Stress has a funny way of creeping up on you.
Last night, for example, we were at a school open evening with our eldest.
It was jam packed.
We queued to get into the car park. We queued to get into the school. We queued to get into the hall for the headteacher’s talk.
And with all the people, the hall was pretty hot too.
The headteacher talked for about 45 minutes, and the smaller children were, understandably, getting a little restless.
And then something odd happened.
I didn’t see what caused it, but two mums started having cross words with each other.
It seemed pretty muted at first.
But by the time the talk had ended, the two were nose to nose in the foyer, threatening to “take each other outside”.
We quickly slipped past them and went on with our tour, so I don’t know whether the posturing and facing off amounted to anything else.
But I do know this.
Unless they were bitter enemies beforehand, it’s unlikely that either of them came to the school with the intention of ending up like that.
But when emotions get high, we stop thinking straight. The red mist descends and we become blinded by our rage.
Or as neuroscientist, Joseph Le Doux, puts it: “Strong emotion makes you stupid.”
And if we are already stressed by other things, then something minor, like a busy school open evening, can be enough to push us to the tipping point.
If you’re carrying around more stress or anxiety than you need, then give me a call.
We can then deal with it safely inside my office, and you won’t need to take anyone outside.