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How long should you leave your hand on a hot stove?

The answer is, "Not very long!" Wallowing in negative emotions, self-talk, and criticism is akin to forgetting to remove your hand if you touch a hot burner on the stove. It does way more harm than good, yet we are so accustomed to allowing our negative emotions and circumstances to get the better of us.

Yesterday, I received a call from a client in distress. The question was, "I can feel the darkness taking over. What can I do to feel better right now? I'm stuck!" Here is the key to bouncing back from a mistake or circumstances that didn't quite go as planned. It is to notice the negative emotion, label it, and execute a mindset shift as quickly as possible. There are several techniques to try:

  1. Use cold. Take a cold shower, do a cold plunge if you have the equipment, or apply ice to your neck. This will calm the vagus nerve and allow your nervous system to reset.

  2. Force yourself to find the gifts and opportunities in the situation. Accept and then look at the situation from as many different angles as you can think of. Is there a hidden gift? Is there some way you could make this an opportunity?

  3. Exercise. Go outside. Walk around the block. Swim laps if you have access to a pool. Do anything you can to raise your heart rate and activate your dopamine responses to balance out what is probably excess cortisol coursing through your body.

  4. Shake it off. Literally, shake your entire body for as long as you can stand it. You'll notice a dissipation in stress immediately. Repeat as needed!

Here is a link to additional information on the vagus nerve and more techniques to help calm you down so you can get on with a calm approach to whatever is happening!

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