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Emotional essay

Thomas Gibson, star of the long-running CBS drama Criminal Minds. was recently fired following reports of an altercation with one of the show's writers.

The incident occurred while Gibson was directing an episode of the drama's upcoming 12th season and had a dispute with the hour's writer, who also happened to be on set. Insiders say they got into an argument and tempers on both sides flared, with Gibson said to have instinctively reacted to aggression and kicked the writer.

Gibson was initially suspended from the show for two weeks. But on Friday, the producers released a joint statement announcing that the actor/director had been dismissed from Criminal Minds. and that details for the character's exit would be addressed at a later time.

I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last 12 years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won't be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.

Of course, there's no way to know what really occurred on set without having been there. In a separate statement last Thursday, Gibson expressed regret for what he described as "creative differences on the set and a disagreement." At least one source close to the story described Gibson as "the most kindhearted family man," and "a great father" who "takes care of his mom and spends as much time with his kids as possible."

But that just further proves a simple fact that all of us need to remind ourselves of from time to time:

It only takes a single, overly emotional reaction to cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

We've all experienced a heated moment where emotions start to run high. It's easy to get carried away; we may not necessarily kick anyone, but all too often we say or do something that we later regret.

Of course, it's in these situations that it's especially difficult to remain in control. Few of us have the ability to pause and reflect on our actions in the thick of a volatile moment. So how do you keep yourself from overreacting?

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) can help. Put simply, EQ marks your ability to recognize and understand emotions, and then use that information to guide your decision making.

For example, try the following steps to help you deal effectively with anger:

It's not easy to identify when you're beginning to lose control of your emotions. but it's possible with practice.

For example, think about how you typically respond when you read an email that makes you angry. By identifying your own emotions and reactions. you become more mindful and can start to build control. Additionally, ask a friend or close colleague to help you recognize when you're getting emotional.

In time, you'll develop a strong awareness of your own emotions.

Once your emotions start running high, awareness no longer acts as a filter--we simply don't care anymore (at that moment).

Before doing or saying something that you'll surely regret, simply walk away.

As the American Psychological Association (APA) points out, deep breathing is one of the quickest ways to reduce the intensity of your anger. Try repeating a calming word or phrase, like "relax" or "take it easy."

Once you're away from the upsetting situation, focus your attention on something that will help you calm down. Watch something funny, listen to music, or do something else relaxing.

If possible, take a short walk and force yourself to think about something else (at least initially). The non-strenuous exercise can relieve the tension in your muscles and help you relax.

No one should be judged by a single mistake or reduced to a moment in time; however, that's often all it takes to cause serious damage to your career.

So, the next time you feel your blood start to boil, use these strategies to rein in your anger, increase your EQ, and keep everything under control.

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The opinions expressed here by Inccolumnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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