Circuit Breakers


Many of you are probably familiar with the concept of a circuit breaker.  It’s a safety device that shuts off the flow of electricity when the system senses something could be going wrong.  The effect is to save the electrical system from damage which can be potentially caused by overload or short circuit.
 
Did you know that the New York Stock Exchange has circuit breakers in place to halt trading when things get too volatile?  First implemented after the stock market crash of October 1987, they have been refined over the years to force a cooling-off period when trading occurs too quickly.  More info on this here.
  
It’s probably not surprising to learn that these safety measures have been triggered several times recently.  This should not be alarming; their effect was exactly as intended: trading was halted for a brief time, the markets adjusted to a high volume of activity, and then trading resumed.  The breakers don’t prevent the market from volatile swings, of course – we have seen incredible fluctuations recently – but they do help to maintain a level of order even amidst highly emotional trading.
 
Watching this occur has made me think about having a similar system in place for your personal financial life.  Do you have circuit breakers that help you stop and take a time out when emotions become overwhelming?
 
How do you know when your thoughts or emotions are overheated?
 
What can you do to regain a sense of balance and let things cool off?
 
If this is difficult to imagine, think about what you do when a circuit breaker trips in your house.  You probably stop what you are doing and take a moment to figure out what the problem is.  Then you likely go to the source, and you fix it.  Usually, it’s simple and orderly.  How can we take that same attitude towards our internal circuit breakers when we are triggered?
 
Could you take a step back and cool off for 15, 20, or 30 minutes?  What would that look like for you?  Perhaps taking a walk, playing with a pet, or listening to some great music?  Maybe just taking a big stretch and a few deep breaths?
 
It’s amazing how resilient we are when we give ourselves a moment to breathe.  If we give ourselves time and space, we may find ourselves better able to handle situations and prevent overload.
 
Keep breathing, my friends!