Step Down Transformer

Posted on by David Kegley

In the work I do with clients in mediation, I often see people who find themselves caught in the voltage of escalating emotions. This can happen to anyone, no matter how well educated. Someone makes you angry, you feel a surge of energy and whether its verbal or by any other means, you want to react. It happens to all of us. But we can change that. We can become vigilant about our emotions, slow ourselves down and cause ourselves to be more thoughtful.

In electrical circuits there are step-up and step-down transformers. They’re designed to increase or decrease voltage for the needs a particular electrical output. In our human relations we often need to decrease the anxiety in our relational system. The secret is to sense when anxiousness (aggression, tension, blame, accusations, etc.) is coming our way. Then, to return such anxiety with a more calming or neutral response: one that comes more from the reasoning parts of our brain and that takes the edge off the anxiety.

Unfortunately, we’re often well-practiced in step-up transforming. So, it takes lots of steady practice to stop and think before reacting. It always helps to take some conscious, deep breaths. You can do this quietly and without others really knowing you are calming yourself. And you can ask for a few moments to step away and give yourself a chance to engage your thinking brain.

Create a daily practice of being a step-down transformer. Imagine that you are being confronted with a challenging situation. Then, begin to breath intentionally, ask yourself some questions to get your thinking brain engaged and watch yourself becoming calmer. Practice regularly and you’ll develop a new pattern that will begin to come naturally.

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