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Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper

Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper
“STOP IT!” 
“How many times have I told you ..?”
“Stop doing..”
“Why can’t you…”
“Why do I have…”
“Don’t do ..”
This used to be my limited vocabulary at home a few years ago! In those days, I would yell at the drop of a hat (literally!) at my kids. My temper would flare every few minutes when things were not done my way. I had expectations in my head that I would voice to my family. Invariably someone would not live up to the expectations and I would be screaming my top off! I hated myself right after the words slipped out of my mouth, but I would not stop. I would cry all the way to work in the car. I would tell myself this would not happen again and 3 minutes after entering home in the evening, it did!
I almost considered anger management classes until one day I chanced upon a technique quite by accident. Below I share this and a few other easy techniques I have learnt from other likable people. These techniques are now part and parcel of my life.They have improved the quality of my life and made me more likable with my family and others!

1. Count To 5

I was at a playground with my son a few years ago. At one point, a little boy came crying to his mom and pointed to my son and started bawling. My temper immediately began to flare up and I was going to take my son to the side and berate him. I called to my son. As my son came running towards me with a happy face, I was torn. I did not want to wipe that happiness from his face which was due to happen the minute I opened my mouth. I decided to give him and me, 5 seconds to enjoy the happiness. As I began to count to 5, he started talking. I learnt that the little boy was almost about to fall from the rock climbing wall and my son had helped him gain balance. I was stunned! The little boy was crying in the anticipation of the fall and that his mom had not been there to catch him! The 5 seconds that I had given myself had turned the story around. That’s when I decided to make the 5 seconds count a part of my life. You never know what the 5 seconds will produce or how it could change the course of the events. Next time, you feel the temper coming on, count to 5. Combine it with technique 2 below for best results!

2. Focus On Your Breath

Once I started being completely aware of my temper, I began to notice the feeling of constriction in my chest every time I was angry. I was forgetting to breathe at times or taking quick short shallow breathes. I decided to work on that. The minute I felt the constriction, I reminded myself to just breathe deeply. Take 3 deep breathes. Fill you lungs with oxygen and focus only on your breathe. This can be tied to the first technique. In the 5 seconds you pause, you are counting the seconds literally! You could instead focus on breathing deeply during the 5 second pause. Sometimes people forget to breathe deeply when they are so emotionally vested in the matter. They can’t stop their focus on the issue. The trick is to tie it to a physical action or sensation and use that as a trigger. In my case, I used the chest constriction as a trigger to focus on deep breathing.

3. Go For A Run Or Exercise

The heat in your body and the frustration and anger need an outlet. What better way to channel that high level of energy (although it is negative energy) than to exercise. Going for a walk or exercising gives you a chance to direct that energy towards a physical activity and lets you blow off some steam. It also gives you a chance to take a prolonged pause and maybe think about the thing that is bothering you.

4. Splash Your Face

Some people like to throw things or slam doors when they are angry. I always wondered how it provided them relief. I later learnt that a physical sensation such as an object breaking or hearing the door slam snaps some people out of their temper zone. I have instead adopted a simpler technique to snap out. I simply splash my face with cold water at the sink. Just the sudden feeling of cold water on my face snaps me out and cools me down.

5. Avoid Known Trigger Points

If you know stepping into your son’s room and seeing clothes on the floor is going to irk you, avoid that situation. Obviously, you can’t avoid it always and  you may need to step in and clean up at some point. Try to avoid doing it at a time when your emotions are running high. You may be in a better state to handle that trigger point at a different time in the day , maybe when you are more relaxed with a cup of coffee.

6. Meditate Daily

The health benefits of meditation are numerous. It has been proven to improve our mental well-being and lower our overall stress levels. Stress is a huge temper booster and we need to keep our stress levels at bay to reduce the temper tantrums. If you think that your monkey mind cannot be quietened during meditation, try a different form of meditation such as transcendental meditation.

7. Write It Out

Writing it out in a journal or a log helps you get it out of your system which is exactly what the temper devil is dying to do! Writing helps you vent out all your feelings and gives you a sense of relief. You could revisit it a later point and either tear it up or see if you could strategize ideas to sort out the thing that caused your temper to flare up. Writing gives you a way to know that you have control over your problem vs the problem controlling you! This gives you the courage to stop throwing temper tantrums.
Which of these techniques will you use ? What other little things do you do to hold back your temper? 

Featured photo credit: Yelling/Probably Okay via flickr.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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