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Stress Management - Five Ways to Master Foot-in-Mouth Stress

Ilenya Marrin

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Foot in Mouth Stress?

How many times have you popped a thought out of your mouth before it really registered in your mind?  And then you beat yourself up about your poor communication, and spent hours or maybe days repairing the stressful situation you created?

I certainly can relate!  Every now and then, I seem to function on auto-pilot and say the dumbest things.   I end up judging myself and needing to bring in all my stress reduction tools to get myself back in balance and all my relationship tools to mend the damage I might have done with my ill-chosen words.   

Here are a few thoughts about how I've learned to (most of the time, thank goodness!) master the mind-mouth connection.   

1.   Listen to the other person.   Really listen.   If you are truly listening, you are in tune with the other person and will be less likely to open mouth and insert foot with one of those stressful faux-pas statements.

2.   Practice thinking and speaking kind, positive words.   Day in and day out, correct your mental self-talk when you “go negative. "  Talk to yourself inwardly about the positive possibilities in situations that stress you out.   When you open your mouth, focus on the positives and the potential solutions as much as possible.   If you habitually practice positive thoughts and words, even if you say something dumb, it might not be tooooooo stressful!

3.   Be quiet.   Do more listening than talking.   You can't contribute to a stressful situation when you keep your mouth shut.   

4.   Train yourself to pause - just a second or two will do - to monitor your thoughts before you open your mouth.   It's rather nice, and often avoids a stressful misstep in the conversation, when everyone turns for your answer and you allow that momentary hesitation before letting your words of wisdom pour forth!  

5.   Buy time for a more thoughtful response.   You can also say, “I'm still looking for the best way to say what I want to say, " or “I don't have a clear answer yet. "  Even a simple, “I'll have to think about it and get back to you, " can promote an atmosphere of respect and harmony.   Giving yourself time to think can help keep stress levels lower in the long run.

And if you want more practical and self-compassionate stress reduction tips, I invite you to sign up for my free newsletter, 17 Simple Stress Solutions, at and enjoy the many articles on my website.

Also check out my articles on success, less stress, and my Ask Dr. Ilenya advice column at my blog,

Dr. Ilenya Marrin is a personal peace consultant, inspirational speaker and author of ebooks The Power of Personal Peace: Reducing Stress by Loving Yourself from the Inside Out and 77 Loving Steps for Success.


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