Part Two: How Do You Remain Calm in Situations of High Emotion?

In Part One: How to Transform the Purple Minion, you learned that it is your choice to respond or react in a situation of high emotion.  You can choose to stay in your purple minion state or not.

Minions from Despicable Me photograph, viewed April 13, 2014

Minions from Despicable Me photograph, viewed April 13, 2014

In situations where emotions are running high, choosing to respond (not react), will improve the odds of a positive outcome.  Many believe that we can’t avoid instinctual reactions in stressful or emotional situations so there is no choice to make.

This isn’t true! The choice is there and it’s easy.  What we find difficult is navigating our way through that initial instinct to react.

Here is a tool to help you with that – CALM©. Use this as a road map to increase the positive outcomes in your day.

Step 1: C – Cleansing Breath

Remember the 6-second chemical reaction in our body that we covered in part one?  Use an equal breathing technique to help you buy the 6-seconds that it takes for the “purple minion” chemical to dissipate.  Simply take a 4-second inhale followed by a 4-second exhale.  Try it now.

Inhale – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4

Exhale – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4

By the time you are finished with equal breathing, your “purple minion” chemical reaction is finished, you have more oxygen to your brain and you can move on to the second step.

Step 2: A – Assess the Situation

Next, assess the situation.  What are the facts? What emotions have surfaced?

By sticking to the facts and identifying the associated emotions, you gain the control that enables you to listen to your heart.

Step 3: L – Listen to Your Heart

When you listen to your heart, you get in touch with what your true intention is.  You resonate with who you are at your core. Are you a colleague who can throw sarcastic barbs that annihilate your opponent like a punch from Mike Tyson?  Or are you a talented leader intending to create a collaborative environment?  Identifying who you are in that situation will position you to make a choice to respond with actions that are aligned with your true intentions.

Step 4: M – Make a Choice

Lastly, make a choice to conform or transform.  Do you choose to remain a purple minion (conforming to the situation with no control) or do you choose to transform?

Let’s walk through our example from part one using the steps from CALM©.

Conforming to the Purple Minion

A mom is driving her two children to school and a car stops abruptly in front of her.  Her purple minion reaction is to scream while slamming on the brakes followed by a long and colorful stream of words.  Best case, the children remind Mommy that those are bad words.  Most likely case, an R-rated version of “Marco Polo” breaks out in the backseat.

Transforming the Purple Minion

A mom is driving her two children to school and a car stops abruptly in front of her.

Cleanses Her Breath: She screams. She takes a deep breath.

Assesses the Situation: She thinks to herself, “Wow. That scared me. I feared for my children’s safety. We are all ok.”

Listens to Her Heart: She then turns to look at her children, “Are you all ok?”  The children squeal, “Yes, Mommy!”

Made Her Choice: Throughout this process, she made the choice to transform. She ensured that her family was safe and also provided a good example to her children of how to handle the emotion of fear.

Implement some CALM© in your world this week.  Let us know how it worked for you.