You’re aware of mindset work but you still don’t know what to do when you’re really upset. Sterling breaks down what to do in those moments and after you freak out and show up in a way that you aren’t proud of.




Click Here for a full transcript of the show.

Hi, and welcome to the Made for Greatness podcast. I am your host Sterling Jaquith. And today we’re gonna be talking about what to do when we get really stressed. So this has come up several times in group coaching recently, and I wanted to talk about the ways that we handle just losing it, right, losing it with the kids, losing with the husband, getting steaming mad, feeling so much anger, frustration in our bodies. And we feel like we kind of lose control. We’re kind of out of ourselves is how I’ve heard it described. And sometimes this can be anger. Sometimes it can be sadness, but an intense emotion. So there’s two ways to deal with this. The first way which I’m gonna lay out is what we do after the fact, when we just pause and reflect on what has happened. The second thing we do is during that moment, but I wanna talk about what we do after, because that’s probably what you’re gonna have access to first.

So first, when we begin to understand that our thoughts creator was the result, or we hear things like maybe if we didn’t have great attachment as children, we struggled to attach in our adulthood. We become aware of some psychology principles. We start learning about our brain, but we are not yet ready. Most of us to interrupt or prevent an intense emotional reaction. So awareness is the first step. And we’ve talked about this in a previous podcast where I talk about the mindset cycle, but awareness is the first step. Just kind of knowing, oh, there are thoughts and brains have patterns. And of course it makes sense that I’m having this extreme reaction because all right, so awareness is great. The next thing we do after having awareness is we just run through the scenario. After it happened from a neutral, calm place. You could say, as a scientist, you could sit with Jesus and replay the event with him, sitting there and kind of telling you something about it.

But we wanna look back at what happened once we are calm. So this doesn’t work. If you’re not calm, it may take you a few hours or a few days, but you have to actually get calm first. And then with love and compassion, we look back at what happened and we go, Hey, love whoa, what was going on there? And usually we can see something like the kids don’t respect me. My husband doesn’t support me. Um, I’m gonna stick with husband, kid examples for right now. Some of us have extreme emotional reactions to other relationships, but we’re just gonna stick with those two for today. So when you’re looking back, you just do a play by play. Well, what happened? Kids were getting real ready. Little Jimmy didn’t know where his shoes were. Stacy didn’t brush her hair, right? Husbands, nowhere to be found, unsupervised five year old, break something, right?

There’s just like a series of events that we can describe factually. Or we can just say, what are the facts, no opinions. And, and we can be curious, why did we freak out about that? Why did we have such a strong emotional reaction? And so step one is just being curious and trying to find any thoughts that you could actually hear. And what I mean by that is sometimes we have such strong reactions. We jumped straight to the feeling without actually consciously hearing the thoughts, but let’s just be curious. Why was that such a strong reaction for you? Let’s do this together on the podcast. You have a strong emotional reaction, recently, anger, sadness. What was going on? What are the facts?

And then why did your brain think that that was a problem? And I really love phrasing it this way because you are the watcher of your thoughts. And so it allows you to say some really ugly thoughts, some really untrue thoughts, some really judgemental thoughts, thoughts that calm you don’t agree with, but maybe freaked out. You were thinking that way. So from this place of being calm and say, if we just look back, what were we thinking? And you’ll have a story about the kids or your husband or yourself. And in fact, it will all boil down onto something about yourself. Because the only reason we freak out about the husband and the kids is because we come all the way down to, and he’s going to leave me. No one’s ever going to love me for who I am.

I’m gonna be a bad mom. So I’m gonna fail at the job that God has given me. I’m a failure, right? There’s just gonna be like a core of what I like to call an origin story, right? It’s just a deep, old lie that we believed for a long time. And these facts that happened, right? I’m just coaching someone whose daughter broke something that was important to her. Like of course we have a strong reaction to that and we make it all sorts of things about the kid, about you as a mom, about your home, your ability to have nice things, about a lack of control in your space. So we can just look and see, oh, my brain really thought it was a problem that the kid did this, that my husband said this because it made it mean, go find that deep thing. So we find that deep thing And then lovingly, and with Christ, we just say, is that true? It almost never will be true because you are lovable and you are good. And God is with you. And God did pick this man for you. And God did choose for you to be the mother of these kids.

