Part III: Don’t Let Your Emotions Control You

Hijacked by Our Emotional Mind

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Here’s an example of a simple but powerful new concept that can start you off. Most of the time when we feel an impulse or emotion, we don’t have to do anything! We almost always have time to hold back our reaction on what we say or do, and give ourselves extra time to process what’s happening before we act. As I become older, and theoretically wiser, I can’t tell you how often I’ve found that keeping my mouth shut, or not lashing out when I feel like it, has lead to the better outcome.

Emotions are there to grab us, to suddenly hijack our mind and our body and set us into motion, without having to think. Anger is there to mobilize us to attack, fear is there to help us defend, love is to help us connect with others, and to regenerate our species.

The sudden hijacking of our mind and body is usually quick and strong, and if you don’t act on it, it sets up a physical struggle inside. You can learn to win that struggle as you listen further.

Mind Gem # 3: Next time you get hijacked by an impulse to act, consider if you can give yourself time to think about how to respond to it. Usually you can.

An impulse can suddenly try to yank us out of the pilot seat. It’s like an alarm, sometimes it’s the real thing but it may also be a false alarm and reacting without thinking can be disastrous. Emotions can be sudden but they can also build, and we can find ourselves being swallowed up by them before we realize it. We may not be aware that we’ve left the pilot seat. We can get lost in our “emotional mind.”

Mindfulness will teach you to find the driver’s seat and stay in it. If you hear alarms (strong emotions), and think you have to act immediately, gem number three reminds you to process what’s going on before acting.

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