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My sister stole my favorite Beatles t-shirt. I just want to scream and hit her. What can I do to get it back?

Dear Kind Soul-

That is quite frustrating when someone steals something you love, isn't it? Here's the thing; you don't want to hit her and scream. I mean, I know you Want to, but I really wouldn't recommend it. Why? She won't give you back your shirt if you hit her and scream. 

First off, some background. Your desire to hit her and scream might be a result of your reptilian brain kicking into action. A reptilian brain? Yes, you actually have three brains, not one (but that's a post for another time). Your reptilian brain controls your body's vital functions, including your heart rate, breathing and body temperature. It's also in charge of your survival. When your reptilian brain is triggered-as it appears to have when your sister stole your shirt-your body's hardwired programming tells you to fight, flee or freeze. In this case, you wanted to fight.

What is important is for you to give your reptile brain some time to cool down. I would suggest engaging in another activity for at least an hour. After this time period, you might be ready to choose how to act in the situation rather than to react. When you are calmer, it is best to use an assertive statement with your sister. I might try something like, "I felt angry when you took my Beatles shirt because that is my favorite shirt and it has sentimental value for me. I want you to give it back to me, please." 

If that doesn't work, I would just go into her room when she's not around and take it!

Breathe and relax.