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Cat got your tongue? Well, good.

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I’m sitting here in my living room watching a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie (yes…I know the ending already), wishing I could have a glass of wine. However, I’m doing a green smoothie cleanse that is stripping any joy from my coffee and wine consumption for 10 days. 

Here’s the deal, though, holding off on things (I’m seriously debating if holding off on wine could EVER be a good thing) can be good and frankly, help save us from the consequences of saying exactly what’s on our mind.

This season of joy can get hard, right? At work, you have colleagues who are struggling personally and then bring their baggage with them to the office. We all have burdens we are carrying, and the holidays definitely exacerbate things. 

Feelings are amplified…anxiety is ever-present. The struggle is real, ya’ll.

At home, my kids are literally bouncing off the walls so excited for a week off at Thanksgiving. Emotions are riding high, and it’s so hard to keep the juggling act going for days and weeks on end. 

And, to boot…I’m tired. 

Nope. I’m exhausted. 

This talk of “holding off” or biting your tongue can be super hard when your nerves are shot. How do we do it? How do you bite your tongue when it’s so hard to keep your cool?

Let me first say that I’m a tell-it-how-it-is kind of girl. My mom would tell you I’ve always been vocal about…well, just about everything. It’s how I’m hard-wired. If I have something to say to someone, I say it. 

So, being the kind of girl who typically doesn’t have trouble saying what’s on my mind…it’s RARE that I have to bite my tongue. Frankly, it should be rare for you too. 

That being said, I also know that when we get upset, the amygdala in our brain (otherwise known as the lizard brain) takes over and fight, flight or freeze becomes the primary driver. It’s been scientifically proven that it can take upwards of 30 minutes to calm down once your amygdala has been triggered. 

When you’re not processing thoughts with your prefrontal cortex and don’t have logical and rational thinking occurring, you can get into trouble. In other words, get ready. If you can’t bite your tongue, you may wind up with a lump of coal in your stocking…or worse.

Furthermore, I have no doubt that during this festive yet stressful season, our amygdala is in full swing. So, here’s a few thoughts about when you should bite that tongue….

1. Bite your tongue when you’re angry or upset. Walk away. Take a breather. Do what you need to do to take a break and regroup. It won’t do you or anyone else any good to say what’s on your mind when you’re in the mood to kick your trash can.

2. If you don’t have anything helpful to say, then bite your tongue. My mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” 

I also have to add that if you can’t offer solutions to problems (and just want to complain), that doesn’t help anyone either. Be a solution provider – not a whiner. In this world of adulting, if you don’t have something productive to say or offer, just do yourself a favor and please…don’t say it.

3. As the holidays approach us…and all the fun office parties too…be mindful of your alcohol consumption. You’ve heard this before, but let me repeat: getting drunk at office parties is often a recipe for disaster. 

Alcohol triggers all sorts of destructive comments that could wind up getting you fired. I know we’ve all heard horror stories (or witnessed personally) about those liquored-up-colleagues we see having a REALLY good time and think, “holy lord…they need to STOP.” So, just don’t do it. Control yourself at the office party, and you’ll thank yourself later for doing so. 

4. Bite your tongue when others start to gossip…and then walk away from it.  This has bad written all over it. Don’t be THAT person. It never ends well.

There you have it…my two cents for when it’s a good thing to bite your tongue. Have a fabulous week…and more to come next week!

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