing tensions or minor issues. Most of them knew where their sneakers were and used them to walk, run or jog off the stress before it got a grip.
Turn the tables – If the same minor work issues keep coming up, there may be a pattern that can be reversed. Suggesting a change of schedule or a different meeting format could move the known complainers or troublemakers out of the spotlight, giving everybody a chance to relax and move ahead.
At the end of the day, most people would really rather get along. They have more important things to attend to like paying their bills, taking care of their family and enjoying sports, hobbies and friends. Keep that in mind as you promote a spirit of goodwill in your workplace. You will probably find a lot of positive support.
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