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How to avoid drama

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Drama does not just walk into our lives. Either we create it, invite it, or associate with it. – Brandi L. Bates

Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

Drama is defined this way: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances. We all know someone who is good at bringing the drama (possibly including yourself).

Dramatic has to do with drama, and is defined as something intended to create an effect, often suddenly. This actually sums up how part of every human brain works. 

Dramatic stories

If you’re familiar with my coaching you know I often talk about stories. Your brain operates through story-lines. The sentences strung together in your mind create stories to explain how the world around you works and how you should emotionally react to it.

The brain is naturally dramatic. It uses thought to create a quick effect within your body so you can react to the environment. Without dramatic anticipation, we wouldn’t be the quick thinkers that have mastered survival as well as we have.

No more drama about the drama

So knowing this, that drama is something that occurs naturally in your brain, is it truly possible to avoid it? If you can control your thoughts I think you can, but the majority of us are not trained monks who are experts in mindfulness. BUT, and here’s the key, you don’t have to get dramatic about the drama.

Drama comes from the way a brain thinks about something. Imagine this: you say something to a friend that they misinterpret from the way you meant it. It hurts their feelings and they are vocal about it. But maybe they’re not vocal about it to you. They tell others in your friend group, and you find out about it through one of the friends.

There, in that moment, is an opportunity for the genesis of drama. It doesn’t matter that your friend misinterpreted your words, and it doesn’t matter that he/she told other friends about it.

Your reaction in this moment is what is going to create, or not create drama for you. You may think it’s only fair to react dramatically to the drama your friend created for him or herself. 

But do you want to created drama for yourself, or do you want to avoid it? The creation of drama solely depends on your thinking about the situation. You can have a moment of compassion that something you said was interpreted in a way you didn’t intend and take action to correct things, or you can get dramatic.

Compulsive drama

But what if drama is normal for you? What if you grew up in a dramatic household, and your brain is comfortable with drama, but because of this you feel like you create too much of it and can’t escape it, and it’s exhausting you. 

Drama compulsion is a real thing. Thinking sudden thoughts that create more volatile emotions to try and create a reaction isn’t that uncommon. We see it in kids all the time, and if a young adult was never given the tools to mature past those compulsive emotions, adulthood can be very dramatic.

If you are an adult that is compulsively dramatic, it’s OK. You have a healthy brain that just relies on creating quick reactions for survival. But if you want to minimize the drama you create in your life (yes, you are creating it, not other people or things) you have to learn how to control your thinking.

It’s a skill that can be enhanced greatly by meditation, mindfulness, therapy, and coaching. Becoming aware of your own thinking (otherwise known as sentences running through your head causing emotions) is the first step to becoming the master of your own thought.

The next time you have a dramatic outburst (whether externally or internally), once you’re able to pull yourself out of the story, recognize what that story was. What did your brain start thinking that created the drama?  

Understanding through coaching

As a coach, my job is to help you see the stories. My job is to help you see the sentences in your brain that quickly fire off before you can exert conscious control, so you can not only see what those sentences are creating for you, but also determine if you want to change them.

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