Emotion-Hacking Technique Transforms Caregiving Perspectives

By: Terri Hayes

Emotion-Hacking Technique Transforms Caregiving Perspectives 

A ‘caregiver’ typically conjures images of family members or professionals supporting a child or an adult in need. However, these boundaries can stretch much further. Consider this: if you’re a teacher, you’re a caregiver. The same goes for a boss or supervisor. In reality, most of us extend care and support to others in various capacities beyond ourselves. 

Recently, I picked up a valuable technique from Tony Robbins. It’s a method aimed at dialing down the intensity of emotions often labeled as negative. For caregivers, this approach holds immense significance as they frequently encounter these challenging emotions. 

The process involves identifying emotions that frequently arise and then devising alternative words to disrupt these patterns or reduce their intensity. One of the emotions I fall prey to more than I’d like is frustration. Tony suggests two substitutions for frustrated – “challenged” and “fascinated.”  

Just to spark some ideas, here are a few more examples many of us might relate to: 

Angry to Disenchanted 

Anxious to Expectant or A little concerned 

Depressed to Calm before action; Not on top of it; or On the road to a turn-around  

Disappointed to Underwhelmed or Delayed 

Fearful to Wonderment or Inquiring 

I hate to I prefer 

Irritated to Stimulated 

Overwhelmed to Maximized; Busy; In demand; or Many opportunities 

Stressed to Busy; Blessed; or Energized 

Terrible to Different 

Alright, I might have gone a bit overboard on “a few,” but there’s a wealth of options! Feel free to experiment with different words that personally resonate with you. 

I implemented this technique while caring for my beloved mother who battled with dementia. There were moments when navigating her unpredictable behaviors due to this relentless disease felt challenging. However, as I replaced frustration with a genuine sense of curious fascination, I witnessed a remarkable shift in my own approach and internal state. I’m certain this shift also lightened the atmosphere in the room. 

How might reframing various emotions, from frustration to disappointment, anxiety to feeling overwhelmed, empower you in your caregiving roles or everyday interactions? As always, grace us with your comments below! 

High Five! 

Please find more goodness at my website: https://www.outofsmallthings.com/ 

And more blog posts to share here: https://outofsmallthings.wixsite.com/blog 


Link in case it’s needed again: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/transform-your-words-in-4-steps/ 

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Triple Threat

By: Terri Hayes

I was first introduced to the term “triple threat” in the context of basketball. My coach taught me that when you get the ball, you have three options: pass, dribble, or shoot. As players become more skilled, they figure out the best move to make during every game moment. 

In our daily lives, we face a constant feed of diverse “balls” representing words from others. These might come in the form of a critical review from a boss or colleague, an unwelcome label, a sharp remark, or a harsh judgment. They’re all part of the mix, challenging us in various ways. 

We have triple threat options with every “ball” we are thrown in the form of words. So, someone “throws” us words. Begin by thoughtfully evaluating those words for accuracy, seeking out any elements of truth. This isn’t about casting shame upon oneself, but rather approaching it with honesty and curiosity. Then go to the “triple threat” options: 

#1 –If you find there’s validity in what’s been said, one avenue to explore is making adjustments. Consider how you might navigate this in the future or what present practices could be refined to bolster your skills in handling similar situations. 

#2 – If you find there is truth in the words, choose to refrain from immediate action. There’s no shame in opting to postpone addressing an issue if your reasons for doing so align with your values. Personally, and I’m sure many can relate, an extensive list of improvements can become overwhelming, hindering progress on any one item. Therefore, sometimes I opt to postpone a change until I can give it the focused attention it deserves. 

#3 – Should you determine it doesn’t align with the truth, simply let the person hold their perception of you. This approach has truly transformed things for me. It’s not always easy. Our natural inclination is to attempt to convince others differently when they misunderstand us or our intentions. This often expends energy in an unproductive way. Occasionally, there are instances where clarification is necessary, but in most cases, simply acknowledging the other person might lack the full context or information suffices. It’s a kind gesture to grant them the space to hold an incorrect belief. Understanding our own intentions, nature, and inherent goodness, allows us to be compassionate towards others who might not see things as we do, releasing the need to rectify their perceptions. 

