More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Don't Lose Your Cool
March 22, 2006
by Aysha Hussain, Psychology Today

Don't blow your top. Remain calm and think your way through a problem.

When things don't go your way, no matter how trivial, how do you react? Do you lose your cool and explode? You know, it's that out-of-control feeling that seems to well up inside and then?kaboom.

This kind of psychological stress is bad in more ways than one. First, it's not good for your health; it's associated with heart disease and depression. And when it comes to work and personal goals, you're probably not moving forward as easily as you'd like.

Granted, some people come out of the womb cool and collected. They're the ones who never snap?nothing seems to irritate or flap them. (Don't you just hate such people?) So how can we be more like them?

Learning how to let things roll right off your back and mastering control can change everything for you. According to Redford and Virginia Williams, authors of In Control, such positive behaviors can be learned.

Clear thinking is the first step to stopping your outbursts. If you stop and think before you act, your life will be more in control?in your control. Whether your facing an overbearing colleague or a delayed flight, keeping your cool and reacting thoughtfully can be your new M.O. Here are a few ways to tackle your next disaster:

Looking Glass
Self-awareness will improve clarity and help you see yourself. How do you really feel when a friend doesn't call you back? Instead of losing your cool or stuffing your feelings, take a look at the situation. You may find that it's not about you at all.

Do you think and speak negative thoughts? Then cut it out! Negative inner dialogue will get you nowhere. Try distracting yourself with positive thoughts about loved ones, a vacation spot or an enjoyable activity. Also, relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditating can help.

Open up and put your ideas on the table. Chances are others will find what you have to say engaging. In addition to speaking up more, listen to others as well. This will help you exchange ideas and points of view.

Be Proactive
Find and implement reasonable problem-solving solutions rather than sitting idly and stewing over a bad day. Define your problem, remember your goals and think about how to really get there. If you are always late for work, for example, then get up 10 minutes earlier.

The Art of Persuasion
People who rise to high places don't crack under pressure, they coolly think about the situation at hand. And they employ skills that work such as persuasiveness, conflict management and taking a leadership position.

Saying No
No one wants to be labeled a pushover, nor do they want to be confrontational. But how do you assert your needs without 1) collapsing into a pile of mush or 2) stepping on everyone's toes? There are ways to assert yourself in situations that don't suit you. You can say no by keeping it simple and including an explicit "no."

Empathize with Others
Everyone has a bad day. So be empathetic. This may help you reframe a person's bad behavior. And in the end, it's not about you.


Dr Baxter, thanks for posting all these helpful things about anger. I am going to try to use some of these and hopefully chip away at the old anger block.


Thank you Dr. B. for posting the above about anger. I know for me I have been told many times how to control anger (not stuffing it down and then exploding) but to see it written down it really makes sense (obviously I am a visual person).

Thanks again. :)
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.