Imagine a scenario, you are planning a trip for the past month. You booked the tickets. You packed your favorite clothes to show off to other people or your friends on the trip.
But at the last moment, the trip gets canceled. There’s no fault of yours but due to some unforeseen circumstances like social unrest in your country, your trip gets canceled.
How would you react?
I am sure you would be disappointed, sad, let down, or depressed even. And that would be perfectly fine. You are entitled to express your negative emotions too. You are not a machine.
But the question is how long would you continue to stay in that state?
Days? or Months even?
If you do, you are lowering your tolerance for such events in your life.
If you continue to do that, eventually you will realize that even a small deviation from the standard will rattle you. You will become irritable. Standing in a line at a coffee shop for a few minutes longer will be enough to turn you into a huge green monster.
Do you want to become that person?
I certainly hope not.
Here’s what you can do when something doesn’t go your way.
Give yourself a time limit
Tell yourself that you will express your negative feelings within a certain timeframe. In the beginning that timeframe will be larger. That doesn’t matter.
What matters is the specificity of that time limit.
Eventually, you will reduce the timeframe within which you return to normal.
That is what we are aiming for with this technique, to lower the time spent in that negative state.
Distance yourself from the situation
These situations are bound to happen in our life. In fact, most of our life is filled with this kind of situation.
How you handle them can mean a huge difference between being happy or sad most of the time.
Another trick to handle this is to distance yourself from the situation you are in.
Just like Doctor Strange pushes the soul out of a person’s body from where the person is able to view himself embedded in the station. You need to imagine yourself just like that and see yourself objectively.
In the book Think like a monk, Jay Shetty describes this beautifully.
This trick distances us from the current set of emotions and we are able to look at ourselves from the outside. This separates us from the instant reactionary mode and gives the brain time to respond.
Like you count sheep when you are angry. You are giving yourself time to respond. That time we get for ourself in turn gives us the ability to return to our senses and act responsibly.
These are two tricks that I normally use in my day to day life to act and not react in tough situations. These situations provide us the opportunity to increase our mental toughness.
Anybody can REACT in these circumstances. That is the normal human way of responding to these situations.
You want to separate yourself from the average, then ACT, don’t REACT.
I write daily on my blog. This is Day 82.