By Jimmy Warden
I’m going to start this post with a little story. This morning, I locked myself out of my apartment without my keys to my car, and I couldn’t get to work at my usual time. This immediately sent my adrenaline sky high, as I was trying to figure out a way to survive this situation. I broke a screen, tried jimmying doors and windows open, but to no avail. My blood was boiling, I was extremely angry, and ready to scream an absurd amount of obscenities. Then I took a few deep breaths. My heightened negative emotional state quickly began to lower, as did my blood pressure and heart rate. Soon enough, I had the clarity of mind to phone a couple of colleagues, and sure enough, one of them picked me up to go to work. Problem solved! However, it didn’t seem like it was going to end there.
Has something like this ever happened to you? If so, what did the rest of your day look like? Did it go poorly? Did you think it was a bad day? Did every little thing irritate you? If so, chances are that the emotions you were experiencing in that event, carried over, and created a bit of a ripple effect on your day. When this happens, it can really become detrimental beacuse our emotions often have strongholds on us that we are not aware of. They often take control of our moments, which manifest into days, which manifest into weeks. If we allow our emotions to get the best of us each time that we experience interference, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
This is why people have fixed mindsets. This is why people lose hope. This is why people wish for different circumstances altogehter. They are allowing their emotions to consume them. Instead of recognizing emotions for what they are, people feel that they are their emotions. When this happens, our identities become emotional statements like, “I am mad” or “I am frustrated”, when in fact, we are not these emotions. We are who we are, but we are experiencing emotions. We are not defined by our emotions because emotions come and go. When we come to this understanding, we don’t have to let the ripple get any bigger. We can simply stop it in its tracks. Yes, this is a lot easier said than done, and will take lots of practice, but next time you find yourself in a jam, and you feel yourself getting emotionally dysregulated, try to take a few deep breaths. See if that brings you back to your center. Once you calm that ripple, your mind will be clearer than a calm lake.