And so the purpose of this exercise is to find a lie and to sit with the Lord and have him shine truth into that lie. So the first thing I do is I just, I go, is it even true now that I’m calm and I’m safe? Is it even true? And usually on my own with no coach, I can see that it is not. And then the next thing that I do is I look for evidence that the opposite is true. How am I a good mom? How is my husband actually supportive of me? How do I have a lot of control over my home? And I write down all the things I can think of. And I keep asking myself, what else, Cuz you will find evidence of the truth.

And then I replay the event and my mind, and this is important because our brain doesn’t know the difference between, um, a lived memory and one that you’re just making up. So we wanna replay the event. So our brain practices doing it the right way. And we do this with kids, right? We’re practicing getting up in front of the class and giving your speech practice, you know, hitting the ball at the game. We can do this with our own parenting or spouse situations. So we’re gonna practice it again. All the same things happen, but you’re calm and you’re safe. How do you wish you would’ve spoken to yourself? How do you wish you would have reacted? Because now that I have these tools, I can feel pretty intense emotion in my body and still react calmly on the outside, Which I think is this sainthood piece that we’re looking for controlling the way we act. So I replay the memory

And I think, oh Sterling, this is really hard right now that the kids aren’t listening to you or that that kid was crying or that that kid took his diaper off and there’s poop on the floor now. Or they broke that thing that you really, really loved. And I tell myself in my brain what I wished I would’ve said, I love you. You’re safe. This is okay. You can handle this. This is difficult, but I got you and we’re calming ourselves down and we practice reacting with love. It still may be, Hey Jimmy, that’s unacceptable. You have a timeout. It may be. I’m really upset that you broke. That was really special to me. I’m too upset to talk about it right now. We’re gonna talk about your consequences later with the husband. Hey husband, I’m just feeling really disconnected or rejected or frustrated. I just need five minutes to calm down. And then I would love to come back and talk to you about this. Those are all reactions that account for our emotions And allow us some space to calm down and to react from a place of calmness and safety.

So for most of you, you’re at the stage where you’re beginning to have awareness of your thinking. You’re still gonna freak out and lose it sometimes. But now I want you to do this intense moment retrospective. That sounds very official. Doesn’t it? I like it. An intense moment. Retrospective Where you get to go through and just say, what was I believing? Is it true? How is the opposite really true? I’m gonna relive the memory and decide how I wanted to talk to myself and show up instead, okay, this is a really powerful exercise and you’re not gonna wanna do it. This is like one of those things like, oh, it’s good for you to lift heavy weights. And then your brain’s like, but don’t want The intense moment. Retrospective was a moment. The middle word.

Your brain is not gonna wanna do it, but you guys keep coming to me and you say, I wanna have more peace. I wanna feel more in control of myself. I don’t wanna be a yell mom. I don’t wanna shut down my husband or feel shut down in front of him. This is what we have to do. These are the reps we have to take the time to go, Hey, what happened? And decide how we wanna show up instead. So that’s kind of the next phase. So there’s awareness. And then there’s the retrospective that we do after we’ve shown up in a less than ideal way. Then as your brain practices this, after the fact, it will get better at doing it in the moment. So at the moment, this is what it looks like. If you can reach for this and this is where I’m at, for some things, for some things, I still just like to lose it and have to do a retrospective.

But for a lot of things now, particularly with the kids, I have the ability to go. Ooh. So the red flag is an intense emotional reaction. I can feel it in my body like whew. We are really upset, angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, and have intense emotions. So now I know there’s just no thinking to be done until I calm down. So all I’m doing is, Hey, we need to calm down, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water. Maybe we need to go outside. We need to calm down. I love you. I’m with you. We’re gonna calm down.

