I know you’ve been there. Someone rubbed you up the wrong way. Grated on you. Metaphorically, kicked you in the nuts. Said something hurtful. Crushed your foot with their elephant feet on the Tube. You went to the fridge and you were out of humous. It was the only thing you were looking forward to, dammit! You’re mad. Outraged. Tears are welling. You’re crying. The world has ended. An emotional apocalypse has descended.
Sometimes, it’s hard not to sweat the little things. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Maybe, you were totally right to be mad, but your reaction suddenly escalated out of control and you lost it.
When you cool off you realise you acted like a right tit and have now have to apologise to everyone you offended and called an intolerable churl.
I’m all up for accountability which is why I would like to introduce The Crack Test. (Not what it sounds.) Why? Because prevention is better then cure, right?
When you feel like you’re about to emotionally crack – STOP – and ask yourself these 4 questions:
The Crack Test
1. ‘Am I tired?’
Did you sleep 3 hours last night? Have you been working over-time? Sleep-starved people are gremlins. True story.
Symptoms: Usually lack of patience, snappy responses and in-cohesive gibber jabber.
Remedy: Short term – power nap (if you can). Long term – assess your life. Is this a one-off or are you perpetually tired all the time. If yes – how can you make adjustments to help you relax. Do you need to make changes to your schedule? Ask yourself why you are tired and get to the root of the problem.
2. ‘Am I Hungry?’
Are you like a grizzly bear without food? Or are YOU the person who ate all the humous?
If you’re running on an empty tank and not re-fuelling your body this WILL impact your mood. Your blood sugar levels might need a top up.
Symptoms: Belly rumbles, low on energy and a bear-like foraging.
Remedy: Short-term: Stop and eat. Put something in your body that will support and nourish you. Or eat pudding. Stressed is desserts spelt backwards for a reason.
In the long-term: don’t rely on quick fixes like coffee and energy drinks, saturated fats and food with added sugars, sure, use them for a boost but don’t rely on them to sustain your long-game. Plan ahead. Carry nuts.
3. ‘Am I Hormonal?’
We all have hormones and an influx of any chemical with an emotional drive is going to have a direct impact on how we feel and respond. Whether it’s testosterone, cortisol, norepinephrine… if your emotional outburst is hormone driven then newsflash: you’re not crazy.
Whether this is a side-effect of medication, a come down from a recent exciting event, being in-love/going though a break-up (which impacts the chemical balance in the brain), or for the ladies – the menstrual cycle – taking into account how your current life might be affecting your hormones will put YOU in the drivers seat of how you behave.
Symptoms: Irrational or melodramatic responses to your environment.
Remedy: You can’t always stop your emotions but you can manage them, as Steve Peters masterfully points out in his mind management book The Chimp Paradox.
Meditate on it. Pray about it. Reflect on it. Journal it. Confide in a close friend. And you know what? If you need to cry it out find a safe place and CRY! Emotional tears actually aid the release of hormones from the body, providing you with relief.
4. ‘Am I Stressed’.
It’s important to acknowledge that not all stress is bad for you, but when you’re about to crack and get all emotional this is probably the time to do a quick self-check-up-from-the-neck-up.
Symptoms: Yelling at people, pulling out tufts of hair, angry twitches in the corner of your eye & and wanting to cause someone else grievous bodily harm.
Remedy: Remove yourself from the stressful situation and take a breather. If someone is rubbing you up the wrong way – find a quick exit and bail. Another good tactic to stop you murdering someone is to respond with humour.
‘Laughing at yourself, or situations, is one of the most powerful ways to remove stress from the chimp [i.e. you].’
Professor Steve Peters, The Chimp Paradox
Use the Crack Test on Other People
The Crack Test isn’t just for self-assessment. Working with someone who is losing their cool? About to experience WW3 with your family? Help them gain back control by suggesting they take a 5 minute breather. Offer them some humous (or a snack). If they’re stressed (and it’s not weird or inappropriate or going to get you put in prison) give them a shoulder massage. And if all else fails: listen.
If you have any suggestions or comments I would love to hear other coping mechanisms for dealing with dramatic emotional outbursts. Sharing is caring, right!?
Have a great week peeps!
If you enjoyed this post, why not check out ‘Fashion and Femininity: I Don’t Give a F-‘?