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Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Cool

Nothing gives one person so much advantage.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” Keeping your wits about you when the kids are acting up, your boss is down on you, and your mate is all over the map can be a challenge. Here are 10 tools to help you manage your mood and maintain your balance.

  1. Think before you act. This includes saying things as well as doing them. Putting your brain in gear before engaging in a verbal assault will help you prevent any escalation and keep the situation under control.
  2. If someone hurts you, let him or her know it. Don’t hold it in or act it out. Simply say, “What you said hurt my feelings. Please don’t do that again.”
  3. Learn about your triggers and avoid them. For example, if traffic makes you crazy, take the scenic route. If you absolutely hate the checkout lines in the market, most places now deliver if you order online. It may take a little inventiveness, but eliminating the stress is worth it.
  4. The old counting-to-10 trick works. If you’ve never tried it, I suggest you give it a shot. The next time something or someone frosts your cookies, just slowly count, and with each number, remind yourself that by getting upset you are only hurting yourself.
  5. Pretend you’re above it all. When the limo driver is late, or you have to go through security before your private jet takes off, keep it in perspective. After all, you have a great life and these minor inconveniences are just a part of the real world that we all have to live in.
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Birth and death are the only two biggies in life. Everything else is not worth getting your knickers in a twist. Learning to let go will help you to live longer.
  7. Take a few deep breaths. It’s amazing how many people hold their breath when they get upset. Forcing fresh air into your lungs sends oxygen to your heart and brain and acts as a calming agent. Breathe slowly and be sure not to hyperventilate. If you get really upset, breathe into a paper bag.
  8. Check in with your heart. Asking yourself if this is truly where you want to be, and how you want to feel or act toward another person (or in front of strangers), can be a great reminder to hold your tongue.
  9. Think before you speak. Saying to yourself what you might say to another, and imagining how he or she will take it, is a great way to prevent downward spirals from occurring.
  10. Ask yourself, “Am I a positive person or a negative person?” This question has inspired many people (adults and children) to keep their attitudes in check. Keeping a positive attitude is not just a cliché, it makes your world a better place to be.
More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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