Okay. We’ve got to calm our nervous system down so that we have access to our prefrontal cortex. You don’t even have access to your problem. Solving, speaking in a nice voice part of your brain when you’re amygdala freaking out that you’re in danger and lots of noise and kids being disrespectful and husbands saying words sometimes make, cause let’s feel like we’re in danger and we shut down. So calm down, then be really honest with yourself. Am I calm now? Am I really calm? And sometimes I’ll put my hands on my chest and I just really look for any negative icky, yucky emotions left.

If I really can’t sense any, then similar to what we did in the retrospective. But I do it the moment I go. What’s the truth, cuz I had a strong, emotional reaction. So I was probably thinking something that wasn’t true. What is the truth? I’m safe. He loves me. The kids are okay. I’m okay, I’ve got this. So I found the truth. And then in that moment I go, how do we wanna show up? How do we wanna react to this? So when you’ve got a whole bunch of little kids or things moving very quickly, you may not have the luxury of three quiet minutes to calm down and problem solve.

So either we’re just gonna allow the strong emotion to happen and do a retrospective or it might be an approximation where we calm down and then we just do a stop gap. Like, listen, we’re gonna, you go to your room, you go to the couch, you stand in the laundry room. Mom’s gonna calm down. I’m gonna talk to you guys all separately. Or I need everyone to be quiet. We’re going to get in the car. We’re gonna drive home. And then we’re gonna talk about this. If anyone makes noise, it’s 10 minutes off your bedtime.

We are in charge, but we want to issue consequences or talk to them from a place of calmness. So it doesn’t mean we let everybody walk all over us. It doesn’t mean we allow chaos to happen. But when we are calm, we can kind of put people where they need to be or get people in the car or get people out of the car or finish doing baths. I was talking to somebody recently and was trying to give multiple kids a bath and the kids were fighting it. And I was like, yeah, that’s what three year olds do. But in our brains, we’re like, this is such a big problem. He’s not listening to me. I’m just trying to be a good mom and clean this kid. But then we don’t react well because we’re already out of our thinking brain.

So the steps for being in a high, highly stressful moment. And I’m gonna say by the way, one that doesn’t actually involve real danger, like a car accident. We’re talking about kids doing normal kid things, husbands saying stuff, feeling triggered emotionally, that kind of strong, stressful reaction step one is to calm down. Step two is to see the truth. What are the facts? What’s true? What is my brain being dramatic about right now? And step three is how do I wanna show up intentionally? And for me, I really like to show up as a calm problem solver with very clear boundaries. I know that kids feel safe, having boundaries and clear expectations and rules and consequences. They want to feel safe. They want their parents to feel predictable. 

So how do you wanna show up intentionally? What kind of woman do you want to be at this moment? So I hope that’s helpful. One that you don’t beat yourself up too much for having strong emotional reactions. That’s just gonna happen. That’s totally fine. Now you have this tool for intense moment retrospective. And then the more you practice that the more you’re actually be able to do it in the moment to prevent you from having a reaction. That’s not the way that you want to show up. All right? So if this sounded interesting to you, come join us in masters. I will help you slow this down in group coaching. I will help you see what brain drama you’ve got going on. And then in particular, this month, we’re really focusing on parenting. And I know a lot of you are like, I would like to stop being mean to my kids. I would like to stop yelling at them and shaming them.

I want to be a mom that has more peace and shows them to have peace. So in addition to helping you guys be better parents, we are also teaching how to teach these skills to your kids, which I just think is absolutely invaluable. If we could raise a generation of kids that know how to be emotionally regulated, imagine what they could do. All right, you guys, I’m praying for you. The world offers you comfort. Your brain is gonna want comfort. It’s not gonna wanna try new things or do intense moment retrospectives, but you are not made for comfort. You are Made for Greatness.