Every now and then I find myself in an emotional spiral. While complete and constant self-awareness will never come naturally to me, I have at times used a technique that helps me escape and reset. I’m sure there’s some long-known psychology term for this, but I call it my check out / check in method.

It looks something like this:

When I’m running too hot, I check out. I take a break from whatever is causing me stress. I check in with myself and try to figure out what’s going on. I try to figure out what I can do to make things better. Then I check back in and reengage with whatever I was trying to do.

I use a slight variation of this when my daughter starts to get too worked up. I’ll give her a huge hug and won’t let go until she’s calmed down. I’ve weathered many tantrums, punches, and screams this way. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m calm or the fact that she knows I’m not going to let go until she’s calm, but it works.

That’s about it! It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s a tool that I’ve found helpful. I hope you do too.