Have you ever wondered if you might be losing your cool too often? How do we know? And what do we do about it?
Cool [kool] not excited; calm; composed; under control
We all have a "friend" with anger issues. She yells at her kids, barks at her husband, she even rakes the store cashier over the coals on a regular basis. We see her and think, "Well, at least I'm not like THAT!" The problem with comparing ourselves to others is it won’t bring out the best in us. We can always find someone who is doing a worse job than we are.
Galatians 6:4 says, “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.”
Besides, everyone loses their cool occasionally; it's human nature. One can't always be the definition of calmness and control. If that were possible, somebody would have discovered it by now. The question isn't if you will you lose your cool, but are you letting it happen too often.
And what is too often? I mean, is it okay to ever lose your cool? Once a day? How about every half hour? Getting annoyed definitely tends to snowball. We get frustrated but it doesn't change anything, so we get more irritated and soon we might as well be making prisoner-like tally marks on the wall to keep up with the number of temper tantrums we are having.
Here are 5 tips that will help you determine if you are losing your cool too often:
1. If you are worried about it, then it might be too often. You know yourself and what is really going on inside. If you are concerned about your loss of self-control and ability to keep calm, then you probably need to deal with it. Instead of wondering what other people are thinking or doing, listen to your own instincts. If you think it's a problem, then it is. Take it to the Lord and look through Scripture for guidance. Make small goals to work toward a healthier attitude.
2. If you have regret, then it might be too often. Do you end your days with regret over how you treated the people you love? I know that's happened to me many times. Regret is a tool you can use for your good. There's no need for guilt. You are forgiven and you can apologize and make changes for tomorrow. When you notice that you are wishing you could go back and respond to someone differently, use that desire to propel you to make some changes.
3. If you wake up feeling anxious, then it might be too often. Those first few moments of waking up can determine the path of the entire day. If we are anxious and frustrated from the beginning, then we are likely to be impatient and grumpy until bedtime. Pay attention to how you think about the day ahead when you wake up. A simple switch from anxiety to gratitude can make an enormous difference!
4. If people hide from you, then it might be too often. Do you notice that people avoid you or aren't really telling you the truth? Maybe it is because of how they think you will respond. I find that my desire to show the other person that I can be trusted will override my instant reaction of being upset. Wanting them to have someone they can trust to listen reasonably often helps me remain collected. Step back and evaluate if you are part of the reason people avoid you.
5. If you don't smile, then it might be too often. Some days I look back at the end of the day and realize I haven't smiled or laughed all day. That's not good! God says laughter is medicine. Studies say smiling actually changes your mood. If you think you can't change the way you feel, try something easier. Step back, take a breath and genuinely smile. It's pretty incredible how much smiling lifts the spirits. Plus it's contagious. You could change the mood of the whole room with your pearly whites.
Calm [kahlm] free from excitement or passion; tranquil
Losing your cool becomes a habit and eventually you find that it's the automatic response when things don't go your way. We don't always have easy control of how something makes us feel, but we do have control over how we act. You have a choice. It's not easy, but you can change it.
You can take back your coolness by paying attention when your instincts tell you it's time to stop. The Holy Spirit gives you a nudge and if you're paying attention, you feel it. Then stop for a second and take a long, slow breath and hold it for a few seconds. As you breathe out, remind yourself of your goal to love others and think of how they are feeling because of how you are treating them.
A Bible verse always helps when I’m on the verge of getting angry. I like to keep verses written in my phone, on notes around the house, framed, anywhere I can think of to keep God's Word right at my fingertips! One of my favorites is James 1:19-20 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
While you are working on your temper, be willing to admit that it's your own fault when you lose it. Just because someone makes a mess or does annoying things doesn't mean you have to fly off the handle about it. Think of it as something you can practice and over time get better at. Let yourself off the hook of perfection and embrace the journey!
Collected [kuh-lek-tid] having control of one's faculties; self-possessed:
Once you determine that you are losing your cool too often, you can definitely turn it around. It might take time, but let your loved ones know that you are working on it. Just knowing you are taking responsibility and apologizing will help them to trust you again. A little humility, a touch of gratitude and a lot of prayer can turn you from crazy to calm, cool and collected before you know it.
Lisa Pennington is a homeschooling mother of nine who shares her life – one laundry load at a time – on her blog, The Pennington Point. Pennington is a sought-after speaker at conferences, women’s groups, home-school support groups and more. She currently lives in the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio with her husband, James, and their family. For more information please visit www.thepenningtonpoint.com.
Publication date: December 3, 2015