What on earth do I mean by your emotional bus stops?
Sometimes it feels that we can go from 0 to 60 turbo-powered and end up reacting in a way that isn’t helpful to us. In my blog post ‘Take The Power Back’, I talked about taking the power back from our emotions and I introduced a tip on how to do that. It’s important for us to know what’s happening when we’re overreacting to an emotional stimulus. It can really trigger us into doing things that are not helpful.
What are your triggers?
Have you ever snapped at your partner, really taken their head off? Or you’ve reached for a glass of wine or chocolate biscuit before you even knew what you were doing?
I know it’s happened to me. We usually don’t have a lot of time between the trigger and our response or reaction.
The point of the emotional bus stops is to stretch out that process, so that we’ve got more time to notice what’s happening and then choose to do something different … literally get off the bus!
What do I mean by get off the bus?
It’s down to this breakdown of our mind/body connection. We’re living in a time where we’ve put so much emphasis on cognitive ability, our intellectual ability, that we’ve drowned out all the messages that our body is sending us … it’s talking to us and sending us little message all the time. When you start to slow down, maybe do some meditation or some mindfulness, that’s when you start to tune into those messages again.
We’ve stopped listening! I liken this to an insistent toddler!
Imagine you’ve got a toddler beside you, tugging at your leg when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone.
“Mum, Mum, Mum.”
You carry on your conversation, they don’t get a response, the tug gets a little bit harder and the voice gets a little louder.
“Mum! Mum! Mum!”
Still no response and then suddenly,
Or even worse … a full-on tantrum in the middle of the supermarket.
Are you ignoring your body?
That’s essentially what’s happening to us when we’re not listening to our body. We are ignoring the whispers of “there’s something here needs your attention.”
When we don’t listen, our bodies respond with some scary symptoms; heart racing, feeling scared, panicking, feeling sick, feeling nauseated, headaches or feeling out of control.
What we need to do is slow down that process. We’re going from zero to 60 on turbo boost, we’re doing all the bus stops before we’ve even noticed. We need to slow down and notice some of those other messages that we’re so, so skilled at blocking out.
It’s time to practice slowing down
The messages are still there, so we can reverse-engineer it, but it takes practice. You’ve been really practiced at doing it the way that you’re doing it, so to change it, you have to unlearn it and practice.
It’s just about raising awareness at this point. The way I do it is I think to myself
“Okay, well there’s a response that I wish I hadn’t had and I’m going to forgive myself for that.”
It might not be in the moment, it might be later on when I’m reflecting on the situation.
I need to think what happened right before I reached for the chocolate biscuit.
- I was feeling really under appreciated.
That caused me to feel a real heaviness in my chest. Then I think, ‘what happened before that?”
- Before that, I had sweaty palms, or I felt a flush of heat.
I can’t give you your combination because everyone is different. Maybe you felt really stressed or angry. What happened just before that? A flush of heat or tingling?
Take the time to get off the bus
The point is that the more you notice the things that happened before the really scary symptom, the more you’ll notice them in the future. In essence, that slows the whole process down for you and gives you the chance to get off that bus before you start doing things that you don’t want to do.
Let me know how you get on.