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51. Equanimity: Emotional Reactivity and Damage Control (part 4)

In this episode, we're in the fourth part of our five-part series on equanimity. This episode is quite a bit different than the last two where we worked with the internal dynamics of an emotional storm and how equanimity can come in to tame the winds. Now, we’ll look at how this process can expand outside ourselves. We're probably all familiar with this phase as well: we say or do things out of surges of emotions that took us by surprise, negative thoughts that hung on, and story lines we told ourselves. These kind of outbursts are inevitable given all the energy we've brewed up in the early phases of the storm and, well, it just kind of needs to go somewhere. Often, we lash out. Other times, we replay the scenario again [and again] in our heads, winning an imaginary battle that keeps us reactivating our stress response. Whatever the case, we'll talk about strategies to bring back equanimity to not only dissipate the storm, but make situations like this far less common. 


Watch this episode on YouTube.


Key Takeaways:

  • If we haven't prevented or buffered an emotional storm by this point, then we are likely *full* with energy. When that occurs, it's hard to hold back from lashing out.
  •  If we don't lash out and don't work to dissipate the storm, we may find that we continue to replay the event over and over again in our minds. This replaying continues to re-activate our stress and keeps us stuck in the event. 
  • Anger is not a bad emotion; it may be just the emotion for the situation. However, we have to create a bit of space between the activation and sensations and our response so we can tune into our wisdom and choose our response in a way that is most healthy and effective.
  • Grounding practices are super effective at helping us create space between activation and response.
  • Equanimity amidst a storm takes a lot of skill because an emotional storm happens so fast. We need to practice!
  • Next episode we'll look at how to learn from these storms, even if we got totally swept away, so that we can maintain more equanimity when the next one hits.  


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