Personal Happiness and Wellbeing

Eat Your Popcorn: 3 Steps to Dialing Down the Drama

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By Denise Hanlin Springer

Taking on Drama:

Have you ever found yourself knee-deep in someone else’s drama? Ever allowed their problems to affect you so much that you end up carrying their issues in YOUR tissues? Yeah, me too.

A friend tells you about an emotionally-charged problem she’s having, and you get upset about it. Family members get into an argument about something minor, and it affects your mood. It’s just how it goes, right? Not necessarily.

I’ve found an easy way to keep from absorbing drama from someone who is having a difficult time while still staying connected and involved with them. It allows you to preserve your peace and happiness and puts you in a position to more effectively be a support. I call it Eat Your Popcorn. Here’s how it works…

A friend or loved one expresses great anxiety, anger, shame or sadness about a situation he or she is experiencing. You can get sucked in or you can proceed with these three steps:

Eating Your Popcorn:

Step One

As soon as you sense negative energy in the story, recognize that you have a decision to make. You can “mood-match” and adopt the emotions of the story teller, or you can create a protective emotional buffer around yourself.

Step Two

Should you decide to create that buffer (and I highly recommend that you do), simply watch the situation unfold as though you were viewing a movie with a big tub of popcorn in your lap. Sit back. Watch. Listen intently and compassionately. Allow the story to unfold, saying little or nothing for as long as you can. Giving the gift of deep listening keeps you from taking on drama that is not your own and gives the speaker a chance to vent and process things more effectively.

Step Three

Compassionately connect with the author of the story while you let that buffer protect your energy. As a responsible movie-going audience member, do not take the problem on as your own. Instead, be a popcorn-eating observer. With your calm intact, you are now in a better position to comfort or advise than if you had gotten swept up in the emotional storm.

When to Eat Your Popcorn:

Eat Your Popcorn when loved ones are upset with significant others, when parents worry incessantly about their kids, when friends feud, when people in your presence are verbally sparring….in short, whenever others bring their difficult emotions to your space. Most of all, Eat Your Popcorn when your ego tells stories about emotionally-charged events in your own life.

The light, airy, fluffy buffer you create for yourself allows you to see most every situation with more clarity and less unnecessary emotion. Bon appetit!

January 27, 2018 | Denise Hanlin Springer

Denise Springer is owner/instructor at You Power Yoga in Edmond, OK. Want a little extra help managing life’s dramatic twists and turns? Join us at You Power Yoga, where we practice that skill every day. First class is FREE!

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