Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't jump on the kitchen counter

Once again my cat, Sunny, has proven to be a good teacher of life lessons. The first thing you need to know is that like most cats, Sunny hates the vacuum. When it comes out he impudently starts looking for a safe place to hide out. Over the weekend we were cleaning the house but did not want the kitty to get in the bedroom, where he normally would hide. Out came the vacuum cleaner and he started tearing around the living room and kitchen looking for somewhere he could escape the terrible beast. He finally deseeded to jump on the kitchen counter, this was an act of desperations, he knew it was somewhere he should not go but still it seemed better then facing is fear. We are all like that some time jumping to a bad place when we get scared.

Being scared primes us to react and unless we are watching our own actions we will probably do something we don't want to do. First of all we have to understand intellectually most things in our lives that scare us are not things that will kill us. We have time to think time to reason and most importantly time to plan our reaction. The last, planning our reactions, is crucial if we are not going to jump to a bad place. The time to trust our instincts is in the moments of near death, the car swerving towards us, tripping and falling, or someone jumping out in front of us on a dark street. These are the times were our flight or fight reflex kicks in and can do its job. However these are only a small percentage of the fear inducing situations we encounter on a regular basses in our modern world. What we most often run into is the fear of embarrassment, of looking out of place and being made to look the fool.

When we know we are going to be walking in to a scary situation, job interview, public speaking, or a hard talk with a spouse or child, we need to have a plan. Here are a few things we can do to keep our selves feeling safe and still keep from making matters worse.

Take a deep breath: When we get scared the body pumps out adrenaline giving us a little extra umfe to deal with the threat. Unfortunately this also makes us jumpy and a bit twitchy. Taking a deep breath brings more oxygen in to the body which will help cut the effects of the adrenaline surge.

Know where you are going: Chances are that you will know you are headed in to a scary place before hand. Knowing why you are there, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get out is a great way to keep yourself from jumping on the counter so to speak.

Know where you don't want to be: Just as we can plan were we are going we can be aware of where the bad place to jump to is. When having a hard talk with the special people in our lives it is easy to push their buttons just to get a reaction. This does not make them more receptive to us.

Control your body: If we stand strait and tall and adapt a posture of confidence that will trigger us to act in a more confident manor. When we are feeling more confident the effects of fear diminish. So before you walk in to your personal lion's den take control of your body set yourself and then walk in.

Control your mouth: When we are tense and nervous we will try to fill the silence, especially in an awkward social situation. If we do not pay attention to what we are saying we can often do more harm than good.

When the vacuum cleaner of life is chasing you around what do you do to make sure you don't jump on the counter? Let me know in the comments and have a beautiful day.


JACQUI said...

That is a great analogy. Fear of the 'perceived monster' making your cat jump on the counter. Yes, I guess we all do that and you're right. Fear and the adrenalin rush is often way out of balance. Few situations are genuine-life-threatening events yet our chemical reactions act as if they were. Visualisation can take a lot of sting out of things. Re-playing a scenario in a less threatening way can help a lot to downplay over-excited emotions.

Quinn said...

Visualizations are a great way to play through and work with the fear situations in a more abstract manor.

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