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You don't want to EXPLODE, do you?

You co-worker is out with the flu - again - and her workload got dumped on you. You flew out of work a few minutes late - straight into the school bus stop-and-go traffic snarl. You forgot to defrost the pargiot, your 5 year old is crying over her torn parsha project, and the toddler is emptying the Hershey's syrup onto the floor that the cleaning lady mopped 15 minutes ago. And then... in walks your husband, who absent-mindedly flips through today's mail while heading for the couch and calling out "What's for dinner? I have a chavrusa in 45 minutes." (I'll just leave a space here for you to type in your own reaction - 'K?) . . . . And you're right - Right? Because you learned when you were younger: If you suppress your feelings and don't let them out, then one day they'll explode! And there is an element of truth there. Because feelings don't LIKE being smooshed down. And they do have a way of making themselves known in the long run. The only mistake? Thinking that "dealing with your feelings" equals "dumping them unceremoniously onto the subject of your ire." The good news? There is another way to make your emotions feel 'heard' and taken care of.

  • Step 1: Notice your own emotional dysregulation. How is it showing up in your body? (tense shoulders, roiling stomach, pounding head). How is it showing up in your brain? (frantic thoughts racing, disoriented planning, self-pity and accusations).

  • Step 2: Name your emotion. (frustrated, jealous, resentful, angry, annoyed, disappointed - need I go on?)

  • Step 3: Stop for a moment and ask yourself: How I can I bring myself back to being centered? (Take some deep breaths / leave the room / turn on soft music)

  • Step 4: Express your needs (I'm having a really tough time right now - would you help me clean up this mess so I can get supper started?)

Even better? You can also try out this tool with a husband or child who is clearly dysregulated and lashing out at you. (I see you're very upset about the mess/assignment/noise/lost item. What would you like me to do for you?)

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