Last week, in the midst of a very busy day, I found myself running behind to an important meeting. To make matters worse, I spent the entire morning running around town in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. I was hot and miserable. Somewhere during my travels I managed to lose my phone charger and spill coffee on my shirt. To save time, I skipped lunch. By the time I got to my last meeting of the day, I was not in a very good spot emotionally or cognitively.
During the meeting I caught myself showing signs of impatience-a heavy sigh here, a glance at my phone there. It was hard for me to focus on the discussion.
When the meeting ended, I resisted the urge to bolt out of the door. Since there were a few people I needed to chat with, I took a deep breath, put a smile on my face and approached one of them.
Strangely, my foul mood evaporated and I ended up having several enjoyable, productive conversations.
Altering your mood in this way is not magical. In fact, I was able to do so through a few easy steps.
- Take a deep breath. This probably isn’t the first time that you’ve heard that, but what makes this technique so powerful is that it allows more oxygen to flow through to your brain. Most of us habitually take smaller, shallow breaths. The problem with that is our brains require 20% of your body’s oxygen supply for complex functions like managing your mood, staying focused and remaining calm. Deep breaths help move you into a more relaxed and calmer state. Furthermore, the few seconds that you take to focus on your breathing gives you an opportunity to mentally prepare for what’s next.
- Smile: Did you know that when you smile, regardless of what your mood is, you trick your body and mind into thinking that you are happy. The muscles used for smiling and laughing send a signal to your brain that everything is ok.
- Recognize what you bring to the party: How we show up is a choice. Think of it as what you bring to the party. Do you want to be the person who brings the funky bean dip or would you rather be the person who brings the fresh, delicious sliders that everyone clamors for? In other words, it doesn’t matter what kind of day you had or how much work you have or what’s discussed in a meeting. You can show up with a smile and a positive outlook, ready to work. Or, you can show up cranky, arms crossed and disengaged. It’s totally up to you. Guess which one others are more likely to collaborate with?
The next time you find yourself in a stressed, or emotionally charged situation-use these steps and watch how much your ability to stay calm and communicate effectively increases.
Would you like to learn more about self-management? Contact the experts at Pathfinder Strategies at 888-529-0240 or firstname.lastname@example.org