When you notice yourself responding to a situation with an extreme emotional reaction slow down and consider if you’ve had a snowballing effect occur.
What do I mean by a ‘snowballing effect’?
It is my way of describing when you have an extreme emotional reaction to something, that started some time back. It was triggered when you first felt the emotion.
Let me explain what I mean with an example. An hour before the incident in which you reacted in with an extreme emotional reaction something small occurred that you reacted to. Your angry was triggered when something wasn’t done the way you expected it to be. This is incident number one. Here your emotional snowball is very small.
Then half an hour afterwards, you knocked something and broke it. Your anger in that moment was a little more intense. The original situations emotion was built on and so your anger snowball got bigger.
When the third incident occurred, you receive a phone call tell you that you have to complete a task and it feels as though the time frame is too short for you, your anger erupts. You might yell at the person on the phone in an extreme way, much more than you would if you reacted without the others triggers occurring. You feel extreme intense emotion in that moment.
This is what I mean by the snowballing effect. The first incident was the equivalent of a small pea size snowball of emotion. The second incident had that snowball become the size of a tennis ball of emotion. The third incident grew the size of that snowball to be a basket ball of emotion. If you continue to build on your emotion, in my example anger without looking at it, then your snowball will be the size of a house before you know it.
Question your thinking from your first reaction
This is why it is valuable to notice at the first situation that you had an emotional reaction. It’s at that point that you can do something about it by questioning your thinking. This will stop the snowball effect. When the second incident occurs, whilst you might react it will not be in such an extreme way.
And, if you notice that you’re not able to stop and look at the first situation when it occurs, and you react at the second situation, then it’s still a good time to go back and consider that there may be two separate situations to look at and inquire into.