Take up crying: it really does make you feel better!

Sometimes you don’t know why you ‘procrastinate’. For me, I didn’t know until today why I hadn’t written today’s Blog yet. And by the way, sometimes it’s not procrastination at all, it’s merely that the time wasn’t right. I think it’s a great skill to be able to tell the difference.

I have a personal client who was doing ‘anger’ more than he wanted. On the receiving end of this angry shouting were the kids. Not the best style of parenting, and not very effective either. So, a lose/lose one might say.

So, what is this anger about? Triggered by the kids not doing what he wants, this dad’s anger was coming from that well-known thinking and feeling self, ‘I’m not in control here. They should do what I say. I’m in charge. I’m the dad”.

You know that I’m Mr Honest; I don’t beat around the bush; I like Simon Cowell (well, a bit anyway). So I’m going to say it straight:

Next time you feel angry, CRY INSTEAD.

Get upset. Give in to your feelings of not being in control. Why? Because you ARE UPSET. It’s upsetting to feel you’ve lost control.

Let me finish the story – it may help the understanding.

When my client got angry and shouted at the kids, what do you think the kids did in response? They argued, shouted back, got angry as well. No surprise there then. And did they do what they were told? No.

LESSON ONE. Kids learns from their parents: end of!

So that’s one reason not to do anger in this situation.

To continue. Next time the kids didn’t do what they were told, this dad for no apparent reason, chose a different response: he cried!

Immediately the kids mood was changed by the tears. This crying interrupted their state and they became concerned about their dad. They didn’t know what was wrong at first, because we often – even as adults – just have no idea how our behaviours are affecting those around us. (Bosses beware).

But because these children do actually love their dad, they couldn’t be unaffected by his overt display of emotion and showed their concern.

This brought them together – for a cuddle. A win/win, I’m sure you’d agree.

Did they then do what dad had asked? Yes. Will this strategy always work? Not always. But as an alternative to anger where both parties actually end up feeling worse, which would you rather try?

Personal friend and clinical psychologist, Graham Flatman, who specialises in children, once told that even very young children do understand what’s going on even when we think it might be a bit grown up for them. So, don’t underestimate the child’s level of awareness about things.

This episode illustrates several things:

Anger takes a huge amount of energy.

Anger often evokes anger in the other person too.

Anger triggers a flood of feel-bad hormones in the body.

Crying, in this instance, shows the other person how you really feel, and allows them to ‘get’ your genuine emotional communication.

Crying – not always, but certainly in this instance – often evokes empathy in the other person.

Crying – and this was the big learning for me – triggers a flood of feel-good hormones in the body – THE SAME ONES THAT ARE TRIGGERED BY SMILING AND LAUGHING.

Surprised? – I know I was.

Just think about it. We pay money to see movies that make us laugh and movies that make us cry. Why, because it makes us ‘feel’ a certain way, and we ‘enjoy’ it.

If you’ve enjoyed or been provoked by this Blog, please add a comment and/or rate it for me. Thank you.

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Posted on May 15, 2010, in Psychology & Influence. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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