Character Chats

Recovering Your Composure

Lost your composure? Now what?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education. And we’ve developed this curriculum to meet the needs of our youngest students who are three or four, and our oldest student who is 85.

And this month we have been talking about composure, staying calm and in control of your feelings or your emotions. And we started the month by defining what that looked like. And then we talked about how we recognize it, what it looks like when you’re happy or you’re sad or excited or angry, and how it’s best to really truly define what you’re feeling rather than just saying, I’m upset, because that could be a multitude of different emotions underneath it all. And then last week we were talking about some strategies to help us stay calm and collected and keep our composure.

Losing your cool

This week we are now talking about what happens when you’ve lost it. Because, yeah, I’ve lost it a few times. Any parent will tell you that there are times that we will lose our composure. Kids will lose their composure. They will act out in ways that they shouldn’t have acted out. They will throw a temper tantrum when they shouldn’t. It just is part of being human. It is part of being human that we are going to lose our cool and we are going to lose it. So what do we do then? How do we bring ourselves back? What can we do after that?

Well, there’s some strategies involved. And the same strategies that you would use to try to keep your composure, you can use to regain your composure. If you’ve lost your cool, maybe you walk away for a moment, take a deep breath, resettle yourself, figure out what your next steps are now that you’ve lost your cool, right?

Fixing things

I remember when one of my kids was younger and they had really gotten super upset over how a project was going and they lost it, and they grabbed the paper they were working on and ripped it up and threw it to the floor, and then they stormed off. And my husband and I, we looked at each other. We were kind of not quite fully understanding what exactly just happened, but we knew that whatever it was, they were feeling huge feelings, and something had obviously frustrated them to the point of them acting out.

So, we gave them a few minutes to calm down and then one of us went up to their room, talked them through it, and helped them then rejoin their homework and work on that project again. And we were like, “Okay, you ripped it up. How are we going to make this right?” And they looked at it and they were like, “Well, I don’t have another one.” I’m like, “So we have two choices. We can tape it or we can put it on a piece of notebook paper and just show your teacher.” And they were like, “Let’s just write it on a piece of notebook paper.” So then they had ownership of how they were making it correct. They had ownership of what they were doing to then make amends and fix the problem.


Very similar to how do you keep your composure when you’re taking deep breaths? What else can I do? What strategies can I implement right now so that I don’t lose it? But when you have, what do we do? And then of course, we can give ourselves a timeout. At one point, one of my kids tried to put me in timeout and I think it backfired a little because I was excited to go and sit and be quiet for a moment. But we can give ourselves a timeout.

We can give ourselves a brain break. A lot of times there’s a negative connotation to a timeout. So call it a brain break. Call it a reset your feelings moment. Give it a fancy name and then everybody understands it.

I’m sorry

And then the one big piece is how do we actually make amends? We have to actually apologize if our loss of composure has hurt someone else.

So we have to make sure that we are apologizing, that we are saying we’re sorry, what we’re sorry for, and what we’re going to do in the future to make things better. Because that is also part of regaining our composure, making amends, putting things back to the way they should be because apologies are powerful things, and we need to make sure that we’re using them and fully giving an apology. This is what I’m sorry for. This is what I will do to make it right. Will you forgive me? Can we move on? So having those different strategies in place will really help ourselves and others when we have lost our composure.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here. True Balance Karate is at 406 Ogden Ave Downers Grove Illinois, 60515 (next to CVS) Check out our Facebook!