Have you ever had an instant, strong negative reaction to something someone has said or done? Did you stay cool, calm and rational and communicate accordingly? Or might you have said something in the moment that you later regretted?
Most people can be triggered from time to time. It’s a reaction that is instant, all encompassing and powerful, with its roots in our primitive fight, flight or freeze response. Our brains are programmed such that the time between the stimulus or trigger, and our reaction to it, is very small. Hence when you are feeling irritated, frustrated or angry for example, you may say something, or use a tone of voice or gestures that do little to have a positive impact. You may even damage an important relationship or your own reputation.
Surprisingly maybe, you can develop some strategies for extending that time between stimulus and response just long enough to have more choices as to how to respond. Here are some examples:
- Take the opportunity to walk away and calm your state; literally walk off the feelings if you can.
- Alternatively, take a deep breath (or several) and state that you would like a little time to think before you respond.
- As a minimum, breathe deeply – and keep on doing so and make sure you are grounded (sitting or standing with upright posture and feet firmly on the ground).
—and keep practising.
Notice how you can interrupt your reactions to challenging situations to have more choices as to how to respond – and improve the influence and impact you have as a result.
Read more about managing emotions and maximising
influence in Business NLP for Dummies,