Today’s Daily Shoring tip is a strategy for coping with stress, particularly situations in which you feel angry or frustrated.
The technique is called the “bird’s eye view.” When you find yourself getting angry, frustrated, or just impatient, mentally shift your perspective and imagine you are looking down at the situation from a bird’s eye view.
This simple emotional distancing technique is effective at reducing the “emotional saliency” of the situation–in other words, you’re less “in the moment” and more emotionally distanced from the situation,which calms your physiological response to stress.
This buffers you against the physical and emotional toll of a stressful situation and allows you to proceed in a calm manner.
We’ve all heard the advice that, when you’re angry or frustrated, “Count to 10.” I’ve always wondered, “What am I supposed to do while I’m counting to 10?” Deep breathing helps, but if you’re really angry or frustrated, it’s difficult to shake it off just by counting to 10.
The “bird’s eye view” technique is exactly what you need in these situations.
Here’s an example of how it works–
Let’s say you’re stuck at the airport–your flight is delayed, you’re standing in a long line, and the gate agent is surly. You’re tired and hungry, everyone around you is angry, and at least two babies are crying. Oh, and now they announce that everyone needs to change gates–32 gates away. Truly a frustrating situation, but you probably don’t have a lot of options other than going through the motions to get on the flight. So, instead of focusing on your frustration, imagine a bird’s eye view of the entire situation–what you see is simply a bunch of people standing around. At least they are all warm, dry, and in a safe location. Count to 10, take some deep breaths, and realize that, in the grand scheme of things, this is not a tragedy or a trauma. It’s just something you have to get through.
Your assignment for today is to practice the bird’s eye view technique.
You can practice either with the scenario I described above, or even better, with a recent stressful situation you encountered. By practicing today, you can more easily employ this coping technique when you next find yourself angry, frustrated, or impatient.