The mind is like a fortress. Within its walls, concealed from the rest of the world, is where all of your self-talk and prayer happen. People can hear what you say and see what you do, but cannot ever know absolutely for sure what your inner motivations and intentions are because they originate from deep inside a mind that is entirely your own and no one else’s.
When we perceive that our fortress is under attack, we set up our defenses and get ready to attack if necessary. Our brain goes into motion. Certain chemicals are released and our heart is told to get ready, so it speeds up. And when our heart speeds up, we are set on a crash course with the limits of our own rationality.
To put it simply, when you feel insulted, attacked, or offended, your body speeds up. It’s like pressing on the gas pedal to escape a pursuer. And the faster your mind works, the harder it is to control.
So here’s what you have to learn to do…
Slooooow it down.
When you feel that little switch getting flipped, it is absolutely essential that you slow your mind and your body down enough to gain control.
You’ve probably seen in action movies when someone with super speed starts moving, everything else slows down. The action winds down like a record player coming to a stop for just a second and then we observe what’s happening with Flash in The Justice League, Pietro Maximoff in The Avengers, or even better, when Hammy has an energy drink in Over the Hedge.
Create that effect for yourself in the moment of impulse. Put everything in slow motion.
2. Here’s how I avoid hitting people:
- I close my eyes (assuming it’s safe to do so) so that I’m taking in as little stimulation with my senses as possible.
- I breathe at an intentionally slow pace, very deeply. And again. And again.
- I force my muscles to relax, particularly in the places where I’ve noticed them tensing up — my neck, my jaw, and my hands.
- I cut the volume of my voice in half, even if I wasn’t yelling.
- I cut the pace of my speech in half and talk very, very slowly.
Do I look weird doing all of this? Probably so. But this technique works when I’m willing to employ it.
So far, I haven’t ever hit anyone… except this one kid in the sixth grade, but that was at least partly in self-defense. Sort of.Just remember these two words: Slow. Down.
This article on how to avoid hitting people originally appeared here, and is used by permission.