I’m about as normal as they come. The way I handle things that don’t go my way is typically with anger. Sometimes that anger is external, sometimes it’s internal, but it’s generally the way I react to challenging situations.
While it’s the way I typically react, it isn’t the way I should react or even want to react. I’ve always envied people who can calmly handle stressful situations. They just seem like they’re in total control, whereas I have mastered the art of “looking like” I’m in control when, under the surface, I’m seething.
What I’ve learned from the mood elevator has been ground breaking for me. It has allowed me to replace the pretend with something that’s real.
The mood elevator encourages people to approach any challenging situation from a position of curiosity.
In the past, I’ve (at best) approached troubling situations from a position of irritation. However, in recent months, when I find myself irritated or angry, I make a conscious decision to change that irritation or anger to curiosity. In that moment, my whole perception changes, allowing me to rationally contemplate solutions to whatever is vexing me.
Now, I can hear your skepticism. How can someone simply choose to feel something different than what comes natural? I can hear your skepticism because it was my own skepticism as well. At least it was my view until I read the book Happiness is a Choice.
In that book I learned that we can choose the emotions we’re feeling. The logic of the book made sense, but my skepticism was deep seated and would not be uprooted that easily. Then I had a chat with a woman who’s separation from her husband was a heart-rending experience for her. We talked as she sobbed uncontrollably.
Then the phone rang.
It was a friend of hers. I thought she would just ignore it, but she didn’t. She answered it. And, an amazing thing happened.
In a moment, she went from sobbing about the most heart-rending thing that had happened in her life to greeting a friend with a cheery hello.
I realized then, that if this heart-broken woman could change her emotion in a split second, I could too.
So, now, rather than letting stressful situations grate on me or even ruin my day, I make a concious choice to approach them from a position of curiosity. That frees me to determine what my next step will be in dealing with the situation.
It’s an empowering feeling. Make it your standard approach going forward.