The short version of our options when someone throws us sentences: There are truths, make adjustments; there are truths, don’t make adjustments; there are no truths – allow the other person to be mistaken about you or your intentions.  

Similar to adept athletes who review game footage for learning—not for dwelling or self-deprecation—we, too, can grow. Now equipped with options for every incoming thought, you’re empowered. This is your opportunity to respond proactively and extract wisdom from them. Perfection isn’t the goal; it’s about polishing your skills through every encounter. 

High Five! 

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High Five! 

By: Terri Hayes

I use the term “High Five” quite often. This dates me a little because “High Fives” preceded the fist-bump, but to me, a High Five sparks much more “good job” than a fist-bump.  

I was a tomboy growing up… I still identify with that label and wear it proudly. I played sports my whole life and High Fives were used in abundance throughout those competitive years.  

But here’s where we’re going to apply High Five to life. All too often as humans, we tend to focus on the negative. There have been studies proving this is the natural inclination, but I’m not going to get into the social science today, just trust me (or go look it up).  

We notice all the things we’re doing wrong or could improve on. We beat ourselves up over not being a better spouse, parent, child, sibling, athlete, artist, dancer, friend, Christian, [insert your self-abuse equivalency here]. When we focus so much on what we’re not, we miss out on all we ARE!  

I had a client who was so committed to self-improvement that she had concocted a brilliant plan. It was pretty much the financial debt snowball concept, only with perceived weaknesses. Initially it seemed like a great plan. She had already figured out that trying to work on too many “weaknesses” at once usually results in overwhelm and slow progress. The idea was to focus on one weakness and overcome it to a satisfactory degree. Once she felt good about the progress made there, the momentum could then be used to tackle the next taxing perceived weakness. Probably a perceived weakness that was more challenging (the bigger debt) than the previous. But since the “conquered weakness” was out of the way, there was more energy to be applied to the next weakness challenge.  

The debt snowball is a great tool for getting out of financial debt, but a tool that works well in one application isn’t necessarily ideal in another. I have an alternative idea I feel is much more effective in this scenario.  

We get whatever we focus on in life. If we keep focusing on what we don’t want, we’ll have more of it. The first step to creating any change is deciding what you DO want so you have something to move toward.  

My challenge to her, to me, and to you is this. Take one week off from overcoming all perceived weaknesses. I know it will be hard but try not to even look at them! They are going in time-out for a week! Instead, focus on your awesomeness and the good things you do. They don’t have to be big things! They can be, but if you look for both, even the most minute things, you can find a LOT!  

You didn’t make the snarky comment when you really wanted to. Give yourself a High Five! 

You got right out of bed and didn’t hit the snooze. Give yourself a High Five! 

You did a favor for someone. Give yourself a High Five! 

You told someone kindly you couldn’t do a favor. Give yourself a High Five! 

You smiled at someone today. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my body. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my personality. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my living situation. Give yourself a High Five! 

I appreciate _____________ about myself. Give yourself a High Five! 

I changed the toilet paper roll. Give yourself a High Five! 

I texted someone just so they knew I was thinking about them. Give yourself a High Five! 

I took two extra seconds to look someone in the eye with love. Give yourself a High Five! 

I am __________________ [fill in with favorable attribute]. Give yourself a High Five! 

I suggest the “I am [______favorable attribute________] at LEAST once a day.  

If you want to step it up a notch, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say your acknowledgement out loud to yourself and do a physical High Five to that remarkable person in the mirror.  

As you set your mind on a mission to notice the good you are and the good you do, and acknowledge those with a High Five, it may surprise you how many perceived weaknesses just kind of vanish or become much less important when you do!   

If you could use some support in focusing more on what you want in life, come visit my online home or schedule a session to explore the possibilities. 

High Five! 

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