WHAT'S THE FIRST THING you do when you
get a flat tire or when you burn your dinner or when one of your
kids gets an F? When something goes wrong, you say something
to yourself or to someone else. If youre upset,
you think or say emotionally loaded expressions, and those
expressions intensify your upsetting feelings.
When you find yourself thinking or saying
a thought like This is terrible, you can change
it to a less emotional description for example, This
is inconvenient. Notice how different the two statements
are, emotionally speaking. Try saying each statement to yourself
and check how different they feel.
It seems like a simple change to make,
and it is. But it can change a setback from a catastrophe to
just annoying, at least in your experience.
The emotionally loaded comment doesnt
help you. It may even hinder you from dealing with the situation
rationally. The emotionally neutral statement This is inconvenient,
leads to an emotionally neutral response in other words,
a reasonable, practical response.
Try to become emotionally neutral when
an emotionally charged response is counterproductive. Notice
what youre thinking and try to make the same comment as
a bland, computerlike description of the situation rather than
a comment charged with emotion.
Instead of I hate her, say
What she did interfered with my personal goals.
Rather than Oh this is just great!
said with a bitter tone of voice, try something like This
isnt very good, said in an emotionless monotone.
Change #@*!#*#!! to I would
have preferred it turned out differently.
When youre speaking to someone, your
neutrality can help prevent the other person from getting upset,
and itll keep your own arousal to a minimum.
Instead of complaining to your spouse I
am sick to death of car problems, try something like Maybe
its time to get another car.
Instead of yelling at your teenage son Ive
had it up to here with you, how about saying this
in an emotionally neutral tone of voice: Ive told
you twice not to do that. Next time you do it, I will take away
your TV for a week.
NEUTRALIZE THE NEGATIVE. Its a simple
technique, but with practice it can level out some of the downturns
in this roller-coaster ride we call life without in any way interfering
with the upturns.
Describe upsetting situations
to yourself in emotionally neutral words.