“No! Are you kidding?”
“You won’t believe what happened!”
“What is wrong with everyone?”
Your daily refrains. As your blood pressure creeps on up.
While you may love going to the theatre, you don’t want your life to always be on stage. It becomes exhausting. And you’re aching to get past the drama. You long to enjoy your days but you feel blasted by bad news.
How can you feel less at the mercy of your moods? Can you take a different part or write a new ending to this play your life seems to have become?
Let’s look at what’s happening and find a few strategies to turn the dramatic heat down.
Why are you often the center of drama anyway?
You feel things deeply. Always have done. It’s natural for you to respond strongly.
And sure, you overreact on a bad day.
But people always come to you first with the gossip, the news bulletin, the headlines. Which makes you the center of the action (and fun?). It seems like drama follows you around. Until you’re so wound up it’s hard to even sleep.
When you’re at the center of the action in different areas of your life, the question has to come up, “Is it me?”
Maybe…Here’s where you might need to take stock.
If you’re over the high-intensity life, it’s time to rethink your role.
Getting a grip on your cues
When you’re ready for change, the first step’s always awareness. Learning what sets off the drama. Seeing your part in it.
Is it a certain person? How does the conversation start? Is it you who feeds the fire?
Does it provide some action in what is otherwise a boring day?
To get clear on these triggers, journaling helps. You investigate — a detective looking for clues. Think about the scene later. Write down the point when the temperature rose and feelings escalated.
When and where? At the end of a long day? After an interminable meeting? At the water cooler? Getting clarity gives you control. It helps set you up for the future. So you’re not in reaction mode.
Tomorrow, you’ll see it coming.
Ah yes, right after listening to the news. The moment you ask your colleague how they are. As soon as a certain name comes up.
Notice how you lean in, your voices lower, and you ask for more details? You stoke the flames with your curious questions. You just need to know.
More interest. More outrage. More waste of time and energy.
That’s the point when you find it hard to get back to work. All the simmering inside distracts you. The room’s hotter and your face is harder. You’ve done it again. You’ve succumbed to the drama.
But you don’t want to anymore.
Anticipating the cues puts you in the driver’s seat.
Assuming the director role
How could you play the scene differently next time?
You could always be busy when the bearer of bad news drops in. Take your coffee break outside in the fresh air. Lead with your own whacky story. Tell a new joke.
Change your tone of voice. Smile before you speak. Walk across the room and take five before responding. Close your eyes and breathe.
There may be a “prop” you pick up that instantly calms you. A cup of tea. Another “actor” to bring in who can’t help but see the absurd side. Defuses it all instantly.
See how when you become the “director,” you’re in charge of how the scene plays out. You decide where things will heat up, when the climax comes, and when it’s all resolved.
If you watch sitcom dramas with a keen eye, you’ll start to see the cues and the consequences. How things can turn to tragedy quickly. How clever comedy is. You’ll spot your own dramas and some alternate realities you can direct.
Like the one where you focus, finish, and leave your work early. Where you look forward to seeing colleagues and friends and feel inspired when you leave them. Where you start to own your day again. Where you sleep soundly and your doctor suggests you keep doing whatever it is you’ve started.
Drama is waiting to happen everywhere. As Shakespeare says, all the world’s a stage. Then he adds,
“And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances;”
Yes. We come and we go from the stage. It’s up to you which rollercoaster you go on. Which role you choose. Center stage, bit part, or director.
Enjoy being in the wings
Imagine a day free of overblown drama.
You have time and energy for what you want to achieve. Other people’s issues aren’t your concern. Having ditched the drama, you move on with your life and it feels liberating.
Leaving the stage is a change for any actor. No longer bathed in the spotlight. But you now view the directing role as a move up in the world. Likely to bring you better reviews. And lower stress levels. A new point of view on drama.
When that tired old cue arrives and you know a scene is brewing, why not nab the director’s chair next time?
Life may turn into the light-hearted play you find worth watching.