I was recently travelling back from Berlin when my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. This in itself was not unusual especially since I was flying a certain low cost airline with a reputation for less than perfect punctuality and service.
However, what was interesting was how many people totally and utterly lost their heads in the moment. At first frustration in the group gently smouldered but the lack of ownership and incompetence of the individuals 'managing' the situation was like kerosine to the fire.
The mob was mad!
Don't get me wrong corporate incompetence is annoying, unnecessary and largely avoidable but it beggared the question, did it warrant the kind of rage that was being displayed or was this years of pent up anger being released on some unwitting member of staff?! I think it was fair to say...
The trigger is not the cause
Here are 3 ways to ensure that you keep your cool no matter how stressful the situation.
1. Slow Down & Breathe
When stressed, we forget the most basic things - your breath! It is a very powerful tool for naturally calming and de-stressing the body. So slow down and take 10 deep breaths, or as many as you need to regain some clarity and calmness. Try and allow the out-breath to be slightly longer than the in-breath, or if you''re finding that difficult just breath in and out for 6 counts each. This will engage your body’s parasympathetic nervous system to release chemicals in your brain which signal to the body that everything’s A OK. Chill Winston!
2. Focus on What You Can Control
Instead of panicking about things you have no influence over, direct your focus towards things you can control. Use your energy to take positive action on things within your sphere of influence, anything else is a waste of your time and energy and will result in greater frustration. Just try and take each moment as it comes this will help to manage your own expectations.
Remember, ultimately you can’t change other people or the decisions they make. Instead, change how you respond to those decisions, and you’ll feel much more powerful and in control.
3. Think Positively
Reframe your thinking. Instead of seeing negativity and problems, try and look at the opportunities you have instead. Focusing on what’s good is not the same as being optimistic, which can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. The trick is to have neutral or balanced expectations, and to focus on the good stuff when the situation actually occurs.
If things seem too overwhelming to handle, focus on what this situation is teaching you. Whether it’s patience, resilience, or a reminder to see the funny side of life this experience is an opportunity for personal growth.
Lastly I think it's important to remember that our situation is rarely unique, it's probably happened before and there are likely to be those worse off than yourself so follow these 3 simple tricks and keep your head when a situation gets you hot under the collar.
And 'til the next time Keep Your Feet Firmly on the Ground (Please excuse the pun!)