When we are faced with something that irritates or upsets us, it can be easy to burst into a bubble of negativity. Even if you practice gratitude daily, biting on your tongue (or mind-tongue!) can be a challenge when you are faced with something that threatens your positive mood. The most successful way to overcome this, in my opinion, is by daily gratitude practice and vision boards. But this post is about what to do when you still feel like you may have (or already have had) an emotional outburst at someone.
As a firm believer of the law of attraction and the effects of positive psychology, I put conscious effort to practice gratitude on a daily basis. So, if I’ve had a bad day and consequently had an emotional outburst, I can feel pretty disappointed in myself because I know that I’ve let my stressor win. An example of what I mean is if you fail an important test and then your parents/significant other asks you “how did your test go” and you consequently take out your anger on them. Although seemingly unprovoked, this is something that is can occur when you are in a zone of frustration over something of value to you.
If something like this occurs, it is usually best to bite your tongue when you have the negative thought and step back before you say a word. It’s also worth mentioning your body language and tone of voice here too. People are great at readings messages through non-verbal language, and the last thing you’d want is for someone important to you to feel hurt by a cynical tone of voice, and even poor body language.
Another tip is letting the person know how you feel. Try something like, “Mum, I’ve had a bad day and I’d rather not talk to anyone right now. I just want to relax and find my zone. I’ll talk to you later”.
The best thing to do when you are faced with a situation where you feel like you may have a negative outburst, is analyse the situation.
Let’s say your driving on a busy road and you’re stuck behind someone who is going 10km below the speed limit. Before you engage in road-rage behaviour, take a step back and consider the following:
- Is the person a learner driver? Hey, we all had to learn at one point so take it easy on them.
- Are they looking for a parking spot? To score one, you usually have to be going slower anyway, right?
- They may be looking for a particular street and don’t want to miss it so are therefore driving slower.
While there are endless possibilities as to why the driver may be going slow, it is important to realise that they are not going slow to annoy you. It is not personal (well, most of the time anyway). If you continuously beep your horn, all you do is put extra tension on the driver – this can result in them driving even slower! And screaming in your car will only highlight to yourself the amount of annoyance you are experiencing, which can then result in higher levels of frustration… and they also won’t be able to hear you. So in that moment of yelling in your car, you only spread the negative energy to yourself and no one else.
Something I personally do when I drive is listen to an audio-book. This way my mind is focused on the narrator and the story – I become too preoccupied to get mad over a slow driver!
A good rule of thumb is if the problem is out of your hands, letting it be is the best option. Don’t stress yourself out and lose your Zen, because it will not benefit you in any way.
Just remember that this is normal. It happens. It happens to even the most positive, Zen people out there! And one of the most hardest but greatest skills to acquire is being able to catch yourself before you impose your negativity onto someone else and consequently risk your positive mood for the day.