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Don’t let your “hot buttons” spoil your chances

Don’t let your “hot buttons” spoil your chances
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    Everyone has “hot buttons.” They’re your tender spots, the places where you’re most sensitive, the points where you get irritated, or hurt, or angry, and have to respond. The trick to preventing them from messing up your day is awareness: The more aware you are of what rattles the bars of your cage, the more you’ll be able to catch yourself before you do any damage. If you don’t, you’ll be doing cold turkey for a while as you try to recover from some bad mistakes.

    Hot buttons are strong values triggered by specific events or circumstances. Most of the time these values are quiet and unobtrusive, but when triggered they typically take over and direct your behavior. They also carry a strong emotional charge when they’re activated, so that behavior is going to be emotional and extreme. There’s nothing rational or considered about a response that comes from a hot button. It’s pure emotion.

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    You can see hot buttons in action whenever people start to talk about “matters of principle” or become angry over something that seems unimportant. You’ll know you were acting under the influence of a hot button when you regret what you did or said the moment you cool off. The words just popped out, you turned away and slammed the door behind you. You didn’t think about it until afterwards. At the time, it was simply what you had to do. That was a hot button.

    Hot buttons make some people mad, others sad. All of them kick people into an instant response. Press someone’s hot button and you’re certain of making something happen.

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    Dealing with your own hot buttons
    Your hot buttons are dormant most of the time. They only come alive when something hits one of them. The rest of the time, you’re almost unconscious of their existence. So you’re not ready to deal with them when they spring into action. That’s why people act first and think about it afterwards, when the damage has been done.

    Here’s how to become more aware of your own hot buttons:

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    • Think carefully about times you can recall where you acted or spoke in haste and regretted it afterwards. Write down what triggered the response. Was it something someone said? Or something they did? Be as specific as you can.
    • Look for patterns. Does the same trigger come up several times? Do you always get mad when people patronize you (I know I do!)? Or when they bring up how hard they work? Or their expensive vacation plans?
    • Try replaying one or two especially volatile occasions in your head. Check your emotions as you go along. When did you start to get irritated? Or upset?
    • Talk to close friends and loved ones. What do they know that makes you instantly grumpy or difficult? What have they learned to avoid, unless they want to “set you off?”

    The only way to deal with a hot button that’s been triggered is call a mental “time-out.” Take a moment to breathe. Slow down. Try to delay your response if you can. If not, try to limit it to signaling you’d like to say more at another time.

    Many of life’s problems are caused by these unconscious hot buttons. If you can control yours better, you’ll save yourself much grief and apologizing.

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    Last Updated on January 18, 2019

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

    But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

    1. Limit the time you spend with them.

    First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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    In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

    Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

    2. Speak up for yourself.

    Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

    3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

    This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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    But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

    4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

    Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

    This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

    Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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    5. Change the subject.

    When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

    Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

    6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

    Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

    I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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    You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

    Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

    7. Leave them behind.

    Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

    If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

    That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

    You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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