'Keep calm and carry on’ isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
But, in a piece for Healthista, a psychotherapist has today revealed how he stays calm himself.
Dr Aaron Balick, a clinical psychotherapist based in London, explains what you should do when you get that distressing email.
While he also covers appropriate responses during an argument with your partner and bouts of road rage - to help you avoid seeing red.
Dr Aaron Balick, a clinical psychotherapist based in London, explains what you should do when you get that distressing email
1. When I get that distressing email
First of all I don’t get it when I’m not expecting it so I don’t have to react to anything until I’m good and ready.
I have taken the email function off my phone and I only look at emails at regular intervals when I can actually respond to them properly.
The days of checking emails on my phone while I’m on the bus, then feeling panicked and unable to do anything about it, are over.
Now I only look only when I’m ready.
Don’t let emails control you. You decide when to look, and you decide when to answer. That way, if there is a crisis to deal with, you are ready for it.
2. During an argument with a partner
First of all, we try to avoid this by having open channels of communication as much as we can – but tensions do arise and most relationships have a flair-up now and then.
When this happens, the trick is coming back together afterwards, when things have cooled. In psychology this is called ‘rupture and repair’.
After a conflict where some regrettable things are said, you come together, listen, own up, forgive and get forgiven, and move on.
There’s no such thing as a relationship without rupture. It’s how you repair them that counts.
In short, prevent a barney by not saving up your frustrations and keeping open lines of communication. When it does happen, communicate again and repair the rupture.
'I have taken the email function off my phone and I only look at emails at regular intervals when I can actually respond to them properly,' says Dr Balick
3. When I feel angry at work
Fortunately, my workplace has a small team and we have good regular communication that prevents flare-ups.
Communication is a good preventative strategy. Still, sometimes buttons get pushed, and when buttons are pushed we get reactive.
Being reactive is when you fire off an angry email, put down the phone, yell at a colleague, or slam a door.
Dr Aaron Balick, a clinical psychotherapist based in London, explains the theory behind how he is able to stay calm in stressful situations.
He said: 'Have you ever seen a calm sea during a hurricane? No. The sea naturally reacts to its environment, just like we do.
'It’s just that when the storm stops, the sea doesn’t go on churning itself up about what happened. The sea lets go.
'We may think we need to be calm in the face of life’s challenges, but it’s actually better to feel your emotions and not pretend you’re totally chill when you’re churned up.
'Real calm doesn’t mean you don’t experience distressing feelings.
'It means you can have your feelings without letting them twist you into knots.'
You can avoid being reactive by listening to your feelings and knowing when we’re getting overloaded – you’re more likely to react when you’re overloaded.
When I notice I’m getting full up, I get out of the situation, go for a walk, and come back when I’ve cooled down a bit.
Just like at home, work can be a place of rupture and repair. We can spend more time with people at work than at home, so it’s important to treat those relationships with care.
4. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by stress or workload
Running a busy psychology hub and therapy practice is a lot of work. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.
Recognising I can’t do it all is a start, and while I have high expectations of myself, I try not to pretend I can do it all.
Secondly, one of the greatest skills I’ve developed is the art of saying ‘no’. Getting ahead of the game by choosing projects I can