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Self Control - Counting To 10 Is Not Always Enough

Thomas Jefferson the lawyer, 3rd American President and principal author of the Declaration of Independence was quoted as saying “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If you are really angry, count to 100”. Sage advice but have you ever wondered why this works to control our emotional reactions?

This familiar technique provides two key ingredients in emotional management – Time and Distraction.

While we are busy counting we are focussing on something other than the emotional issue we are faced with. The process of counting also engages our logical brain (neo cortex) and limits the involvement of the limbic system (emotional brain), avoiding an amygdala hijack. This gives us a chance to come up with a logical response to the situation rather than an emotional reaction that may not be good for you or for those around you.

In my own experience, counting to 10 is not always enough so let’s take this a step further. Having a more detailed process to go through during the time and distraction period will help you respond in a way that’s good for you, the other people involved and the greater good.

Use the time to conduct a simple 5 step emotional audit. I have written an Ebook that will show you how. You can grab a free copy by clicking on the image in the sidebar.

Behavioural Self Control is a crucial self management skill amongst the twenty six competencies of social and emotional intelligence. It is all about keeping those disruptive emotions in check so we can make better decisions that will produce healthy responses when we face inevitable situations in our daily lives.

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