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How to Calm Down Quickly

By Joey Havens

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We saw quite the spectacle on the third day of our fly fishing escapade on the mighty Missouri River. Two revelers, clearly having started their party brightly and early, were making quite the ruckus on the boat ramp. One of our newfound friends was clutching an almost empty wine bottle as if it were a trophy, belting out a chant that soon had me chuckling:

“Throwing a fit, throwing a fit, won’t change sh–.”

At 9 a.m., it was a touch early for such party antics, but it did provide a great laugh to start the day. With their chant echoing in my ears, we launched our boat into another gusty day — the wind seemed to be our constant companion on this trip. As a fly fishing novice, the wind was about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine, but that silly chant? That opened my eyes to life in general.

Every time the wind blew my cast off track, I found myself humming, “Throwing a fit, throwing a fit, won’t change….,” and laughter would bubble up instead of frustration. It was a strangely effective mantra. It got me thinking about how often we waste energy on anger that does nothing to improve our circumstances. In fact, it often makes them worse. We’ve all seen relationships strained by bursts of anger, haven’t we?

Now, I’m not suggesting we all start chanting this mantra at our next team meeting (although that would certainly be memorable!). But there’s an important leadership lesson nestled in there. When we’re faced with roadblocks, getting mad won’t change our situation. We need to breathe, slow down, and then figure out how to navigate around it. What do we control in this situation? Our attitude, for sure! Throwing a fit? Nah. Let’s throw ourselves into finding a solution.

I was reminded of that when I blew my top about my missing fishing tackle. In the throes of panic, I forgot that getting angry wouldn’t resolve anything. But CeCe’s patience reminded me that laughter and understanding are always a better approach.

What’s your mantra to calm yourself down?

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