3-2-1 Calm Down
A simple technique for dealing with anger to cool your brain down from ‘boil over’ mode.
I’ve got another tip from a reader for dealing with anger to share today. This is something you can try right in the moment when you’re noticing yourself get more and more angry.
Use this calm down technique to help take your brain out of “Fight or Flight” mode, so that you can think more clearly to deal with whatever situation is making you angry.
Please note I am not a therapist or doctor – I am simply a parent offering this as a suggestion I am finding helpful when I get angry.
3-2-1 Calm Down:
From Emma – “I had trauma in my childhood so stressful situations trigger my fight/flight response, very primitive part of the brain that just reacts. My counselor says cuing into my senses tracks my brain back to the cognitive thinking brain pathway so that I can use all the wonderful techniques I have been learning but can’t access in “protect” mode.
So you stop, identify 3 things you can see, identify 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear… Then 2 things you can see, feel, hear… Then 1 thing you can see, feel, hear… Then repeat if necessary which I have never had to.
In trying this method I have been surprised by how difficult it is for me to pull out of that fight/flight mode in order to name these sensations. I have to work to find the words for what I am seeing, hearing and feeling, and by doing so I find I get a bit more detached from the anger making situation. It can be just enough to help me realize I need to change tactics – maybe take a “Mama Time Out” or simply have a sense of humor about the moment.
The other thing this tells me is, wow – no wonder my kids often have a hard time acting reasonably when they’re angry, I am an adult and can barely find the words for three things I’m hearing when my anger is sparked…that’s food for thought.
This tip is part of these Ten Ways Moms Let Go of Anger – check that out for more tips from parents like you.
So – what do you think? Have you tried anything like this? Could it help short circuit your anger?
64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
Subscribe to Download your FREE printable of 64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
What Nicola said. I needed this so much right now!
I swear your posts pop up at exactly the right time in my timeline!
Great idea… I need to try this.
Creative With Kids
Fay McClure and Grainne Dunlea – my understanding of this technique is that it orients you to your surroundings. When you’re upset your brain can go into a fight or flight mode – essentially getting you keyed up more and more because it sense danger – making adrenalin flow, making it harder to think straight. This technique gets you to tune into your senses, gets you to tune into your surroundings and sends your brain the message “I’m safe. No need for the adrenalin rush.” and it helps you detach enough from your anger in order to think a bit more calmly.
Creative With Kids
Krista Jarmas Aslanian – yes, 3 for each sense, 20 for each and then one. It just ramps you down. and forces you to break out of the stress/fright/anger thought patterns.
Lauren Marie Krause
This is great! Rachel Krause think it’ll work? Let’s try! 🙂
I have been to this point once in my life and this is the same advice that a peremadeic gave me during the moment of not anger but real fear. It detacted me from the situation for the moment so that I was able to think clearly enough for them to ask me questions and I could respond.
Cameo Karr Brassard
Omg I just learnt about this yesterday at a training I did
I’m with Fay McClure, can someone explain more please?
I don’t understand can someone explain
Can you give me an example of your 321So you stop, identify 3 things you can see, identify 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear… Then 2 things you can see, feel, hear… Then 1 thing you can see, feel, hear…
Kay Rader Compher
Could this work for a 5 year old I wonder
Jessica Louise Flowers
Yes, Krista. Just doing 3 of each was enough to detach me from my anger, I can imagine doing all 3, 2, and 1 would be truly calming. Great technique!
Krista Jarmas Aslanian
I like the sound of this! This may be a silly question, but you find 3 things for each sense, then 2 more things for each sense, then 1 more for each? A little unclear – just want to make sure I’m understanding it correctly 🙂
Jane St. Claire
Thank you for this!
This is fascinating. definitely not looking forward to needing this technique but I’m going to try it the next time I do!