Spun Out? – Don’t Be an Emotional Hostage; Take Back Your Emotions!

Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.  ~Jonatan Mårtensson

My husband makes me so M-A-D!

Those kids – I could just SCREAM!

You don’t understand what she DID! Oooooh, I just want to cry!

The situation at work is so shaky, I’m just terrified!

Recognize any of these? In every situation, someone or something is controlling what you think, how you feel. So, how does THAT make you feel?

Feelings come and go with alarming regularity. One moment, life is wonderful and you’re feeling great. A minute later, something happens, and you ‘feel’ depressed.

The truth is, you – yes, YOU – are the only one who really decides how you will feel or react in any situation. You have the power and ability to either focus on the problem/person/situation or to set it aside and choose a different path.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy – just that it’s do-able. Consider this: you can only ‘feel’ one emotion at a time. And emotions are not independent; they are based on your thoughts. Try this experiment.

The next time you find your emotions about to take a power-dive, change what you are thinking about the situation. Instead of playing the “why can’t he just …” tape in your head, think of something good about the person or situation.

For instance, I get frustrated when Hubby plops in front of the TV at night while I have to fix dinner after a full day at work. “We both work? And I probably work harder than he does. The least he could do is set the table!” I’ve learned to stop those thoughts as soon as they start and recognize how blessed I really am in my marriage.

Here are four keys to help you claim your emotional freedom.

  1. Stay grateful. If your mind is busy counting your blessings, there is no room for negative emotions.
  2. Forgive. No matter what happens ‘to’ you, it’s not worth your ill health to hold a grudge. Unforgiveness, resentment and anger affect only you. The other person is often unaware they have hurt you. You are the one lying awake at night, stressed out and angry. Set it aside for your own mental and physical well-being.
  3. Refocus. Do something to take your thoughts away from the situation. Put on some music and dance. Read a book. Call a friend (just don’t rehash your anger and frustration – keep it positive).
  4. Bless others. Be aware of little things you can do to brighten someone else’s day. Smile.  Give a compliment. Perform small acts of kindness. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel.

Your feelings are totally under your control. You can let them overwhelm your mind, or you can choose to use these keys to overcome your negative emotions.

Here is one final thought. Most people do not get up in the morning looking for someone to offend, hurt, or anger. They are simply living their lives, immersed in their own problems and reacting without thinking. Give them the freedom to make mistakes, cut you off in traffic, or say the wrong thing.

Instead, be grateful you don’t have their problems. Forgive their thoughtlessness. And focus your day by looking for a way to bless those around you. Your emotions will follow your thoughts, and you will find the peace and joy that God intended for you.

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