Want to Stay Calm in the Midst of the Storm?

Practice WIN!

Friday I shared with you a powerful tool to help you from losing your temper. I promised to share with you why this tool is important and how come it works.

When we lose our tempers, we only escalate the problem. I’m sure you are familiar with this phenomenon.

You are trying to get your point across, your former partner or spouse is trying to get her point across and you are talking at each other. No one is listening and tempers are flaring. As tempers flare, things get out of control.

All in all, not a good thing!

Practicing WIN – witness and naming what is happening – helps interrupt your habitual reaction. Instead of reacting, you can CHOOSE how to respond.


When you are triggered, your adrenaline kicks in. When your adrenaline starts to take over, the front part of your brain (the part that is rational, reasonable and connected to positive visions) disconnects from the lower part of your brain (what you’ve probably heard of as your “reptilian brain”). When that happens, your responses are driven by fight, flight and freeze.

It’s as if the steam has become so intense that the pressure builds up and you flip your lid (or gone off line). Which is exactly what happens, the front part of the brain loses connection with the rest of your brain and body. (Thanks to Daniel Siegel from his book, Mindsight for the image of flipping your lid – what a great image!).

Witnessing and naming your experience helps to interrupt that pattern and get your brain back on-line and close the lid.

If you practice what I shared Friday you can experience the difference yourself.

But here’s the challenge – when you are triggered, stopping yourself from reacting and witnessing yourself in the moment is extremely DIFFICULT because your reptilian brain is quite strong and overpowering (think about how long reptiles have survived on our planet!).

To help you do this in the moment of being triggered, I encourage (challenge!) you to practice WIN every morning when you wake up (when you are not triggered) so that you can do it with more ease when you are triggered.

Please post here and share how you are doing!

Cat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Divorced and Divorcing Parents. She has conducted workshops and trainings in Nonviolent CommunicationSM for hundreds of parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. Her passion is helping parents learn how to communicate and work with their former partner or spouse so they and their children not just survive divorce, but thrive.

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