Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 7, Issue 4;   January 24, 2007: An Emergency Toolkit

An Emergency Toolkit

by

You've just had some bad news at work, and you're angry or really upset. Maybe you feel like the target of a vicious insult or the victim of a serious injustice. You have work to do, and you want to respond, but you must first regain your composure. What can you do to calm down and start feeling better?
A calm sea

A calm sea. Having an image or representation — physical or in your imagination — of something you love can make focusing on it easier.

Someone has done something wrong, unfair, vicious, or malicious, and you feel angry or really hurt. Now it's all you can think about. You can't concentrate. Maybe your heart is pounding, or your hands are shaking. You might even have had some tears, or you found yourself angrily rehearsing retorts under your breath (or louder) in private.

You know you have to respond, but you need to think first, to avoid doing something stupid. But thinking requires a clear mind. Here are some tips for getting back to a state of calm. Pick some that appeal to you.

Get some exercise
Get your blood flowing, and some oxygen in your bloodstream, especially if adrenaline is involved. Or just breathe. That will get the job done, though it might be hard to sit still.
Get support
Everything is easier with support. A therapist, a counselor, a spouse, a friend, or more than one. We're all different — you might find this easy or difficult. You might want to seek it right away, or maybe wait a bit. But almost everyone finds support helpful.
Food isn't the answer
Everything is easier with support.
You might not want to seek it
right away, but almost everyone
finds support helpful.
Eating can create demand for blood, as your digestive system goes to work. And right now, you need to focus your resources on other things. Eating is essential for life, of course, but it isn't a solution.
Drugs don't help either
You need your head clear. Exception: if you're unable to sleep or your anxiety is extreme, consult a physician. Don't self-medicate with over-the-counter pills. They might be the right thing for you, but always check with your doctor first.
Focus on love
Think of something or someone you love, remembering to include yourself in the list of candidates. At first this might be difficult, but in a short time, it will get easier. After all, this is what it's all about.
Practice recovering your focus
As you're thinking of what you love, the initial injury might pop back into your mind. When it does, acknowledge it, and notice it has returned, and return to thinking about someone or something you love.
Recognize the true source of the trouble now
While the trouble might have started with someone else's action, recognize that right now, you're the one responsible for the endless replays of the pain, and you can stop that. You're doing it and you can choose to do something else if you want to.

Over a few days, you'll probably find that the intervals between recollections of the injury increase. This is progress. It's your healing process at work. Acknowledge that and appreciate yourself for your ability to heal. Go to top Top  Next issue: Astonishing Successes  Next Issue

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Verbal abuse at work has special properties, because it takes place in an environment in which verbal abuse is supposedly proscribed. Yet verbal abuse does happen at work. Here are three strategies abusers rely on to avoid disciplinary action. Available here and by RSS on August 1.

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