“The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool” Lecture Notes

The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool


Notes, Ideas and Food For Thought


What sorts of things might cause you to “stress out?” 

Deadlines?  Rude people?  Money worries?  Too much to do?  Making a mistake?  Running late?  GPS malfunctioning?

And, what sorts of “stimuli” might cause you to “lose your cool?” 

Feeling disrespected, ignored, insulted, misunderstood?  Being told “what to do?”  A driver cuts you off?   Unfairness?


“Stressing Out” – suffering from high levels of worry, tension or anxiety.

“Losing Your Cool” – ranting, raving, yelling, raging, throwing a tantrum, snapping, having a meltdown.

“Keeping Your Cool” – staying calm, making rational choices, responding instead of reacting.


REACT                                                    RESPOND

Unaware of behavior and impact        Choose behavior and impact

Emotionally volatile, irrational            Emotionally adult, rational

Out of control                                          In control

“I’m a victim of circumstance!”             “This is a challenge that I will meet!”


Stress is the body’s response to a threat (real or imagined).  It is a biochemical reaction within the body.

Stressors are things (people, events, places) that an individual perceives or interprets as a threat.  Stressors differ from person to person.  For example, the same event or stimulus that causes a stress response in one person, might create a positive or exciting response in another.

The “Stress Response” and INVOLUNTARY RESPONSES are triggered by structures in the limbic system.

We react inappropriately.  We “flinch.”  We might rage or “snap” if the trigger hits an extra-sensitive point.


When our brain interprets a signal that comes through our senses as threatening, a series of reactions (the stress response) are set off, and the body prepares itself for danger.  Flight, fight, freeze or flee.  Humans share this with other animals.

It’s programmed into our genes.  The stress response prepared early humans for actual physical dangers.


“TRIGGERS” — events, circumstances, communications, interactions, words, etc.;  that cause a reaction —

sometimes, a disproportionally dramatic one.  Can be positive or negative, mild or intense.


• We can possibly eliminate, or reduce, the cause or source of stress.

(Reduce choices.  Clear clutter.  Be better organized.  Change your environment.  Modify behavior.  Be prepared!)

• Or, we can change our interpretation of, and reaction to, the stress-triggering event or source.

Cognitive appraisal – we define, we frame, we interpret.  Crisis, threat, challenge, or nothing much?

Cognitive distortions – “awfulizing,” “catastrophising,” distorted threat perceptions — “mountains out of molehills.”


Learn to challenge or dispute the accuracy of your own thoughts and assumptions.



Brains work differently when we feel “threatened” by a problem … or “challenged” to find a solution!

Guess which one is more efficient and resourceful?


©2016 Jerry Posner  •  http://www.jerryposner.com  •  jerryposner@icloud.com  • Blog: http://www.jerryposner.wordpress.com


A Program Suggestion for Your Business or Organization…

The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool

Available as a lecture or workshop.

In all aspects of customer service (as well as every other relationships), the ability to keep a positive mood is vitally important!  Understanding the science behind stress, anger and rage reactions can help us in a multitude of ways – in business and otherwise.

This lecture or workshop will help you understand “stress triggers” and “anger triggers” in your customers, staff … and yourself!  And, you’ll learn to use some rational, practical tools, techniques and strategies for successfully managing them.

Since “one size does not fit all” – you’ll be offered an “all-you-can-eat buffet” of relevant information, life-changing practices and really good ideas!  Even just one good idea APPLIED, can make for a meaningful improvement in work life and personal life.

Some topics include:

  • Good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress) – what are the causes?
  • Managing your own stress responses.
  • React or respond?  Challenges or threats?
  • Basic neuroscience you need to know.
  • How long does it take to make and break habits?
  • Cognitive appraisal and cognitive distortions.
  • Fixed and growth mindsets.
  • Can multitasking cause stress?
  • What to do when your customer is angry.
  • Service recovery the right ways.

Your instructor:  Jerry Posner is an accomplished training specialist, conference speaker, author and ukulele player!  For more than 25 years, he’s presented engaging and entertaining workshops and programs for a wide variety of clients, locally and nationally.  He is considered an expert in the fields of self-improvement, customer service, leadership, communication skills, and as he says, “ways to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes at work … and in life!”

Jerry is also a popular lecturer at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, having presented over 1,800 inspirational, motivational lectures for their guests since 1993.  His books, “Attention Late Bloomers: You’re Right On Time!” and “Eternal Cosmic Wisdom at Bargain Basement Prices” are available on Amazon.com.

Raised in Northern New Jersey, he attended Emerson College in Boston, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Jerry lives in Sheffield, with his wife Lynne and their canine companions, Maxwell and Grace.


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