Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Change, Flying Laptops and Staying Cool Under Pressure

Change is inevitable, but sometimes it’s a pain. For instance, my kind and loving spouse, CB, bought me a new computer. I used it for the first time while we were traveling to Washington. I type a lot, but the keyboard is a little different and I keep hitting keys that change the size of the text, move what I wrote to different parts of the page and sometimes toss me into hidden parts of the computer that I didn’t know existed. It’s as if a little gremlin is playing jokes on me.

Of course I know it’s my hand placement, not a computer devil. But the experience is creating a little internal demon in me. I have to fight the urge to take my new laptop and throw it out the window. When I finally took a break from my task I realized that I had ground my watch band into my wrist. My computer at home has a wrist guard, so this is usually not a problem. Ironically, I did not even notice the discomfort until I took a break. However, now that I see the words “stainless steel band - China” are imprinted in my wrist like a tattoo, I want to curse all things electronic, items made in China, all gifts from my spouse, computers, as well as the very world that doesn’t stay the same long enough for a luddite like me to adjust.

Of course it makes no sense to curse devices, or all thing remotely connected to the source of our aggravation, but how often have we engaged in this senseless behavior? The truth is that all of us have situations in our lives that evoke a sense of anger. That is why we addressed the issue in our book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. Here are a few tips that may help.


•When you start to lose control or feel angry, move away from the situation or person that is causing the infuriating reaction. If at all possible, take a walk. Do not drive when you are mad.
•Choose your words carefully. Replace irate language and thoughts with more rational ones. Instead of thinking, “this is awful,” “everything is ruined,” try saying, “this is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.”
•Every time you feel yourself entertaining angry thoughts, hold your hand out and say, “Stop!” Even if you have to stop yourself 100 times a day, do it until you feel you are in control again.
•Avoid absolute words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or someone else.
•Remind yourself that getting upset will not fix the situation. Angry outbursts will alienate others. Even if your fury provides a temporary feeling of power, in the long run, you could actually make things much worse.


•Close your eyes. Breathe deeply through your nose. Put your hand beneath your breast and feel your diaphragm filling with air. You do not want to inhale through your chest. Hold your breath for a count of 10. Release the air through your mouth. Do this at least five times.
•As you inhale, repeat a soothing word or phrase such as “I am calm” or “relax.”
•Close your eyes and smile for at least 30 seconds to one minute. While you are smiling, repeat in your mind that you are calm and happy. It is impossible to stay angry when you are smiling. This may feel silly at first, but give it a try anyway.
•Visualize a relaxing experience. This image can either be from your past, or your imagination. Hold the image for at least one minute and continue to breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
François de la Rochefoucauld once wrote, “The only thing constant in life is change.”

Since change is inevitable, the best thing to do is to find a way to reduce our aggravation about it and find a way to make it work for us. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We change, whether we like it or not” so we might as well change for the better and enjoy the benefits of erasing our negativity and embracing the magic within.

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