N.I.C.E is a conscious process that will increase your emotional resilience by giving you a guideline to interrupt and redirect your thoughts once an emotional reaction has occurred.
- Notice your thoughts so you can clarify the stories you tell yourself.
- Take a look at your underlying beliefs such as I’m not good enough.
- Address the attitudes that you have about yourself and others, as well as any of the ways that you compare, compete or measure yourself or how you measure others.
- Clarify your physiological reaction the intensity of your feelings such as heart racing, palms sweating, hands shaking, upset stomach and the intensity of your feelings when an emotional reaction occurs.
When we react, our mind releases chemicals into our system that warn us of impending danger which will initiate immediate action. The emotional mind does not know the difference between what it sees and what it remembers and, at times, will base our reality around emotional illusions rather than facts. A strong reaction will produce feelings for perceived threats that feel just as real and just as intense as if we truly were in danger.
The protective nature of our survival system will shut down our ability to think logically and create an impression that we must take immediate action because we are under attack and must protect ourselves. We react by getting angry, becoming impatient or even withdrawing. The thoughts we have, feelings we experience and beliefs that rise are information telling us that we have an emotional wound that needs some attention. If we do not address what is going on with our inner self, the reactions will continue.
It is important to note that when an emotional reaction occurs it is nearly impossible to process clearly. You must give yourself time to calm yourself before you will have the conscious ability to process. It can take up to 30 minutes to dissipate the surge of chemicals released into your system after a strong reaction.
2- Interrupt- Prior to the initial surge of chemicals released into our system, we have about 6 seconds of logical thought before the phycological (mind) and physiological (body) reactions take control of our ability to think or act rationally. It is in this 6 second pause that we can consciously disrupt the chemical surge and direct our response in the way we want it to go. To interrupt a reaction, use a statement that will redirect your focus; an example might be “Up until now I would have given my power to anger, feeling hurt or frustration… However, I do not want to let my emotions run me anymore, so I’m choosing to take a breath and calm myself down before I take action or communicate.” Another way to interrupt an emotional reaction is to focus on a physiological component. When we consciously redirect our attention to something physiological like breathing, we can stop the mind from reacting to protect itself by releasing more chemicals into the system. Taking deep breaths will slow our heart rate, quiet our nerves and dissipate our fears which will help us calm down much quicker.
3- Curiosity- Once you feel calm, get curious (not critical) by questioning the facts and relevance of your reactions to your current life.
- What triggered my reaction?
- Why was I hurt, offended or why did I take something personally?
- What reoccurring thoughts did I have that need to be addressed?
- How have my thoughts influenced my reactions?
- In the past, how have I justified my reactions?
- In my reaction, how was I viewing myself, and what were my thoughts and views of others?
- Did I notice any reoccurring beliefs about myself such as “I am incompetent,” “I am a failure,” or “People cannot be trusted.”
4- Evaluate- As soon as you have given yourself enough time for your emotions to pass, realistically evaluate what you were thinking, how you were feeling, the attitudes that justified your position and any beliefs that you notice. Once you realistically evaluate what is really going on, define ways that you could respond differently.
Emotional reactions are a natural part of the human experience so be gentle with yourself. You deserve to live up to your full potential and learning to manage your emotional life is an essential key to happiness and growth.
God bless and reach out if I can assist you!