Curbing Emotional Responses

There are few things in life we have control over…

Emotions are not one of them.

However, we can control our responses to our emotions.

Banging your fists on the steering wheel in traffic or gossiping after one of your coworkers wrongs you are examples of emotional responses to external stimuli.

Stimuli is “a thing or event that evokes a response”.

My issue with the definition of stimuli is that it assumes a response is necessary.

Maybe its scientific application makes sense, but when it comes to emotions, it simply…does not.

Instead of responding right away to our emotions, like the frustration from traffic or betrayal from a coworker, we should instead, pause.

And do a self-analysis.

What am I feeling?

Am I physically okay?

If you are, then pause.

And utilize that pause to create a reality that fosters internal and external peace instead of chaos.

It may feel good to bang our fists in frustration or gossip, but that “good” feeling will subside.

The emotional maturity gained from doing a self-analysis and utilizing a pause instead of emotionally responding right away will feel much better.

Approach stimuli objectively, even if it feels directed at you.

Instead of saying “the world hates me” as you sit in rush hour traffic, remember that 5pm on the 405 is the worst time to be on the worst freeway, for everyone.

Instead of saying, “my coworker hates me” as you digest what they said about you, consider that they could be coping poorly with something in their own lives and took it out on you.

The aforementioned traffic and coworker examples are only a few instances of how utilizing self-analysis and the pause can help curb emotional responses.

Practicing emotional maturity can empower you to build stronger relationships and foster a more peaceful reality.

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