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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.

3-2-1 calm down method for when you feel your anger rising

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.

Good luck!

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.

Learning the 3-2-1 calm down technique

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?