How to be calm and decisive


 The way to cut through hyper and hypo arousal is by making a habit of being decisive.  Decisions get us to action, and as Semmelroth said,  only action can be managed directly, not emotion. If you can directly control action, you will feel much more in control than if you focus on something you can’t control – emotion. Nontheless,  decisions to take action are preceded by emotion and that emotion is fed by what painful or pleasurable thing we are seeing that could happen as a result of various choices that are in front of us. There is no way to get away from emotions, yet they needn’t be debilitating emotions that render you ineffective.   This can be achieved by  commiting to seeing the pain before  having to go through the pain. The emotion  associated with seeing the pain will be significant but you at least have some distance from it because it is happening NOW.  If you see the future pain, but commit to making some decision to reduce your chances of experiencing pain that pain directly, than seeing the  pain in order to inform your decision becomes a wise and not so unsettling prospect.   Unfortunately many people go too far and create a habit of anticipating pain without following it up with a  a firm decision,  and become chronically anxious or angry.  What they need to do is become decisive around the factors that will contribute to the pain and see just enough pain to  sharpen their focus on implementation of those decisions that will reduce the pain. Even if they are the ‘wrong’ decisions, the focused action and feeling of control will reduce  emotionality and increase calm rationality so that the chance of realizing the ‘wrongness’ of the decision is more likely to happen sooner than if you merely focus on the pain or on some distraction from the pain.  You can then more quickly change the decision and get busy implementating again in a better direction. The decision can even be to delay a particular action, and this can be as useful as taking immediate action, as long as the delay has a time limit.  Often seeing pain is overwhelming, and we need to take a break in order to rejuvenate.  You can even spend that delay eating potato chips and watching TV as long as you using the delay as a means to rejuvenate for a set time before you refocus on the pain and making a decision. However,  if you are just distracting yourself and have no set time to refocus in this way, you are going to be ineffective and risk getting addicted to your distractions.

So here are some steps if you are hypo or hyper aroused, even if ownly slightly:

1)See the pain – dig into it. “What is going to hurt? What else? What else?”

2) Commit to a decision to act to reduce the pain you saw.

3) Include enough decisions to  ‘rest and distract ‘  for rejuvenation purposes within  a time limit if you are overwhelmed by looking at the pain.

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