The other day I was late for an important meeting at work. Traffic was absolutely ridiculous and my blood pressure was soaring. I look over to the person in the car next to me and they weren’t nearly as upset as me. In fact, they were singing to the radio! Yet we are both in the same situation and yet our reactions are totally different. Why? Because of how we choose to react.
We can choose how we react to any situation, even if we can’t control anything about what is happening. That’s a hard mental pill to swallow, but an effective one in reducing anger, fear and frustration. Just like any skill, abilities are based off practice and natural tendencies. However, even if you tend to get upset easily, you still can improve the emotional control you have over yourself.
For example, maybe you’re working on a project and you can’t get the support that you need from others in the group. There may be little you can do to change that, but you definitely have complete control over how you choose to react to this reality. Even when things get ugly, you still can choose how to feel and react.
Some of you may be familiar with the phrase from “The Serenity Prayer” about being granted the “courage to change the things I can.” Well, one thing you can always change and control, is how you react to something. I definitely don’t have perfect control of how I react and feel about negative things in my life, but I do try my best to make better choices about how I react.
I’ve improved how I react and feel towards things by being ready for surprises. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I travel a lot. Although I plan most of my trips and do everything I can to make sure nothing disturbs my plans, I still keep in mind that things could go wrong and things that are outside of my control such as weather, car problems, etc. That way if they do go wrong, I’ve already considered them and they don’t upset me as much. You can do the same by consistently planning for the unexpected.
How do you control your emotion during tough times?