Six Steps To Controlling Your Emotions - Step 6

How can we make every emotional episode in our lives into a helpful, constructive, forward- thinking event? The last five steps demonstrated how this can be accomplished, but you might be wondering, how long should the process take? And can we ever conceive a time when we won’t have to go through emotional upheavals at all? 

Step 6 - Reaction: A Newer, Healthier Response!


When I teach people how to manipulate their own negative energy and tendencies (Positive Manipulation), I am always amazed at how fast their “Reaction Time” becomes. If you are a racing fan, you will have heard this term before, but for those of you who have never visited a ¼ mile race track; this phrase refers to the time it takes for a car to leave the starting line after the green “go” light appears. In life, I describe it as the time it takes for us to manipulate something that makes us feel “bad” into something positive that makes us feel good. Getting a very short Reaction Time is crucial to winning a drag race. In fact, car enthusiasts would concur that many races are won and lost at the starting line. The time it takes a driver to react to the lights, or in racing terms, “the tree” is his or her asset or deficit and it takes practice to become skilled at it. The same analogy can be used to describe the six steps, and if you want to consider negative emotions as an opponent, then we are very much in a race against time. The truth is we are challenged continuously just living a normal life. There is a never ending stream of negative activity, energy, and events coming at us each and every day. Add in the daily changes our bodies undergo, bio-chemistry, and mental stress, and then ask yourself, does anyone stand a chance at being calm 100% of the time? Can we expect one day to never have issues to deal with? Never encountering a bad mood or emotional episode is not realistic, but how we handle both is something that can change. The good news is, the more we practice manipulating out of negativity, the quicker our Reaction Time gets.

When I started my own manipulation process many years ago, it was an incredible challenge to stop anger, hurt, resentment, and fear from determining the outcome of my daily life. I understood the process of self manipulation, I wanted it, but it was so difficult to maintain! Part of the problem was that rage made me feel brave. It was hard to let go of what I perceived as power. Over time, I understood that anger was just a mask used to cover a deep vulnerability. Luckily, my desire to become a better person won out, and it didn’t take long to realize how wonderful and light as air I felt when I was able to stop an emotional landslide. Whether I was in an argument with someone or just encountered a dreadful event, I applied the six steps and always came out with a feeling of empowerment without the negativity! The six steps rapidly took the place of my old system of reaction making it quicker and easier to overcome and control my emotional and mental processes. Even though I was still getting an initial reaction that was connected to anger or other difficult to manage feelings, they weren’t sustainable. What used to take a week to get over took a day, then an hour, then maybe a minute, until finally many things no longer got to me at all! When I practiced the steps, it took me on journeys of discovery and healing. I learned about my physical self and how moods were connected to the food I was eating. I discovered ways to stop what I call the “yappy dog” in my head that constantly reiterated negative thoughts over and over. Meditation gave me peace, yoga helped me to focus and breathe, and taking supplements helped balance my body. 

The most profound leg of my journey came when I discovered how the past and all I experienced in my life was instigating pain in the present. It became clear that many of the events that triggered my angst were all connected to memory. As I let go of that painful past, it made my present easier to deal with, and that obviously influenced my future. Time was now on my side. 

Why should we allow how we feel at any given moment to dictate and determine the direction we take on any given day, month or year? Should we instead decide where we want to go and make our emotions fit the mold we want to make of ourselves? Feelings aren’t right or wrong, but are they real? Are they something you want to hold onto? Do flippant moods control you or do you control them? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves if we want our best life. 

PerceptionDuring the opening of this website there is a mantra that states, “Being born is your gift. Living life is your challenge. Being the best you can be is your choice.” Cutting your Reaction Time (the space between our initial reaction and our positive outcome) is one of those challenges. When client’s lament, “but it is so hard to be good!” I ask them, “What is the alternative? Think about it…if being the best we can be is a choice, what then are we deciding between… being the worst we can be? Taking control of how you are feeling offers so much power, peace and happiness, why wouldn’t you want to do it every chance you get?” Accept negative feelings, then deal with them constructively, but ultimately, get rid of them altogether! The real race against time is not about conquering it, or getting ahead of it. It is about how we spend it. It is our choice how we start and finish that race. Decide you want to spend less occasion feeling uncomfortable and more feeling happy, and you will have won.