• Robert Clarke MFT

Maybe it's time for tea.


Stress of our daily lives, whether it be work, home, or just what’s happening in the world, can sometimes feel overwhelming. When I worked in tech, the pressure could be intense and often people would think that working without breaks would help us meet tight schedules or deadlines. Instead, the reality was frequently just the opposite. Usually working without breaks led to mistakes and frustration. It generally made more sense to take the breaks, go home at reasonable times, and come back to work refreshed and more productive in the morning.


One smart manager I worked with had a great way of helping people calm down. When an individual or team would come to her in a panic about something going wrong or not working, she would say, “Maybe it’s time for some tea.” Then she would ask the team or individual to join her in the break room to get some refreshment. After a few minutes of chatting about things other than work, she would lead a discussion about the problem.


When you panic, or get frustrated, you are activating the Flight or Fight mechanism of your brain. If you were in a real, life-threatening situation, that part of your brain would take over and try to get you to safety. When you panic because of an abstract fear, such as not meeting a deadline, Flight or Fight can still kick in, and in that case it can make things worse. The reason is that the FOF mechanism is not about problem solving or brainstorming, or thinking; it is for reacting. When you find yourself afraid of something that is about the future, the best thing you can do is to turn off the FOF reaction and get back into your wise brain, which is there to help you THINK.


Taking a break and doing something that’s not scary, such as having a casual conversation, is a great way to stop the FOF reaction and get you back into your “right” mind.


-What things do you do to calm down when your FOF reaction starts?


Welcome to my blog!

My posts are purely my own thoughts and opinions and are not meant to give you advice, but instead to give you insight into some of my thinking. My hope is that you will find useful information here as you navigate your life and relationships.

© 2020 by Robert Clarke MFT. CA License #91187

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