How to stay calm when you don’t feel it using NLP

Do you know people who calmly swan around life without anything bothering them? Child meltdowns just seem to go over their heads. They bounce through a busy day with lightness and humour. Annoying aren’t they? Staying calm when you don’t feel it is an art, and the good news is that, using some techniques from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), you too can learn this art of serene calmness, whatever the situation. These are my top tips that delegates and clients report work best and are easy to remember:

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LEARN EMOTIONAL FIRST AID

In stressful or emotional situations we often try to take some action (in the hope that it will help) when we are not in a good state to take action – this rarely works well. If you are in a situation where your emotional buttons have been hit, be it upset, frustration or stress, before you do anything think about how you can get yourself calm. This involves removing yourself from the emotional situation and taking some deep breaths and maybe even a little cry. It’s amazing how quickly your clear thinking begins to return and you can reengage in a much better way. At home everyone can have a code word for ‘I need a few minutes’. In my family we use ‘Time out needed’ or the T time out sign. It’s a signal for ‘I’m OK just having a moment, no need to follow me, I’ll be back shortly’. When we return people are not allowed to make a fuss or ask what it’s all about, if we want help or to talk about it we will say so. If you are in a situation where you can’t escape, you’re the only one with the children for example, do it at the first reasonable opportunity.

 

LET IT OUT


Holding it all together is counterproductive when it comes to emotions. If we hold our emotions in, our body just stores them all up which keeps the emotional pressure cooker building and then we explode at the smallest thing. To keep yourself emotionally healthy let out your emotions. I’m not suggesting walking down the high street exclaiming what a rubbish day you are having or crying randomly at work. Find an appropriate way, as quickly as you can, to let the emotions come out. Too many of us are afraid of emotions and we shouldn’t be, they are totally natural. The obvious way to do it is just to find some private space to cry, shout or breathe it out but another good way to let your emotions out is exercise. The breathing patterns and physical exertion helps to regulate them, plus when you’re hot an sweaty a few tears don’t look like anything. Boxing, tennis and squash are all really good for letting go of frustration and built up agitation.

LEARN APPROPRIATE WAYS TO EXPRESS HOW YOU FEEL  

When you are emotional you are not always at your best and we often end up offloading our emotional frustrations onto other people by blaming them. Instead learn to say how you are feeling and take responsibility for your feelings rather than attribute them to someone or something else. Instead of saying ‘You are winding me up’, say ‘I’m feeling really wound up right now, could you give me a bit of space/ unload the dishwasher/ have a quiet 5 mins’. You own the feeling but also ask for what you need from the other person. This will not only keep you calm, it will also revolutionise your relationships!

About

Karen Meager is a training design guru, the founder of Monkey Puzzle Training and Consultancy, and co author of award winning book ‘Real Leaders for the Real World’ (£12.99, Panoma Press) Karen has an MBA specialising in strategy, financial strategy and human development. She is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist (DipNLPt), one of less than a handful of internationally accredited NLP Master Trainers, coach and leadership development specialist.

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