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Stop, Drop & Roll : Putting Out Emotional Fires

Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and what is our Wise Mind – the mind that can think through and give push back to our Emotional Mind seems to be nowhere in sight.  Now let me say this… our emotions are valid because they are how we “feel” but it is critical for our psychological health and emotional wellbeing […]

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Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and what is our Wise Mind – the mind that can think through and give push back to our Emotional Mind seems to be nowhere in sight.  Now let me say this… our emotions are valid because they are how we “feel” but it is critical for our psychological health and emotional wellbeing for all of us to STOP, DROP & ROLL when we need to. Let me explain…

we know how to use this catch phrase when we are literally “on fire” but should also use it when we may be “emotionally” on fire. When we are triggered into a high emotional state many of us feel like we are being thrown into the internal chaos of Fight, Fight or Freeze.   The Fire is quite literally the triggered emotional experience.  But rather than reacting quickly to the experience, we can do the following:

STOP: Do nothing.  Or, if you have begun to do something, for example shoot off an email or impulsively yell at someone, stop now!  STOP means to literally think about how you are seeing the situation or person before you DO or DON’T DO anything.

DROP: Now that you have STOPPED (this can be seconds or minutes or days) your emotional mind, it is time to DROP SOME KNOWLEDGE on yourself and use your skills of meta cognition (this means to think about how you are thinking about the situation or person). Evaluate if you are engaged in Cognitive Distortions (see list below).

ROLL: Once you have Stopped to evaluate and Dropped Some Knowledge on your mind and heart, you are ready to ROLL out your emotional fire.  To ROLL we can utilize our Overreaction Coping Skills which allow us to ROLL through these emotional situations and to put out the emotional fire.

First, during the Stop and Drop phase you want to check your Cognitive Distortions.  These are irrational thoughts that can influence your emotions.  Everyone expriences these to a certain degree, but in their most extreme forms they can be harmful.  These include:

            *Magnification & Minimization

            *Catastrophizing

            *Overgeneralizing

            *Magical Thinking

            *Personalization

            *Jumping to Conclusions

            *Mind Reading

            *Fortune Telling

            *Emotional Reasoning

            *Disqualifying the Positive

            *Shoulding Statements

            *All or Nothing Thinking

When we engage in any of these cognitive distortions, they can negatively impact our emotional reaction to a situation or person.  If we allow them to guide our decision making, we may find ourselves creating much more chaos and negative fallout in our world.  This can impact our relationships, school and career.  When we learn to ROLL out the emotional fire, we use the following Coping Skills to help us learn to chill and roll with it when we need to do so.  When we do this, we allow our Wise Mind to be in charge, rather than our Emotional Mind. These coping skills include:

*Implement a 10 second rule

*Change your Perspective

*Picture the Consequences

*Empathize

*Look at the Big Picture

*Use a Calming Mantra

*Listen to Music

*Do a Body Scan

As we all experience the challenges of today such as homeschooling our kids, grieving the loss of a family member or friend or worrying about one’s career and ability to earn a living during the pandemic, we find ways to navigate our emotions in a healthier and more productive manner.  Learning Stop, Drop & Roll for when we experience Emotional Fires is one way to help us all get through these very emotional times. 

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