There are very few people in the world who welcome criticism. Those that do understand how to take it in, receive it, and focus on the positive aspects. Giving and taking criticism are difficult because we bring our own interpretation to what the person is saying, or what they mean by what they are saying. It can often lead to conflict as it evokes strong emotions including anger and anxiety. Find out how you can stay cool and collected when you are on either the giving or receiving end of criticism.
When criticism is lobbed your way, the best thing to do is let it roll off your back. Your arousal system will likely want to kick up, intensifying the body’s response to the point it disrupts critical thinking abilities. If you don’t check your arousal system at the door, you can literally lose your mind (for a moment) and derail the conversation quickly. If you are on the receiving end, it helps to keep relaxed and breathe. Take a breath in, breathe out. Release any defensive posture and open your ears to hear what the other person is saying before responding.
Know Your Body
The body is going to go into a fight-or-flight response mode. The physiological response will kick up and you will feel yourself quickly unraveling if you don’t check it. When you are able to make a conscious intervention to calm yourself down, you can evaluate the criticism you received or the response given when you offered criticism. Monitor your ability to rest, relax, and enjoy peace. When you are at peace, your breathing is slow, your heart rate is low, and you feel more calm. That is how you need to respond when criticism comes your way. You can do this by tapping into your body’s ability to breathe slowly in and out for ten seconds. Just doing this can lower the body’s arousal response immensely, giving you needed space to respond or react more appropriately. Nobody is perfect and you will likely not always be able to stop yourself from lashing out or acting on an impulse. The goal is to take little steps to get better everyday so you can learn how to better manage your responses to daily triggers in life when someone upsets you or says something you don’t like.
The best way to work on building a positive response muscle is by developing relaxation techniques. A relaxation exercise can be practiced for ten days to start building a habit in the body. Start with:
- Tense-relax procedure: tighten, then relax the different body muscles. Start with calf muscles, work your way up to thighs, stomach, shoulders, neck and forehead. Tighten them for thirty seconds, then release. Then, your body will enter into a state of relaxation when you release.
- Find a quiet environment if possible.
- Be in a comfortable position.
- Bring a mental image to mind that brings peaceful thoughts and feelings.
- Explore a passive attitude and just let it be what it is
It can take some practice and determination to build a peaceful response system to criticism but it is possible. Once you tackle this, you will find yourself more at peace generally in the world and able to handle whatever comes your way with a more positive attitude.
Sound Recovery helps you get present in the moment with our programs, services and resources. We are here to guide you through the steps to recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, let us help. Call us at 561-277-3088 to get started.