Stop Yourself Reacting To Other People When They Push Your Buttons
We all know what it feels like to have our buttons pushed.
Something happens, that seems to take us over, every muscle
in our body tightens up and we turn into somebody no one
wants to be around.
Steve was in a rush to get to the store but someone else
took the parking space he had is eye on. His button had been
pushed. He was going to let the other driver know how mad he
made him and that he couldn't get away with taking his car
park space. Leaping out of the car he started waving his
fists and swearing at the other driver who was taken aback
In his anger, it didn't occur to Steve that the
other driver did not have a personal vendetta against him.
He had just been told his department at work was about to be
re-organized making him angry and fearful even before he
reached the store. The final straw was the other driver and
Steve allowed him to push a button which was ready to be
triggered by almost anything. Steve's reaction was an
immediate and emotional response, with little thought to the
As he got back in the car his stomach was tied up in knots,
his heart racing, he put his head in his clammy and sweaty
hands. A thought popped into his head, 'what was that all
about, I am so ashamed of my behavior'.
Changing Your Behavior
The more you know about what is likely to push your buttons,
the more you can anticipate your reaction and be ready with
simple tactics. Often something has happened just before you
started to become defensive. It is easy to blame others -
the boss, family, colleagues, the economy, debts; anyone but
ourselves. Many people recognise the warning signs that
trouble may be brewing. The problem is that most of us
rarely listen to them. Instead most of us choose to ignore
them, until we over react.
Warning signs that you might be susceptible to button
Extreme tiredness, inability to relax, difficulty in
sleeping, overactive mind, feeling very disconnected from
yourself and others
Waking up in the morning and wanting to go straight back
Worried about health, money or work
Anxious about specific issues
Easily distracted and having difficulty concentrating
What are your warning signs?
Recognizing these signs will help you to spot when your
buttons are more likely to be pushed, so you can do
something about it. When you feel one of your buttons being
pushed, pause and say nothing.
- if you feel angry, count to ten before you speak
- if you are boiling over count to a hundred
What may feel like hours, will probably last only a few
Begin with yourself
Most of us find it is hard enough to change ourselves. It is
even more difficult to change others. So if you're getting
stressed other people's actions, change how you react,
rather than expecting others to change. As you change, watch
people change around you!
Say No! Don't take on more than you can handle
Say 'no' to other people, especially when it will make your
life more stressful than you want. Take responsibility for
what you can and can't cope with. I know that when I start
to become short tempered, it is time to take a look at how
much I have on my plate. If I take on too much, I expect to
get everything done on time. The reality is that I often
don't manage this because I have placed excessive pressures
on myself, or allowed others to do so. I may shout at others
unnecessarily. I may react in this way because I feel that I
am out of control.
No one pushes our buttons like our children. You may want to
let them know how angry they are making you, so end up
yelling at them and giving a punishment that is totally
unrealistic. If you recognise that you are about to react,
keep your lips firmly sealed. Step away from the situation
for a while and think through your options. Go for a walk.
Just a 15 minutes walk is enough to unfreeze your brain so
you gain a different perspective.
This does not mean your child's behavior should be accepted.
You may still need to set limits on their behavior but
without yelling. Defuse your button and be the parent your
kids need. If you react irrationally, you cannot expect your
children to behave rationally and cooperatively.
Put yourself first
I have noticed that when I am calm and relaxed it is much
easier to deal with anything that life throws at me. To
become calm I have often needed to put myself first. If you
are relaxed you will recognize when someone is pushing your
buttons. When I'm tired or stressed, I'm more likely to
allow others to push my buttons, just like Steve. If you are
tired or stressed, you won't be alert enough to stop
yourself reacting to others.
Discover the power of laughter
If you get tense, the negative energy will increase. You
can't laugh and be angry at the same time. It's impossible!
As soon as you start laughing, the power of whatever is
making you feel uptight gets less. Don't take life so
seriously, everyone has challenges in their lives and so
Carolyn Matheson is a nationally recognized Coach,
Speaker and Author of "Yes to Less Stress."
Carolyn is a Master Certified Coach, and works with executives and their teams across the
world. She has pioneered an innovative approach to coaching,
combining many years of high performance coaching with a
holistic approach to work/life balance and has coached
hundreds of leaders and their teams. Her experience as a
presenter, both nationally and internationally, spans 20
years, with clients currently in Europe, Australia, the
Middle and Far East, and the USA.
Her book, Yes to Less Stress is
available online from www.areustressed.com">http://www.areustressed.com