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Section 23
Domineering Resident Technique #8
How to "Center" After Dealing with a Domineering Resident - Part 1 of 2

Table of Contents | NCCAP/NCTRC CE Booklet

Centering yourself is extremely important especially before, during, and/or after dealing with a Domineering Resident. By centering yourself before dealing with your Domineering Resident, you approach your Hester in a calm, professional, matter-of-fact manner.  By applying a breathing technique during your encounter with a Domineering Resident, you stay calm, keep your cool, and think clearly.  By applying centering after a stressful encounter with your Domineering Resident, you release the spill-over effect of the stressful situation into other situations in the facility and at home.  Interested?  But you may ask, "What exactly is centering? I've heard of it but am not sure exactly what it is."

Centering works by getting you to shift from your left, logical, brain to your right, emotional, brain— or from words and instructions to images and sensations; from negative, paralyzing analysis to positive action.

It’s not rocket science; absolutely anyone can do it. With one or two practice sessions, anyone can make the shift into calm, in a matter of seconds.

Centering starts with abdominal breathing.  If you are not familiar with abdominal breathing here is how it works.
1. Breathe slowly in through the nose.
2. Let the air fill up your belly so your belly/stomach rises—without your chest moving.
3. Breathe out through your mouth, consciously keeping the exhale slow and even.

Centering Step 1: Statement of your intent or highest visualized outcome.
What is it you intend once you start to feel centered or calm? Determine exactly what you want to accomplish as soon as you feel centered or calm. Focus on one action, one purpose, one goal.  Right now, since you’re just getting started, your goal might be to learn how to center, so you might say, “I’m going to learn how to center.”

But after you get started—if you are walking into a meeting with your Corporate Consultant, for instance—then your intent or best or ideal presentation of yourself might be, “I’m going to speak calmly, be organized, and get to the point quickly in a professional manner.”

If you were headed into a Women's Group to give a volunteer recruitment talk to convince the women to volunteer at your facility, your statement of your ideal perception by the group might be, “I am calm, confident, and professional with an important message worth hearing.”

Use assertive language, like “I will” or “I am” rather than the wishy-washy “Gee I hope to…  It would be great if…  Maybe… I think… Perhaps… Please help me… ” Don’t waffle; don’t muddy your intent, plan, or ideal visualized outcome with these qualifiers.  Stating, “I will calmly and factually tell Hester we are now having one Bingo game a week and not two,” is much better than, “I’m going to ask Hester if she thinks it's okay if we cancel the Tuesday Bingo, and I hope she does not complain to the Administrator!"

Eliminate the Negatives:  It is extremely important not to use “don’t.” Here is why I feel not using “don’t” is important.  Do you ever say to yourself… “don't fail, don't fall, don't be nervous, don't forget where you parked the car, don't forget to buy toilet paper,” etc.?  For reasons having to do with the way your subconscious receives instruction, the word "don't" does not communicate a clear intent, plan, or highest visualized outcome.  For example, “Don’t get Hester angry,” or “Don’t look vulnerable,” is an absolute to be avoided in your centering self-talk, because what your subconscious hears is “get Hester angry” and “look vulnerable.”  Instead using the word “don’t” in your self talk state to yourself something like, "I feel calm." and/or  "I look professional."

Centering Step 1: Statement of your intent or highest visualized outcome.
What is it you intend to do once you are starting to feel centered or calm?
“I’m going to learn how to center.”
Complete the following avoiding the use of words like “don’t, will not, do not want to” etc.  Write your intention or "highest visualized outcome" for your centering.

My intent is to (present myself in a calm manner)…

I am (professional)…

Journaling additional statements of intent or your "highest visualized outcome" may be beneficial.

Centering Step 2: Focus your energy:  After you have experienced abdominal breathing and made a statement of intent or highest visualized outcome, focus your energy.  Pick a focal point for your eyes while practicing getting centered.  Find something to fix your gaze upon that’s some distance away and below your eye level. Right now, that might be a piece of paper on the desktop, or a rug on the floor.  If you are sitting in your car in traffic, it might be a taillight of the car in front of you.  It happens that the more upward your eyes drift, the more actively you engage your left, logical brain.  If you recall your left brain controls words and instructions, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid.  Your right brain controls images and sensations.  This below eye-level, right-brain engaging focal point is where you’re going to direct the enormous energy that accompanied that stressful situation today with your Hester or another challenging person at work.

Centering Step 2: Focus your energy:

When and where will you try Centering?  What object low to the floor will you focus your eyes on and your negative energy into?

Centering Step 3: Breathe slowly. Now close your eyes. Breathe abdominally, as I just described. Feel your belly expand fully before your chest moves. It takes a little practice at first.  Pay attention to your breathing.  Inhale through your nose, breathe out through your mouth, slowly, slowing the exhalation so that it’s even. Do this breathing mindfully, by thinking about this process, until your breath is your main focus. Don’t worry if this takes a while. You are likely to have a lot of random thoughts rush in, including “Is this really worth the bother?” or “Am I doing this right?”  Just suspend disbelief for a while.  Remember you are practicing.  The more you practice, the easier it will get to focus on your breathing and pushing your negative feeling outside of yourself.

Centering Step 3: Breathe slowly.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.

Centering Step 4: Release tension. Muscle tension is one of the most crippling side effects of stress.  Agree?  Tense muscles are often related to the negative feedback syndrome of your self-critic mentioned previously. 

What is the "negative feedback syndrome?"  The more tense you are, the more poorly you per­form.
The more poorly you perform, the more tense you become.

With your eyes focused on the object in front of you, and continuing to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, scan your body for muscle tension. The tension spots are oftentimes your shoulders, neck, back, jaw, face, forearms, and hands.  Do a head-to-toe inventory.  Start with the top of your head.  Now move your attention down to your forehead, eyes, jaw, neck, shoulders, and so on.

Check each area per inhale.  When you find tension, consciously relax that muscle on the exhale.
Imagine you are literally venting the stress as you exhale out through your mouth.

It may take as many as ten to fifteen breaths, to begin to release whatever tension you have been stockpiling form your workday and dealing with a domineering resident or other stressful situation.

Centering Step 4: Release tension.  Now scan your body from head to toe and consciously release the tension.

To release tension from between your shoulder blades, for example, you might envision warm water like a shower washing over your back and draining tension away as the water slides down into the floor/earth/drain etc.   Steps 5-7 of this Centering technique are continued in the next Section.

Forward to Section 24
Back to Section 22

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