Are You at the Mercy of Negative Feelings?
When was the last time you got upset about something? How did you handle it? How did it feel and for how long did it feel that way? If your upset lasted longer than 45 minutes to an hour, you might want to reevaluate your commitment to yourself.
Self-commitment means many things. For our purposes, I’m simplifying to the following
One – You are aware that you have a choice about how you feel and
Two – You are developing the discipline to stop the story you’re telling yourself and look for a thought or area of focus that brings some relief from your state of upset.
Events appear to dictate your feelings
If you receive a letter from the IRS that fires up your brain’s fight or flight mechanism and adrenaline floods your body you will have the sensation of being on high-alert until the chemical in your bloodstream subsides. During this time your mind will want to spin a tale of doom and destruction to match the sensation of risk caused by adrenaline and other hormones in your system. Despite the physical reality your body presents, you still have a choice of how you feel. Use, mindfulness and whatever tools you have learned to keep bringing your thoughts back to a stable and calm place, it is a choice. In other words, the choice of how you feel is a moment-to-moment activity, not a one and done deal.
Self-commitment is a moment-to-moment choice.
We all have emotional triggers and past references points that can cause a reaction or emotional turmoil unexpectedly. The key is recognizing when this is occurring and making a choice to shift your attention away from the upset and back to a calm place through focus. Our habitual stories are very seductive, you may have a story of powerlessness, being victimized, or perhaps abandonment and the pull of that familiar emotional state can be difficult to ignore even when you know it’s not happening right now! If you meditate, you are familiar with how the mind wanders off into some future or past scenario and that you bring it back through your focus on breath or some other sensation. This same premise provides a means of empowerment during emotional intensity. Notice what you were thinking moments before the upset. Once you identify the thought you can diffuse the situation through choosing to reframe your interpretation or by shifting to another topic. This is not about ignoring issues, it’s about improving your experience by establishing stability.
If you have not seen my quiz, you may want to check it out. At the end, there are three questions about commitment which might give you some insight into your desire or motivation for change. Consider a complimentary follow-up check-in with me after taking the quiz.