What to do when it gets hot, hot, hot

As I write this we are in the middle of another interminable heat wave of summer 2018.

But it isn’t that kind of hot I’m talking about.

You know the other well, I suspect. I know I do.

Someone says just the wrong thing, or possibly just an unfortunate thing at the wrong time. Someone questions you … or doubts you. Someone who shouldn’t, argues. Your kids get on your last nerve. Your spouse snores. Something happens that causes you to lose your cool.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make us hot, even without the heat wave.

But Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

So what are some strategies to help us cool down when those temperatures rise?

  • Research has shown that, once your heart rate rises above 100 beats a minute, most of us lose the ability to be rational and to think. When this happens, stop, take time to bring that heart rate down, and then resume your activities.

  • Having a hard time thinking of ways to bring your heart rate down? Walk. Do almost anything physical. Deep breathe. Stretch. If you can, move locations, focus on something else. Count to ten (that really works). All of these will help you cool down.

  • When you get hot, seriously consider if the issue that’s bothering you is one you want to die on. Is it really that important? Many times we react without thought, and later wish we had not.

  • Consider letting the issue go without comment or action. Give yourself time to think before you act or speak. Sometimes asking yourself what you think the other’s reaction will be can be a reminder to check your actions or words.

  • If someone hurts you, though, there’s nothing wrong with letting them know it, clearly, but without anger. You can say something simple like, “I felt hurt when you did that. Please don’t do it again.”

  • Know what is likely to trigger you. If something makes you crazy, avoid it as much as you can. It may take creativity to do this, but it’s worth it to lessen the stress.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everyone has to deal with the same kinds of frustrations. I used to tell my kids, “If there’s not blood or fire involved, don’t bother me” at times. Pretty much that still works – if the only inevitabilities are death and taxes, why do we get so bent out of shape about everything else?

  • Before you react, ask if that will reflect the person you want to be, and how you want to treat others. This can really help you hold your tongue.

  • Do you consider yourself a positive or a negative person? Thinking through this question can help you get yourself back in line with your personal goals.

Finding balance after getting too hot can be a challenge, but, with practice, you can improve your skill at doing it.

If things get hot, and you need help figuring it all out, don’t hesitate to let us know. We are here to help you live your best life … coolly!

Ellen J.W. Gigliotti

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Sanctuary Christian Counseling LLC

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17257

717-200-3158

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