You know what it’s like when you find yourself getting really wound up, frustrated and angry because of someone else’s behaviour?
It might be something simple and annoying like when you’re driving and someone cuts you up as they are overtaking.
Or perhaps a friend said something hurtful, or treated you really badly.
Maybe a colleague or family member has misplaced your trust and you feel cheated and let down.
Whatever the occasion that led up to it, the result is that you are left in a state that doesn’t feel good at all!
The thing about negative emotions is that nobody benefits – least of all you. In fact the opposite is true. Built-up anger, frustration and stress can lead to tension in your body, and even disease. It is well recognised that many common ailments are the result of negative emotions that we hold in the body.
It feels horrible and it’s harming us – probably much more than the situation that led to us feeling like that did in the first place.
But did it ever occur to you that you have a choice whether or not to be angry, or even hurt by someone else’s behaviour?
At this point, I can hear you saying,
“That’s not true! If someone treats me badly, of course I’m going to be angry!”
“If someone says something unkind, I’m bound to feel hurt.”
It’s a natural response and part of our defense mechanism.
But it is possible to respond in a different way.
A more Mindful way.
Mindfulness is about 3 key premises:
- Self awareness
- Living in the present.
When something happens that affects us in a negative way, a Mindful approach is to take a step back and view what just happened and how it is affecting us. If we stick with the example of being cut up by another driver, as we view what happened in a mindful way, maybe we notice that we are feeling very annoyed about it.
Or to use the example of a friend saying something unkind – as we mindfully step back from the situation we may notice that when the friend spoke in that way, we found ourselves feeling really hurt.
This is self-awareness.
We do this from a detached perspective, assessing the situation without appointing blame – either to ourselves or the other person. As if we are curiously looking on. We try not to blame the person for what was said, or ourselves for our response.
This is non-judgement.
And finally, we take some time to really be present.To be in the Now. Avoid going over the story in your mind, and stay for a moment with how you are feeling right now.
For example, ask yourself, “How am I managing this? Do I want or need to hold onto this anger… this frustration… this hurt (or whatever it is)? Am I ready to let it go?”
Stay with it for a short while. And when you are ready, consciously release the emotion. Let it go as you breathe out.
Visualise it disappearing until it is gone all together.
It does take a lot of practice. Sometimes we don’t want to let the emotion go. We feel justified in feeling angry or hurt or sad. But the longer we hold onto that destructive emotion, the more it has the potential to harm not only our physical health but our general state of well-being – to say nothing of the affect it has on those around us.
It is possible in this way to manage your emotions and keep yourself in a calm and stress-free place – regardless of what everyone around you is up to.
Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose, and potentially a huge amount to gain.
If you would like help in applying these principles to your own situation, please get in touch. I will help you decide the best way forward for you.
I look forward to hearing from you.