Instead of listening to the same songs and talk shows on the radio over and over that can put me on edge before walking into work (NOT a good way to start the day anywhere, but especially not with EBD youth. That's just asking for it), I fished through my console for the CD's I bought at a mindfulness seminar last year with Mary NurrieStearns. I remembered that I liked her as a speaker, so I gave the CD a try to see if I could find anything at all helpful for that day. Oh, and I did.
Image courtesy of http://www.personaltransformation.com/cds.html
When you are facing an emotionally charged situation and feel yourself reacting, this is a way to avoid stuffing the feelings and thoughts down for them to come out in a side-ways or completely unrelated manner, as well as to deter your emotional reactivity from coming out in your actions.
For example, a child slams the door and comes charging out of the classroom for the fourth time this hour, stomping into another room swearing, throwing things and refusing to return to class. Immediately I feel strong emotions well up inside me. I could choose to ignore the emotions and push on, hoping they won't come out on the kid. I could choose to let my emotions impulsively lead my actions and do or say something that is the opposite of helpful or therapeutic, and probably pretty damaging to the child and our rapport. Instead, I am going to B.A.N. this experience.
By B.A.N.ning my emotional reactivity, it is less likely to come out in my actions or some other way down the line (including somatically or through burn-out). I have also once again practiced mindfulness. I am staying in the present, breathing to decrease my physiological response, allowing the emotions to continue to decrease my emotional response, and naming the situation to increase insight into why I might be feeling this way, what I may need, or what priorities I may need to adjust. After practicing this and understanding myself, I am also better able to practice empathy and gain understanding in what the other person is trying to communicate verbally or behaviorally.
Think of some situations in which trying to B.A.N. your emotional reactivity would have made a situation different, perhaps for the better. Then the next time you have an emotional reaction, pause and B.A.N. This has been so helpful to me that I have it taped to my lamp. Right next to the phone. Where I make all the intense phone calls after working all day. Believe me, it is necessary.